Title: Ten Beach Road
Author: Wendy Wax
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Avery, Nicole, and Madeline are three completely different women with one thing in common: they all made the mistake of investing their money with Malcolm Dyer, a financial manager running a Ponzi scheme, and now they have nothing. When these three women are given co-ownership of one of Malcolm’s old houses, they are eager to sell it - until they see its dilapidated state. Realizing that it will bring in much more money if it’s in good shape, the three women move to Florida not only to fix the house, but their own lives in the process.
Fixing up a house is always a great premise for a novel, and Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax is no exception. While the house, Bella Flora, is the centerpiece of the novel, it’s really the women working on it that make up the meat of the book. Each has areas of their lives they dislike, and losing all their hard earned money has brought that dissatisfaction into sharper focus.
For Nicole, it’s the fact that Malcom Dyer isn’t just another financial manager. He’s her little brother. Nicole raised Malcolm and thought she had taught him right from wrong, but the fact that he felt entitled enough to steal his clients’ money and then run instead of facing the consequences leaves her bereft. For Avery, it’s that she’s been sidelined on her own TV design show, reduced to wearing too-tight shirts and smiling and nodding. She is an intelligent and resourceful woman with a degree in architecture, though one would never believe that while watching the show. And for Madeline, it’s the discovery that her husband has been lying to her and has now completely shut down. What’s more, her adult children are completely irresponsible, and it’s up to her to do everything.
Each of these women is smart, focused, and determined; Wax did a wonderful job writing strong and independent woman. It’s a shame that the major male role in the book is taken by a man who seems to get a thrill out of condescending to them, especially Avery. While the situation is explained later in the novel, I never warmed to him and thought he was completely out of line and revolting.
Ten Beach Road is a fun summer read, perfect for the beach or the pool. While it does bring up interesting issues, it’s mostly just a fun novel that works as a breezy afternoon read. Wax is a talented author, and I look forward to seeing what she does next.