My Review: I loved The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews. I had a hard time classifying this book as it has a bit of so many things. There is friendship, betrayal, greed, lust, some romance, a murder mystery, forgiveness, state vs. resident, and some historical information about “the geechees” and the freed slaves in the south as well as the roles and expectations of women in the 1940s . Most of the story is told from the perspective of Brooke Trappnell, a single mother who has hung out her legal shingle in a small coastal town in Georgia. The scenes from the past are from the perspective of the girls in the “High Tide Club”, Ruth, Winnie, Varina and Josephine.
Ninety nine year old Josephine Bettendorf Warrick owns most of Talisa Island. The state is trying to purchase the island for a state park. Josephine has been fighting them for years and they are trying to condemn the land so she is forced to sell. She hires Brooke to carry on the fight for her island and home as well as her assistance to do some estate planning. She wants to create a trust and leave it to the members of the High Tide Club or their descendants. Josephine has terminal cancer as well, so is in a bit of a rush for this to be completed before she dies. This is not Brooke’s area of expertise, but she wants to meet the old woman who is basically a hermit. When Josephine shares part of her story with Brooke, she has to refuse the estate planning as her mother is one of the intended heirs. She contacts her mentor that she worked for in Savannah and he agrees to take on this part of the case. I do not want to go into anymore detail because of spoilers.
As I read this story, I was immersed in the lives of the women and other characters both in the past and present. I wanted Josephine to make amends, but at other times I was angry with what she had done. The two time periods of the story were woven together so well, that the flow was wonderful. The secrets from the past that are slowly unveiled as the story progressed led the reader on a path with many twists. Reading about the time period of 1939 to 1942 gave me more information of how women were treated as well as African Americans. This book kept me up until after 1:00 in the morning because as I got deeper into the story, I did not want to put it down. A wonderful story written by an author that I have added to my list of those not to be missed. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
Synopsis: From the New York Times bestselling author of The Weekenderscomes a delightful new novel about new love, old secrets, and the kind of friendship that transcends generations.
When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons Brooke Trappnell to Talisa Island, her 20,000 acre remote barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa, but Brooke has never met her. Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter with Brooke, who is an attorney, but Brooke knows that Mrs. Warrick has long been a client of a prestigious Atlanta law firm.
Over a few meetings, the ailing Josephine spins a tale of old friendships, secrets, betrayal and a long-unsolved murder. She tells Brooke she is hiring her for two reasons: to protect her island and legacy from those who would despoil her land, and secondly, to help her make amends with the heirs of the long dead women who were her closest friends, the girls of The High Tide Club—so named because of their youthful skinny dipping escapades—Millie, Ruth and Varina. When Josephine dies with her secrets intact, Brooke is charged with contacting Josephine’s friends’ descendants and bringing them together on Talisa for a reunion of women who’ve actually never met.
The High Tide Club is Mary Kay Andrews at her Queen of the Beach Reads best, a compelling and witty tale of romance thwarted, friendships renewed, justice delivered, and true love found.