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Island Girls: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle) Paperback – June 17, 2014

4.1 out of 5 stars 385 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

PRAISE FOR NANCY THAYER

Island Girls


“Nancy Thayer is one of my favorite writers, and Island Girls is one of her best. The Randall sisters are like your own family members or your best friends: funny, smart and emotional, infuriating and good-hearted. Here is a book to be savored and passed on to the good women in your life.”New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs

“Full of emotion and just plain fun, this novel is delightful.”—Romance Reviews Today

“In this touching summer read, forgiveness benefits both the person bestowing it and the recipient.”Kirkus Reviews

Moon Shell Beach
 
“Nancy Thayer has a deep and masterly understanding of love and friendship, of where the two complement and where they collide. Read Moon Shell Beach and get swept away.”New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand
 
“A beautifully textured story about love, friendship, and forgiveness, a great beach read. It will make you want to pack your bags for Nantucket.”New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah
 
Beachcombers
 
“Thayer’s sense of place is powerful, and her words are hung together the way my grandmother used to tat lace.”—Dorothea Benton Frank
 
“A charming and fun summer read . . . Readers will love this story of family and love.”—The Plain Dealer
 
Summer Breeze
 
“Nancy Thayer is the queen of beach books. . . . All [these characters] are involved in life-changing choices, with all the heart-wrenching decisions such moments demand.”—The Star-Ledger
 
“An entertaining and lively read that is perfect for summer reading indulgence.”—Wichita Falls Times Record News


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Nancy Thayer is the New York Times bestselling author of Summer Breeze, Heat Wave, Beachcombers, Summer House, Moon Shell Beach, and The Hot Flash Club. She lives in Nantucket.
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Product Details

  • Series: Random House Reader's Circle
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 17, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345528743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345528742
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (385 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. D. Mulhern VINE VOICE on April 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This was a totally perfect beach read. Some superficial drama, happy endings, and glimpses into the privileged lifestyle on Nantucket. I found the characters and situations in this book to be a little flat. Thayer seemed to gloss over any real emotion and doesn't dig deep into the relationships and conflicts of the Randall sisters. The climactic scene at the end of the book is way too pat and hard to believe but again....it's the perfect book for the beach. But I definitely prefer Elin Hilderbrand's books....hers are fun but she still makes me really care about her characters.

"Island Girls" had a wonderful premise and I just wish that Thayer had invested some more time (it's a slim book) into elaborating more on the relationships of the sisters, the father and the mother, and even the love interests. There was a lot of wasted potential here.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Ms. Thayer returns to Nantucket with this novel follows Arden, Meg and Jenny - three sisters that are forced to spend their summer in their recently deceased father's house on the island in order to receive their share of the proceeds from the sale of the house.

I've come to look forward to Nancy Thayer's books each summer as they are perfect summer/beach reads for me. Last year's novel, Summer Breeze, wasn't quite up to snuff but I think part of that was due to the lake setting instead of Nantucket. I was excited when I saw she was returning to the island this year.

While the book didn't live up to Beachcombers and her earlier works for me, it still was a decent beach read that I'll be recommending to friends that like fluffy beach ready books. Most of the novel is an easy wind that is enjoyable to read and the relationships I really got into. Each sister has their own quirks and qualities and I enjoyed getting to know them all, even if the ending of the book was a bit predictable.

The major downfall in this novel comes in the last act of the novel. A character is introduced at the very end and the whole plot involving her just seems to be pointless and the story didn't seem to need it. Without that extra bit I feel the story would have done better overall. It didn't ruin the book but did give it a WTF quality if that makes sense.

I still recommend this read to those looking for a book to take with them to the beach or pool this summer, just try to ignore the blip at the end ;)
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'll confess that one of the reasons I like "chick lit" is that I like a happy ending. I like people to do well, figure out their stuff and move on. When the book is written well, I think it's inspirational: it shows us that people are flawed and there are realistic solutions to problems.

Island Girls is very well written.

Rory Randall is a thrice-married man with a daughter by each of his wives. The sisters don't always get along and are fairly estranged overall. When he dies, he leaves them all a house in Nantucket with the proviso that they must all spend a summer living there together before they sell it. Of course, the sisters aren't thrilled about it but they agree so that they can get their inheritance.

The ending is sort of a foregone conclusion, but as you read, Thayer doesn't make it so. Of course, the sisters all wind up happily in love and of course they wind up continuing to have a relationship. Thayer writes the story so beautifully that you overlook that because you want to know what happens to get them there.

I liked the women in Island Girls, even when they weren't terribly likable. Like real women, the characters are sometimes wonderful, sometimes petty, sometimes petulant and occasionally maudlin. Yet, they never seem to go over the edge to ridiculous. There are some stereotypes: the single woman obsessed with her career to the exclusion of anything else, the insecure-beyond-belief-yet-highly-accomplished woman and the youngest who "hates" her business rival until they are forced to work together. There are lovely surprises, too. There is a younger rival whose behavior isn't typical, an "other woman" who also wasn't what I suspected and the mothers of all three of the main characters were not what you'd expect.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This story of three semi-estranged sisters starts with an implausible premise: the adult women, all successful in their own right, are "forced" to live together for a summer on Nantucket in order to claim their stake in their recently-deceased father's house. OK, so why would someone who has their own TV show care about 1/3 stake in a house enough to leave her job for three months? None of them are struggling college kids, so the entire set-up is utterly non-sensical.

And while the author seems to feel the biological daughters banning from the house when they were young teens is a sort of cute, misunderstanding kind of moment. It's actually unspeakably cruel and awful and I can't imagine how any mother could ever have asked for such a thing, or how any father could have agreed to it and let this woman remain his wife! (And all over a supposed, totally unproven, theft. Because a ring is more important than your daughters?) Just, ewwww!

A drilling down into feelings, jealousies and past transgressions between blended families, could have made the centerpiece for a good book. Instead, this story uses it as a plot device with little payoff, taking the (potentially) most interesting element of the story nowhere. Instead we focus on the stepdaughter, the only one who even seemed to see the dad more than once a year, finding her 'real,' a.k.a. biological, father.

There are no real emotional stakes in this book at all. It's all light and fluffy and witless. The romantic set-ups can also be seen coming, roughly, 10,000 miles away (by chapter 2, at the latest, I could tell you who each sister would end up with) and as each character is introduced you can instantly see where their the story is headed.
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