These are the last cryptic words that Ava Barrett’s father says before he dies. But Ava doesn’t have a brother, as far as she knows, so how can she tell him the truth? She dismisses the conversation and dedicates herself to bringing her family together for her father’s funeral. This is no easy task, since her sister, Elaine, has been estranged from the family and still harbors resentment against their stepmother and half-sister, Gigi. Ava, on the other hand, is a single mother who sees Gigi as a troubled teen in need of love and connection.
Ava, too, could use more love in her life and finds it where she least expects it. But the biggest surprise of all is that Gigi holds the key to the mystery surrounding her father’s dying words, and joins Ava in uncovering a secret that rapidly unravels the very fabric of their entire family…
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About the Author
What People are Saying About This
Praise for Beach Plum Island
“In this absorbing, big-hearted novel, Holly Robinson explores sibling bonds, love in middle age, and the intricate dance of a blended family. The painful past is everywhere in Beach Plum Island, but the present moment shines through.”—Elizabeth Graver, author of The End of the Point
“Robinson uses Beach Plum Island to explore the conflicts that can surface between brothers and sisters, half-sisters and half-brothers, and stepsiblings when divorces rip families apart and remarriages attempt to weave them into a new fabric.” —The Daily News (Newburyport, MA)
“A family novel with plenty of emotional punch. . . Robinson weaves each sister’s story into a tale of grief and love that explores the ways women adapt to expectations, the consequences when those become too much to bear, and the healing power of love. Along the way, she includes details that bring every scene to life. . . An uplifting but not overly bow-tied ending makes for satisfying reading.”—The Concord Monitor
“What a great cast of characters Holly Robinson has created in this fun and touching novel.”—The Good, The Bad and The Unread
“Anyone liking romance with a little mystery and the shedding of a few tears will enjoy this book as much as I did.”—Open Book Society
“Sensitivity clearly enables every character in this novel to grow, to expose grievous secrets and to create new life that erodes the tension too long lying just below the surface. Lovely, powerful story that is well-crafted."—Crystal Book Reviews
“In Beach Plum Island, Holly Robinson's rich details transport you to picturesque New England and right into the core of the conflicted Barrett family. Robinson tugs at your emotions from the viewpoint of the three complex and very different Barrett sisters, through whom the author deftly explores grief, secrets, and shunned family ties. This story reveals the way people become stronger when they are together rather than apart, and proves that it is never too late to become a family. Beach Plum Island is a triumphant family saga filled with heart and hope. I couldn't put it down!”—Amy Sue Nathan, author of The Glass Wives
“Holly Robinson is a natural-born storyteller and her tale of three mismatched sisters and the lost brother they search for will keep you turning those pages as she quietly but deftly breaks your heart. I loved every single one of her characters and you will too; here is a novel to savor and share.”—Yona Zeldis McDonough, author of Two of A Kind
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The ups and downs of family is what makes us love our family more. This book wraps up what it means to be family.
Beach Plum Island begins with three sisters--Ava, Elaine, and GiGi--mourning the loss of their beloved father. The three women are as different as people can be. Or are they? They grieve by alternately acting out against each other, themselves, and unsuspecting strangers. But ultimately coming together as a stronger, more self-aware, and loving family. Exactly as their father would've wanted. An uplifting family drama!
Beach Plum Island by Holly Robinson is about family ties, blended families and the trials they go through to become one loving family, the loss of parents, and family secrets. When Ava Barrett’s father dies, she convinces her sister Elaine to come to his funeral where they both will have to face his wife, their stepmother. Elaine still resents her father leaving their mother to marry Katy and is not afraid to show it. She directs her anger at Ava for including Gigi, their half-sister, in the family. Their father told Ava and Gigi to find their brother and tell him the truth. Ava was confused because she didn’t have a brother. What truth was she to tell him? While trying to solve this mysterious directive of their father, Ava, Elaine, and Gigi have a Herculean task before them, made more difficult by guilt and secrets of Ava and Elaine. What will they find in the end? Can they become one happy family? Holly Robinson’s vivid descriptions of Boston, Beach Plum Island, and surrounding areas transport you to the setting of the book. Her characters are complex and well developed, involving you deeply in their struggles, their lives, and their loves. I loved every single one of them. This is perhaps one of the best novels I have ever read. I could have finished it in one sitting, but as I neared the half-way mark, I was already starting to mourn the end of the story. I wanted it to go on. I started to read just a chapter at a sitting trying to stretch it out. I didn’t want it to come to the end. This is an excellent read anytime and anywhere, but you will surely want to tuck it in your beach bag for a lazy summer day. I give Beach Plum Island and Holly Robinson five stars!
Like Holly Robinson's first book, Beach Plum Island is mostly a story about family, in this case siblings. Ava Barret is the oldest of the sisters, a potter by trade, and the divorced mother of two teenage boys. All her life she has been the one to "take care of things". When her father passes away from cancer, he tells he to "tell her brother the truth." The only problem is, as far as Ava knows, she only has two sisters, Elaine, the sister she grew up with, and Gigi, her half-sister from her father's second marriage. Beach Plum Island is one is part mystery and one part family drama, with romance thrown in for good measure. I like the way the clues for the mystery part of the story are revealed slowly, as the story progresses, allowing the mystery to be engaging without taking over the entire plot. Unfortunately, although I enjoyed the mystery surrounding the brother, and the ensuing search for him, this part of the story had it's flaws for me. In the beginning, it seemed like it was going to be just as complex as the rest of the story, but the conclusion of this story line seemed a bit to easy and didn't quite ring true. To say anymore would be to include spoilers, but I would have liked this part of the story to be a bit more real. It is the family drama part that Iiked the most, and where I think Holly's writing really shines. The relationships between the characters are both complex and flawed, as are the characters themselves. I love that all of the characters, from the major protagonists all the way down to the character with the smallest part in the story, have demons in their lives that they are dealing with. Not a single one of them is totally positive or negative. At times I loved them and applauded their actions, at other times I wanted to yell at them and tell them to grow up, or think things through before acting. Exactly the way I am with my real life siblings, which makes the story all the more enjoyable to read. As I read the book, I found myself turning pages, not wanting to stop reading until I found out how Ava was going to pull the family together, or how Gigi was going to fit into the family without her father around as a buffer, or even whether Elaine was going to decide that a one night stand didn't equal a relationship. This feeling lasted all of the way to the end of the book and beyond. Although the end of the book was perfectly satisfying, I still found myself wondering what was next for the members of the family. This type of feeling is what I have come to expect from Holly's writing and I am looking forward to her next project. It is also what makes me recommend this book to all my reading friends. Thanks to Holly for making this book available through the Sisterhood of the Traveling Book on Goodreads in exchange for my review
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I really liked this book. I swept up right away and didn’t want to put it down. In fact, I would get so engrossed that I would not notice the passage of time. Before I would know it, several hours would pass and tasks I had intended to complete were left undone. There were many aspects to this story and Ms. Robinson did a fantastic job in blending it all into a cohesive unit that flowed very well. It did not feel fragmented or distracting as sometimes happens when there is a lot going on in a story. Each character had a personal journey as well as the collective mystery of finding the lost brother. It all came together nicely for a satisfying and believable conclusion. I really loved the character development in this book. The three women were complex, flawed, and so very realistic. I particularly liked the way their relationships with each other were portrayed. I felt Robinson did a good job of demonstrating the complex and unique relationship between sisters. I would definitely recommend this book. I really appreciated Robinson’s writing style in this book. I have to say that I liked this book a lot better than her last book. I see a refinement of style that impresses me. I will be looking forward to her next creation.