Title: Monarch Beach by Anita Hughes
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Imprint: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 288 pages
Book Rating: B
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley
Anita Hughes’ Monarch Beach is an absorbing debut novel about one woman’s journey back to happiness after an affair splinters her perfect marriage and life—what it means to be loved, betrayed and to love again.
When Amanda Blick, a young mother and kindhearted San Francisco heiress, finds her gorgeous French chef husband wrapped around his sous-chef, she knows she must flee her life in order to rebuild it. The opportunity falls into her lap when her (very lovable) mother suggests Amanda and her young son, Max, spend the summer with her at the St. Regis Resort in Laguna Beach. With the waves right outside her windows and nothing more to worry about than finding the next relaxing thing to do, Amanda should be having the time of her life—and escaping the drama. But instead, she finds herself faced with a kind, older divorcee who showers her with attention… and she discovers that the road to healing is never simple. This is the sometimes funny, sometimes bitter, but always moving story about the mistakes and discoveries a woman makes when her perfect world is turned upside down.
Monarch Beach by Anita Hughes is a captivating novel about love, betrayal and starting over. When Amanda Blick discovers husband Andre having an affair, she files for divorce and heads to the decadent St. Regis Resort in Laguna Beach with her mother Grace and young son Max. A luxurious retreat from real life, Amanda soon meets Edward Jones, a sexy, attractive older man who sweeps her off her feet.
Amanda Blick is the perfect example of the old adage, “money doesn’t buy happiness.” A wealthy heiress, Amanda has led charmed life. Her childhood was wonderful; her parents were deeply in love and they doted on her. On the surface, her marriage to the good looking, sexy charming and very French Andre is perfect and she is devoted to him and their son Max. But as she quickly finds out, perfection is only an illusion. Andre is not the husband she thought he was, and she is not as strong as she thinks she is.
Amanda is a complex character with all too realistic flaws and imperfections. She is devastated by Andre’s infidelity and even though she files for divorce, she is quite conflicted about ending their marriage. I like that her main concern is the effect the divorce will have on Max and she always takes him into consideration when making her plans for the future. What Amanda does not do well is make decisions. She depends too much on the advice and opinions her close friend Stephanie and her mother Grace.
Despite Grace and Stephanie’s encouragement to find a new man, Amanda is not looking for love when she meets Edward Jones. Although she is attracted to Edward, she is wary of entering into a romantic liaison with the older man. Their romance slowly develops over the summer but nothing is certain especially when Andre suddenly reappears in Amanda’s life.
Monarch Beach is an engrossing and entertaining read that is pure escapist fun. Anita Hughes has an engaging and descriptive writing style that brings the Laguna Beach and the lavish St. Regis Resort vibrantly to life. The novel has many twists and turns and an unexpected ending that will surprise and delight readers.