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The Guest Book: A Novel (A Sunset Beach Novel Book 2) by [Whalen, Marybeth]
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The Guest Book: A Novel (A Sunset Beach Novel Book 2) Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 156 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marybeth Whalen is the wife of Curt and mom of six children. She is the director of She Reads, an online book club focused on spotlighting the best in women's fiction. Marybeth is the author of The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, The Guest Book, and The Wishing Tree (Spring 2013). Marybeth spends most of her time in the grocery store but occasionally escapes long enough to scribble some words. She's always at work on her next novel. Marybeth and her family live in North Carolina. You can find her online at

Product Details

  • File Size: 3359 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (July 3, 2012)
  • Publication Date: July 3, 2012
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,060 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rebecca G. Guinn on August 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
When I was in college, I loved hearing Jim Croce sing. I had one of his albums and played it over and over and over and over again (ad nauseum). One song made its way into my memory "Time in a Bottle" and that song is key to The Guest Book by Mary Beth Whalen. Macy is a single-mom with a five year old daughter, Emma. She is also a daughter to Brenda and a sister to Max. She grew up going to the beach every year for vacation and spending it in a cabin named "Time in a Bottle." Her father encouraged her to draw a picture in the guest book every year when they visited the cabin. After the first time, she came back to find a picture drawn in response to hers. It became something of a correspondence between Macy and some anonymous boy. Ten years after her last visit to the cabin, Brenda, Max, Macy, and Emma return to the cabin to put some family ghosts to sleep and to enjoy one more vacation. Macy begins a journey to find the anonymous respondent to her drawings in the guest book. The journey takes the whole vacation to find her mysterious correspondent, but along the way, Macy makes some life-changing discoveries about herself.

I've never read anything by Mary Beth before, but I really enjoyed this story. She uses flash-backs creatively without disturbing the flow of the story. The journey of self-discovery as well as God-discovery Macy embarked on is real, something similar to one of my own.

I give this book a real five stars, with a bottle full of time.
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Format: Paperback
I don't usually read books with a religious undertone. And every time I say that I roll my eyes at myself because I seem to read them randomly -- even though they are on my "don't read" list. Yeah, it makes no sense. The summary of The Guest Book was enough to catch my attention and I decided to give it a try anyway. Part of me is glad I did. I'll explain why.

I'm a big believer in things happening for a reason. Whether it's a conversation you are having making you realize something, or even reading a book that makes you realize things won't always be tough. However, I don't like for religion to be the forefront of anything I read or listen to. Mostly because there is such a fine line between sharing your views and pushing your opinion on people to try and make them believe it too. TGB straddled that line for me.

It started out without any mention of religion and I thought maybe the other reviews I'd read were just flat our wrong. Then about half way through it seemed to just pop up...followed by it being mentioned what sometimes felt like every other page. It was borderline too much. That aside, I really did enjoy the book. [Don't look at me like that! I'm a woman and I have every right to like something even when it is full of things I don't connect with.]

There was a lot of repetitiveness. I felt like "the artist" was being drilled into my head every page or two. But it was a neat idea for a story. I just didn't feel like it was solid enough to grab me and not let me go. There was something that I didn't connect with. Possibly because I haven't gone through the major things that Macy had? I don't know. I can't say for sure.

I'd have liked to have learned more about certain characters. I enjoyed Macy's daughter, mother and brother .
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It all started when Macy lost the family contest to find the most beautiful seashell. Each year, her family spent two weeks at a beach cottage called Time in a Bottle. The year she was five, her father suggested the contest. She was very proud of her three fragile butterfly shells, but her older brother found a conch shell that was even more amazing. Because she was so upset about her loss, her father suggested she make an entry in the cottage's guest book left for guests to write about their experiences during their stay there. Since she was too small to write, she drew a picture, one of her three perfect shells. The next year that Macy and her family went to the cottage, a boy about her age had drawn a picture in the guest book in response to hers. This picture communication between the two budding artists continued for years, until the family stopped going to the cottage after Macy's father's death. It was just too painful to visit the cottage that was filled with so many happy memories.

Ten years later, as an adult with a child and a failed relationship behind her, Macy agrees to spend time in the cottage with her grieving mother, troubled brother, and her carefree little girl. Will the mystery artist have entered a new drawing just for her? Even more importantly, will she be able to find out who he is?

This is a light, but fun book. The reader is led through a maze of mystery by well-written, well-developed characters and picturesque settings. It is the perfect book for summer reading, light and breezy like a stay at the beach. I loved it!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Macy Dillon and her family went to Sunset Beach, North Carolina every year until the death of her father. It was too painful for them to continue going. Macy's mom has continued celebrating her father's birthday each year as though he were alive and has a shrine to his memory in her home. On the tenth anniversary year of his death and on his birthday celebration, her mom, Brenda announced to Macy and her brother, Max, that she had rented their old beach house from their past trips, Time In A Bottle, for a return trip after all these years. She wants the whole family, which also includes Macy's daughter Emma from a previous relationship, to go to the beach for two weeks. After five years, Emma's father, Chase, has returned after deserting Macy with a baby on the way and has been staying with her sleeping on the couch. Macy doesn't want him in her life anymore but allows him around for Emma. She does tell him he needs to stay in Greensboro so that she can think about their relationship while away from him at the beach. The whole family is carrying around a lot of emotional baggage from the death of Darren, their husband and father so a trip to the beach is a great time to heal and remember happy times at Sunset Beach. When Macy was young, she loved to draw pictures in the guest book in Time In A Bottle and each year that the family returned to Time In A Bottle the guest book would have a picture that a boy had drawn in answer to Macy's pictures. Macy always wanted to meet the boy that seemed to understand her and relate to her. The first night back she walked on the beach alone and prayed that God would allow her to meet this boy that would now be an adult about her age or so she figured.Read more ›
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