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Monarch Beach by Anita Hughes
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Monarch Beach (edition 2012)

by Anita Hughes

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5025233,859 (3.12)1
melaniehope's review
This book is definitely chick lit, but it was good, surprisingly good since I don't read too many romance, beachy novels. But I was hooked within the first few pages. The writer does a great job making her characters likeable and very real.
The book is mainly about Amanda Blick. She is a young, 30 something mother who also happens to be a rich California heiress. One day she walks into her husbands restaurant to find him literally wrapped around his sous chef in the kitchen. He's French and tries to win Amanda back by telling her it is normal for Frenchmen to take a lover and it means nothing, but Amanda is having none of it. She takes her son Max and escapes to the St. Regis Resort in So. Cal to recuperate and decide her future. However, she soon meets a kind, older divorcee who starts to shower her with attention.
But don't be surprised if this novel catches you off guard. The ending was a different one than I anticipated. This was a great book to escape too. I loved how rich and extravagant Amanda and her mom's lifestyle was. Fun, fun book to read! I will put this author on my too read list for sure! ( )
  melaniehope | Apr 18, 2012 |
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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book was a great read. Well developed characters and not always predictable in its storyline. The book could have completed more of the main character, Amanda's story, it seemed to end a bit prematurely. But overall a good read, ( )
  booksandbutter | Feb 23, 2014 |
I loved this book because it's written very well and a great escape to another lifestyle that I will never know and lots of fabulous scenery too. Amanda finds her chef husband has been having an affair and struggles with what to do with her life. Not knowing what to do next, she decided to take off for the summer to St Regis Resort in Laguna with her mother and her son. She meets Edward, a divorced man who helps her through her tough days. This is one of those must read books. I can't wait to read Market Street when it comes out. ( )
  MaryAnn12 | Apr 4, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Amanda Blick (who is rich in her own right) catches her French chef husband in a clutch with his assistant chef. She decides on divorce. Amanda, with her young son Max, then joins her mother (who is rich) at a resort in Laguna Beach, California. There Amanda mourns the loss of her marriage and falls for another guy.

I read the whole book, so I didn't absolutely hate it (otherwise I would have given up), but I really can't recommend this book. Every time Amanda changes outfits the author is careful to drop the name of the designers of the clothes and shoes--it get tiresome. While Amanda refers to her husband's French restaurant and states how he serves different kinds of fondue, the author makes a couple of references to said fondues that makes me wonder if she (the author) knows the difference between a fondue and a souffle. And as the book is supposed to be one of self-discovery, Amanda does very little by herself or to move herself along in her healing or plans for the future.. ( )
  punxsygal | Jul 29, 2012 |
Monarch Beach by Anita Hughes is one of those beach reads that barely scratches the surface about what divorce can do to a family, especially when one spouse cheats on the other and more than once. To Amanda Blick’s credit she doesn’t go postal and take out her husband’s (Andre) French fondue restaurant in Ross, an exclusive, elite neighborhood, and she doesn’t have a nervous breakdown. Rather, Blick takers their son, Max, out of the San Francisco area to St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort with her mother, Grace, who promises to quit smoking if they come stay with her for the summer in the Presidential Suite.

Pretty posh lifestyle, but nothing less can be expected from the offspring of a society family, whose friends used to call her parents’ home The Palace. The relationship between Andre and Amanda is rushed, but that’s to be expected as she meets him just after graduating undergrad following a family tragedy. When Andre’s restaurant partnership sours, he doesn’t turn to his mother-in-law or his wife for help, but a busty former high school classmate of Amanda’s and her husband Glenn.

Read the full review: http://savvyverseandwit.com/2012/07/monarch-beach-by-anita-hughes.html ( )
  sagustocox | Jul 25, 2012 |
Amanda Blick grew up as an only child in a wealthy San Francisco family. She had dreams of going to the prestigious Parsons School of Technology in New York City to study fashion design, but her dream was placed on hold when her beloved father was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. Putting her dreams of NY on hold, she attended her father's alma mater, UC Berkeley to be close to her parents. Her father passed away two weeks before her college graduation. Once again Amanda planned to go to NY in the fall and pursue her dreams of becoming a fashion designer, but her life took another direction when she met handsome French restaurant owner, Andre Blick on the 4th of July. A whirlwind romance led to their engagement by summers end and a small wedding on Thanksgiving.

For ten years life was wonderful for Amanda, she had a strong loving marriage that produced a son who had become the center of her universe, and she enjoyed her role as a stay-at-home mom. But that world changed in a blink of an eye, when she went to her husband's restaurant and caught him having sex with Ursula, the new fondue sous chef. Now at 32 years old, with her life turned upside down and the illusion of a happy marriage dispelled by her husband's infidelity for the past eight years, Amanda has to make a decision on what to do with her marriage and life.

Amanda's mother offers to take Amanda and her son Max on a summer vacation to the posh St. Regis Resort in Laguna Beach. A summer away from the shattered mess of a marriage is just what Amanda needed to figure of what to do with her life. Amanda's summer of healing begins when she meets a handsome older man, Edward Jonas, who is an ex-attorney now seafood restaurant owner, and along the way she learns that she can put her life back together again.

Monarch Beach is a poignant story of love, betrayal and redemption. The story is set in San Francisco and Laguna Beach, California, and is told in the first person narrative by the story's protagonist, Amanda. Amanda takes the reader along on her journey of redemption with flashbacks on her life interwoven with the present time. The storyline is a realistic and thoughtful look at a woman's journey to put her shattered life back together again.

The story contains very detailed descriptions of Amanda's wealthy cultured lifestyle of designer clothes and decadent cuisine. The vivid descriptions of San Francisco and Laguna Beach reads like a tourist guide with rich details of the Golden Gate Bridge, white beaches, ocean breezes, palm trees, and opulent decadence.

The author provides the story with a variety of characters that are realistic and complex with flaws that the readers can easily relate to. The predominance of Amanda's wealth throughout the story may tend to lead the reader to not feel compassion for her, but how can one not feel compassion for someone who has their life as they knew it shattered by infidelity and betrayal? I think the author does a wonderful job of balancing Amanda's wealth with her genuine down-to-earth personality, and I was able to set aside the opulence and embrace Amanda's journey of rebuilding her life.

Monarch Beach is the debut novel for author Anita Hughes. It is a captivating story of a woman's journey to rebuild her life after a devastating betrayal. This story is rich in detail and will engage the reader to embrace Amanda's journey with compassion and understanding, and has an ending that is surprisingly unpredictable. I found this novel to be an enjoyable summer read, and would recommend it to fans of the Women's Fiction and Chick Lit genres.

Disclaimer: I received a preview copy of the book from the author's publicist via NetGalley in exhcange for my honest review, and for hosting a virtual book release event on my book review blog site.

Virtual Book Release Event: On Tuesday, June 19, 2012, Jersey Girl Book Reviews hosted a virtual book release event for Monarch Beach by author Anita Hughes. Anita participated in the virtual book event with an Author Guest Post on Jersey Girl Book Reviews.
http://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot.com/2012/06/author-guest-post-anita-hughes...

http://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot.com/2012/06/monarch-beach-by-anita-hughes.... ( )
  JerseyGirlBookReview | Jun 19, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
3.5 stars for Monarch Beach... generally I "like" chick lit. Normally it's light and fun without much substance. This was pretty much just that but I liked it more than I thought I would, I think because there were things I wasn't expecting.

The story is about a woman, Amanda, who catches her husband cheating on her, only to find out that he's been cheating on her throughout their entire marriage. Her mother books a getaway for them so they can spend their summer at a 5-star hotel and 'heal' at the beach. While she is healing, she meets someone who helps her take her mind off her soon-to-ex and his indiscretions. The end of the summer is a whirlwind for Amanda, a summer she's not likely to forget.

I read another review that said an epilogue would've been nice to tell us how things panned out for Amanda over the next the year or so and I have to agree 100%, it feels as if the story ended a little too soon.

I will recommend. ( )
  Sharn | Jun 10, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
On the positive the story sucked me in. I wanted so badly to read more about the broken marriage and the bastard french chef. I had contradictory feelings about the husband because as I wanted the female lead to tell him to go to hell I was torn by the need to read more about him. The husband's character was so well developed I found myself wishing he could be the good guy so I could like him. This is a shown talent of the author to create such conflict.

However, the negative to this book was Amanda was very hard to associate with. Maybe this is to the excessive brand name dropping and the constant naming of different alcohol beverages (who cares what she's drinking, the point is she's getting toasted), but she lived a lifestyle that only a select few live in the real world. Given I don't mind reading about a lifestyle outside most people's range but with the previously mentioned name dropping it almost sounded like bragging. If you want to read a book about a wealthy woman going through heartbreak and relate to it, this is not the book. Try Danielle Steele who has a way with writing about wealthy women you can root for. I feel as this book was attempting the class of Steele's novels but sadly missed the mark.

On another note the base of the story was good, however it seemed purposefully unfinished. If it was left unfinished for a sequel it was left in a spot that didn't make me care about reading the next novel.

I would like to give kudos to the author for the multiple ways she described her husband cheating. These quick sentences spattered throughout the book were by far the best part of the writing and I found them hilarious.

I call this book an "ALMOST" cause it was on the edge of being something enjoyable.. ( )
  HeavenLeAngel | May 28, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The book had a good premise and started out well. I enjoyed Amanda's relationships with her mother and best friend Stephanie. Things took a really abrupt turn in the last few chapters, and it threw me off. I feel like the ending came a bit out of nowhere. I enjoyed the story overall, but definitely enjoyed the first half of the book more than the last half. ( )
  erinwtx | May 15, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I work in a profession where I see the results of the utter devastation that occurs when a life is shattered overnight. Prior to starting my career, I’d carefully considered how people reacted when their lives changed overnight due to death, job loss or infidelity and Monarch Beach by Anita Hughes covers the latter. I received Monarch Beach as a free book from Librarything to read and review and it appeared like just another summer novel where the woman prevails after the man does her wrong, at first glance. After reading it, however, there was more substance to Monarch Beach.

Amanda Blick has what most would consider a rich, fulfilled life. She is an heiress married to a handsome restaurant owner and has a mischievous son. She lives the American Dream in a way that many cannot fathom and in a community that embraces her. While she gave up her career dreams, she was content with the life she had with her husband and her son, Max right up until the day she found her husband in a compromising position with a woman at his job. At the same time, she gets devastating news about her beloved mother, who is her remaining parent. How Amanda chooses to handle the situation is what this novel is about and our glimpse into Amanda’s healing process is intriguing. As Amanda struggles to move forward, we see that she is not as strong as she thinks and that her vulnerabilities lead her into making some decisions, even at the end of the novel, that seem rather dubious. Overall, the plot is excellent and the character is real. Amanda feels like a friend of ours that makes us cringe, makes us cheer, and makes us sigh because we wonder if she will really get it together. Ultimately, the book left me wondering if she would. This isn’t your typical beach read, but it was easy to read and a good book that was well worth my time and entertaining. ( )
  blueshelled | May 13, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. The author has a great writing style and interesting characters. Without spoiling the ending, I will say that the last few chapters are what made me dislike the book. Perhaps I am being overly critical of the main character in this book, but I don't really feel that she grew as a person from the beginning of the novel. I kept trying to connect with her and got the feeling that she is just drifting through life, letting other people guide her towards her choices. I didn't see any real signs of independence or change, which was frustrating as a reader. ( )
  mandolin | May 7, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book as an early reviewer. I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. I liked it but it was not the type of book that if I didn't pick it up every day it was not big deal but when I did read I enjoyed it. I would consider it a good book to read while on the beach enjoying the sun. The author gave great detail about what the characters were wearing which I felt did not add to the story. ( )
  Judes316 | May 5, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Personally, I did not care for one word the author used over and over. There are ways of saying things without being so crass. Being a new author, she needs to know that it is not necessary to include that type of language to tell a good story. I also did not care for all the designer names which did nothing to enhance the story line. If these two things had been left out, it would have been a very good story. ( )
  JoCCarter | May 3, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a fun, beach read of a novel. The main character, Amanda, is an interesting mix of feeling bad for her due to her cheating husband, but also feeling less sympathy due to her ridiculous wealth. The ending doesn't tie up loose ends, but is also somewhat satisfying in the conclusions that the characters come to. A good quick summer read. ( )
  yankeesfan1 | May 2, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book as part of the Early Reviewer program.
I wasn't in love with this book, but I didn't hate it either. There's not much substance to it, and I often found myself getting irritated with the characters. It would be a nice, quick, beach read. ( )
  vindemia | May 2, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book really started off horribly. If I hadn't received the early reviewer free copy, I would have given up within 2 chapters. It was back story within back story within back story. It felt like we were never going to get anywhere. The story itself was not really that gripping either. Everything was perfect, everyone loved her, everyone had loads of money... except for her husband.

Once the story got past the point where we were filled in on most of the background, it started moving. Slowly. But moving. It didn't take long for me to get annoyed with the constant repeating of "Andre and Ursula wrapped around each other" and EVERY mention of Andre included a derogatory comment about him being a cheating bastard. I understand the feelings involved in the situation. I just think it could have been written less "in your face."

There were a lot of times when the amateur level of the author's writing really came through. Things like "he squeezed my hand so hard it left marks from my ring" (this is next to impossible to do without him actually arm wrestling with her... and for a long time at that.)

In the end, there were times when I looked forward slightly to getting back to the book but many more times when I wanted to give it up. ( )
  HeidiDenney | May 1, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Monarch Beach was a pleasant beach read. It had me wishing for white hot sands and a cold drink.I am looking forward to read Ms Hughes next book.
  WKinsey | Apr 27, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
this was a fast read, I enjoyed Amanda and her son, what a way to get over a broken heart in such luxurious places, would make it an easy way to mend a broken heart... and did in general enjoy the book a lot ( )
  utacraft | Apr 26, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
My favorite character in this book was Stephanie. Stephanie is a friend of the main character who didn't know what or who she wanted out of life. Amanda has lived a life of privelage and never made her own decisions. Society dictated what she would do... maintaining a good reputation was of utmost importance. What a boring way to live your life and so what a boring book. Plenty of name dropping involving fashion etc. And many references to the wealthy being more virtuous than the mainstream of society. Although the character gets involved in an affair which results in sex scenes that the book would have been better off without. I do not recommend this book. ( )
  novellover10 | Apr 25, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Ohhhhhh dear!!!! This woman, Amanda, did not seem to have a real brain in her head---everything revolved around her appearance--clothes, exercise, eating, drinking--her money, her son. Max was something else---talk about a description of a growing problem---through the food he ate (even with all the surfing, an obesity potential?) and the endless self-centered focus of everyone involved in what was best for Max, after, of course, what was best for Amanda. This book was so disappointing. Was it just a huge advertising vehicle for clothing designers? Hughes seems to write with an easy flow of words but unfortunately, at least for me, this cast of characters was totally forgettable. ( )
  nyiper | Apr 24, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Monarch Beach is exactly what it says it is.....chick lit, beach book, and fashion brand name dropper. The only character I had any real sympathy for was Amanda's mother who thanks to her money, dealt with her loss with panache. However, I did read it all and found parts to enjoy, so it wasn't a total waste. And sometimes it is restful to just read a fluffy book. I am rested. ( )
  Coyote99 | Apr 18, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
We should all be so fortunate to have a chance to mend a broken heart by staying in the Presidential Suite of a first class hotel in Laguna Beach, CA. Amanda Blick discovers her perfect French husband in the middle of the new female chef when she drops in on him unannounced. He sees nothing wrong with having various interludes with his female employees because he is French and it is an accepted way of life for him. He simply can't understand why she couldn't see that he loves her, and that sex with others really is just something fun and meaningless. Both Amanda and her mother disagree, and when school breaks for the summer, they decamp to the beach with Amanda's son Max and stay the entire summer. My mind boggles at the cost of this little adventure, but since Amanda is always deciding what designer outfit to wear to go out and about, I guess they don't need to worry about money. Many of the outfits described seem to be way over the top for the activities in which she participates. Silk for a barbecue?

Anita Hughes writes well, but I couldn't really feel sorry for Amanda. Her mother seems to swoop in to the rescue a few too many times throughout the book. It says that with money you can solve all the difficult little problems in life, even starting over again. ( )
  Angel2649 | Apr 18, 2012 |
This book is definitely chick lit, but it was good, surprisingly good since I don't read too many romance, beachy novels. But I was hooked within the first few pages. The writer does a great job making her characters likeable and very real.
The book is mainly about Amanda Blick. She is a young, 30 something mother who also happens to be a rich California heiress. One day she walks into her husbands restaurant to find him literally wrapped around his sous chef in the kitchen. He's French and tries to win Amanda back by telling her it is normal for Frenchmen to take a lover and it means nothing, but Amanda is having none of it. She takes her son Max and escapes to the St. Regis Resort in So. Cal to recuperate and decide her future. However, she soon meets a kind, older divorcee who starts to shower her with attention.
But don't be surprised if this novel catches you off guard. The ending was a different one than I anticipated. This was a great book to escape too. I loved how rich and extravagant Amanda and her mom's lifestyle was. Fun, fun book to read! I will put this author on my too read list for sure! ( )
  melaniehope | Apr 18, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Monarch Beach by Anita Hughes is a light and fluffy chick-lit read. While it was pleasant and entertaining enough, I found myself having a very difficult time believing how innocent and naive Amanda Blick, a mother in her early thirties, was portrayed. I also grew weary of the brand and designer name-dropping. ( )
  MsNick | Apr 15, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I loved this book! The way the author described the love, the hurt, the anger was exactly as if she had experienced the situations herself.

This was the story of a woman betrayed by her husband. She found out he had been unfaithful for 8 years and she left him.

In a summer at beach with her son and her mother she met an older man who she thought was the opposite of her husband. Unfortunately she discovered he too was unfaithful.

As she planned to move to New York she had a big decision to make - should she give him a second chance. The author sort of left the ending up to you, however, she did give you a little hint. ( )
  rphalliburton | Apr 14, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
2.0 out of 5 stars -- A total chick lit fashion and romance novel that is not my typical genre. This would make a good beach read or would be fine for any occasion where you want mindless escape.

Amanda Blick is married with a young son, Max, when she discovers her gorgeous French chef husband, Andre, cheating on her with his sous-chef. She, her wealthy widowed mother, and Max escape to the luxurious St. Regis Reesort in Laguna Beach where Amanda tries to overcome the betrayal with all the nice things that money can buy. In short order, she's met and is dating a new man, has gorgeous brand name designer clothes, and is trying to put her suburban stay-at-home mommy past behind her. Can being rich make things easier when your world has been turned upside down? ( )
  CelticLibrarian | Apr 12, 2012 |
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