Title: The Beach Quilt by Holly Chamberlin
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 417 pages
Book Rating: C
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Set in a picturesque Maine beach town, bestselling author Holly Chamberlin’s heartwarming and insightful novel delves into the choices and changes faced by two families over the course of one eventful summer. . .
Everyone in Yorktide, Maine, knows sixteen-year-old Sarah Bauer. She’s a good student and a dutiful daughter, as well as a beloved best friend to Cordelia Kane. So it’s a surprise to all when sensible Sarah reveals that she is pregnant.
Though shocked, Sarah’s family is supportive. But while Sarah reconciles herself to a new and different future, the consequences ripple in all directions. Her father–a proud, old-time Mainer–tries to find more work to defray expenses. Her younger sister grapples with a secret she can’t share. Cordelia feels abandoned, and Cordelia’s mother faces the repercussions of a long-ago decision. As Sarah’s mother, Cindy, frets about how she’ll juggle childcare with her job at the local quilting store, she seizes on an idea: to band together and make a baby quilt. Piece by piece, a beautiful design emerges. And as it progresses, reflecting the hopes and cares of the women who create it, each will find strength in the friendship and love that sustains them, in hardship and in joy. . .
In The Beach Quilt, Holly Chamberlin explores the effect that sixteen year old Sarah Bauer’s unexpected pregnancy has on the people around her. It is lovely story of friendship and family that offers an interesting array of reactions and opinions in the aftermath of Sarah’s announcement.
Sarah is very smart and responsible so her pregnancy is a huge shock to everyone around her. Her parents, Cindy and Joe are stunned but completely supportive of her decisions regarding the baby. Her young sister, Stevie, is going through a bit of a crisis of her own, and she is a little overlooked as everyone rallies around Sarah. Best friend, Cordelia, is hurt that Sarah kept details of her relationship a secret and she feels left out as Sarah deals with the upcoming changes in her life. Cordelia’s parents, Jack and Adelaide, are also affected by the news but in completely different ways. As the school principal, Jack is concerned with the day to day practicalities of a pregnant student. Sarah’s announcement and her decision about her future resurrects a long held secret from Adelaide’s past.
The Beach Quilt is told from four different points of view: Sarah, Cordelia, Cindy and Adelaide. The chapters alternate between perspectives which provides readers an in depth view of the unfolding drama. Sarah is by turns, shocked, angry and accepting of changes that are headed her way. She knows she has a difficult future ahead, but, for the most part, she stands firm in her decision. Cordelia is self-absorbed and immature but she becomes more compassionate and understanding throughout the course of the story. Cindy is a worrier and she is consumed by her concerns about their financial future. She is also struggling with the upcoming changes in her relationship with Sarah. Joe is the least affected by everything around him-he is accepting of the changes and continues to work hard to provide for his family.
The Beach Quilt is an angst ridden story that thrives on imagining worst case scenarios. The plot is slow moving and it gets bogged down with extraneous details. A lot of the novel takes place inside the various characters’ heads which is great because readers gain valuable information about their emotions and reactions. But this also makes the novel feel choppy as the chapters constantly jump from one character to another.
The Beach Quilt is a thought-provoking novel of friendship and family. The storyline is original and Holly Chamberlin deftly handles some very difficult subject matter with sensitivity. A stunning plot twist brings the story to an unexpected but realistic conclusion.