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Beachcombing by Maggie Dana


by Maggie Dana

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Beachcombing by Maggie Dana Maggine Dana is a mature romance that spans both sides of the pond and about forty decades. The main character, Jill, is not the typical twenty or thirty-something woman with everything she could dream for except for a good man. Instead, Jill is in her mid to late fifties and is established in her life and career.

Jill grew up in England but made a life for herself and her two sons on a beach in Connecticut. After years of being disconnected from her childhood friends and her first crush she's given an invitation she can't refuse. That trip reunites her with her first love and her life quickly spins out of control for better or worse.

As with the few romances I read the middle section is cluttered with a lot of sex and very little in the way of plot. That said the first and last thirds of the book more than make up for it with good character development, plot twists and believable but interesting situations.

As it is a romance, it has a happy ending. The ending though, came with an unexpected twist. It could be fun to re-read the book to see the actual romance developing subtly in the background. ( )
  pussreboots | Jul 31, 2013 |
Beachcombing is the story of Jill who is fifty-two, divorced and living alone in a beach cottage in Connecticut. On a visit to her friend, Sophie in England where they grew up, she meets Colin, a boyfriend from their teenage years. From the moment she fell down the stairs and fainted at his feet I could see what was coming.

Of course, Jill falls in love with Colin, who thirty-five years later is not the boy she thought he was. She thinks he’s going to marry her and come to live with her leaving his partner, Shelby, and the prosperous little hotel they run in the Cotswolds. And then, everything goes wrong! She has to work her way through heartbreak, work and financial problems, and innumerable car problems. At times she had fallen out with both of her best friends. The only problem free relationships she has are those with her two grown up sons.

Jill has a phobia about middle aged men leaving their wives for younger women and that colours her relationships so much so that she cannot see what is so obvious to everyone else. Despite having friends she is lonely and mistakes lust for love. I began to despair that she would ever come to her senses. I got to the point where I wondered what could possibly go wrong next and even at the end when things seem about to get better I wasn’t convinced they would.

The things I liked about Beachcombing were the way the characters are delineated (Jill is actually an amalgamation of a few women I’ve known) and the descriptions of the locations:

But I’d have liked it more if it wasn’t written in the first person present tense. It’s a personal thing - I’m never too keen on that. Instead of adding to the drama I found that the continual crises Jill encountered actually lessened their impact; once one had passed it had gone, in a series of “nows”. I had the same problem reading The Time Traveler’s Wife.

The back cover describes Beachcombing as

… a coming-of-middle-age story about girl friends when you’re no longer a girl, and growing up when you’re already grown up, and the price you’re willing to pay for the love of your life.

I think that is a good summary. I wondered what the title - Beachcombing - implies. It occurred to me that the sea casts up a lot of rubbish on the beach and maybe that symbolises the rubbish that came into Jill’s life. It can also leave treasures. Jill’s problem was that she had difficulty in distinguishing the rubbish from the treasures. ( )
  BooksPlease | Jul 16, 2009 |
Beachcombing introduces us to Jillian Hunter – an independant middle aged woman who has been through divorce, raised two sons by herself, runs her own small business, and has restored a cottage on the beach. During a trip to London, she finds herself face to face with an old flame, and finds herself falling in love all over again.

Jill’s life starts to change as she grabs hold of the past, and enters a new romance. Is she willing to give up her life and her friends for Colin, and has the past blinkered her to what’s really going on?

At the beginning of the book there is a little jumping around, as Maggie introduces us to Jill, and also her history with Colin, but things soon settle down. Jill’s character is just adorable, and the sort of person I’d like to have as a friend – but she’s also flawed, especially as she finds herself blinded by love.

In fact, all of Maggie’s female characters are well written – some are likeable, others not so much.. but all are people you could imagine bumping into, or finding in your life.

The various settings are also well written. Maggie takes us to London, Cornwall and Connecticut, and the little cottage on the beach sounds absolutely ideallic, from the picnics on the beach, to the heavy snow storms! I could almost pack myself up, and move there myself!

Stepping away from chick-lit, and into the more satisfying world of women’s fiction, Beachcombing is a funny, warm story for ladies of all ages. Fans of Linda Gillard should also enjoy Maggie’s style, and I look forward to her next offering.
  michelle_bcf | Jun 17, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0230742688, Paperback)

Sometimes old flames burn the brightest

Funny, sophisticated, and wise, this heartfelt book is a coming-of-middle-age story about girlfriends when you are no longer a girl, growing up when you are already grown, and the price you are willing to pay for love. Jillian Hunter treasures her independence. She has raised two sons by herself, launched a small business, and restored a tumbledown beach cottage in Connecticut. But when a trip to London reunites her with Colin—an old flame she hasn't seen in 35 years—Jill falls for him all over again. But love makes Jill reckless and Colin isn't quite the boy she remembers. She ends up risking everything she's worked for—her business, her home, and her two closest friends—to make a life with him. And when she's faced with the risk of losing Colin as well, Jill is forced to take an uncomfortably close look at the woman she’s allowed herself to become.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:11 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Jillian Hunter treasures her independence. She's raised two sons by herself, launched a small business, and restored a beach cottage in Connecticut. Finally, at the age of 52, she's ready for another shot at love. But is she right to risk everything for the chance to reignite an old flame?… (more)

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