The Bookstore on the Beach : A Novel by Brenda Novak

Expected publication: April 6th 2021 by MIRA

About the Book: For fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Kay Andrews, comes New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak’s newest standalone work of women’s fiction, a big, sweeping novel about family and the ties that bind and challenge us. In this novel, three generations of women from the same family share a house and work together at a bookstore in Colonial Beach over the course of a summer.

How do you start a new chapter when you haven’t closed the book on the last one?

Eighteen months ago, Autumn Divac’s husband went missing. Her desperate search has yielded no answers—she still has no idea where he went or why. After being happily married for twenty years, she can’t imagine moving forward without him, but for the sake of their two teenage children, she has to try.

Autumn takes her kids home for the summer to the charming beachside town where she was raised. She seeks comfort by working alongside her mother and aunt at their quaint bookshop, only to learn that her daughter is facing a life change neither of them saw coming and her mother has been hiding a terrible secret for years. And when she runs into Quinn Vanderbilt—the boy who stole her heart in high school—old feelings start to bubble up again. Is she free to love him, or should she hold out hope for her husband’s return? She can only trust her heart…and hope it won’t lead her astray.

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I love books set in bookstores or libraries, so that was one point for choosing this book to read. I also love beach stories and family dramas. THE BOOKSTORE ON THE BEACH features three generations of women in one family. Each woman has a story, a secret, a secret that will have ramifications on others in the family. Mary still lives in Sable Beach where she owns a bookstore with her best friend Laurie. Her daughter, Autumn is reeling from the disappearance of her husband. He has been missing for eighteen months and she is still searching for him, but is beginning to believe that he is dead and won’t be coming back. Taylor is Quinn’s daughter who has a big secret and is dealing with changes in her life. Taylor and her son Caden convince Autumn to spend the summer with their Mimi, like they do every year, so she agrees and they head to Autumn’s childhood home. What she does not expect is to run into Quinn Vanderbilt, her first love. He is home, divorced and dealing with his own issues.

Wow, I am glad I am not part of this family. Each of the women’s circumstances could be a story, but put them all together in one family and I can’t believe their relationships haven’t imploded. These are three very strong women. I liked each of them, and my heart broke many times as I read about their lives. This is a story about resilience and moving forward in your life. It is about secrets and the harm they can do to yourself and others. When you look at how the various children were affected in the story, it pulls at your heartstrings. I don’t want to make it sound like this book is a depressing one, because there are many lighter moments in the story. Time at the beach, making new friends, spending time with family, rekindling old friendships, and finally facing your issues and making choices for the rest of your life are all part of this story as well. I enjoyed reading this one and seeing what each of the characters decides and how it affects their lives. My one issue is that I think this story needs an epilogue. I was left wanting more, tying up some of the loose ends. Overall, I enjoyed this story and recommend this one to those who enjoy women’s fiction, and family dramas. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.

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Q&A with Brenda Novak

Q: Did you go to the library when you were in elementary school? If so, do you remember any of your favorite books or series from childhood?

 A: The library in elementary school was where I developed my love of reading. I remember hating to read in the beginning, but once my teacher took us to the library and let us choose any book we wanted, I happened upon a shelf of classics. I picked up JANE EYRE and absolutely devoured it. Then I went back and got THE SECRET GARDEN and moved through that entire shelf within weeks. I remember thinking, “So this is reading!” And I’ve loved it ever since.

Q: Is there a book you would like to write that would require in person research that would take you to a foreign country and if so, where would you be heading to do research?

A: Because I write women’s fiction, I would have to say France, Italy, Ireland or Scotland. I started my career writing English historicals, so I actually have traveled to a foreign country for research. (OF NOBLE BIRTH, HONOR BOUND, THROUGH THE SMOKE & A MATTER OF GRAVE CONCERN)

Q: Is there a genre that you have not written in that you might like to try some day?

 A: I would love to write a long historical saga. I actually have one brewing in my mind, so…who knows? Maybe one day I’ll get around to writing it.

Q: Do you write under other pen names?

 A: No. It’s hard enough to promote one name! LOL

Q: What hobbies do you enjoy?

 A: I love to play pickleball. My oldest son introduced me to the game and gave me a racquet for Mother’s Day, and I’ve been playing ever since. It’s such a fun/addictive thing to do. I also spend a lot of time with my two grandchildren. They’re not quite a hobby, of course, but if I’m not working that’s where I spend most of my time.

Q: What is your favorite food/dessert/cuisine?

 A: I love Mexican food, and I’m fortunate to live in California, where it’s easy to find really great tacos. There are some smoked tri-tip tacos at a little delicatessen my husband discovered that are to die for. They only serve them three days a week, though, so we have to plan out our trips.

Q: Where would you choose to go on holiday if time and money were not of consideration?

 A: Two years ago, I would’ve said Egypt, but I was able to go there the year before the pandemic started, and I absolutely loved it. I’ve always been fascinated by their antiquities. They have an absolute embarrassment of riches when it comes to relics from two thousand or more years ago. Now I would have to say India. I don’t yet know a lot about that, but it seems so exotic and wonderful to me–and I love the food. India is definitely on my bucket list!

Q: Do you have pets or animals you would like to have as pets? 

A: I raised five kids, so I’m taking a break from being responsible for other people–even animals. But I have a grand-dog–a Chow Chow named Simba, and he’s so fluffy and mild tempered. It’s the same as having grandbabies. I get all the fun without the hard work! Ha! 

Brenda Novak, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, has penned over sixty novels. She is a five-time nominee for the RITA Award and has won the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Bookbuyer’s Best, and many other awards. She also runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity to raise money for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised $2.5 million. For more about Brenda, please visit

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