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The Last Beach Bungalow

The Last Beach Bungalow

4.1 7
by Jennie Nash

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A poignant novel about a woman who survives breast cancer, only to struggle with what comes next: living.

After five cancer-free years, April Newton should be celebrating, but instead she's restless. She feels her husband slipping away, and though the spectacular, stylish house he's building for her should be a fresh start, April finds herself wanting


A poignant novel about a woman who survives breast cancer, only to struggle with what comes next: living.

After five cancer-free years, April Newton should be celebrating, but instead she's restless. She feels her husband slipping away, and though the spectacular, stylish house he's building for her should be a fresh start, April finds herself wanting something more. As their move-in date approaches, she becomes obsessed with winning the right to buy the last bungalow in Redondo Beach, convinced that the quirky, lived-in little house represents comfort, completeness-everything she is missing in her life. And though her quest for the bungalow will take some surprising twists, it may put back together the pieces of her heart.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In Nash's winning debut, a long illness and mastectomy have put April Newton's life on hold for five years, and have made her and husband Rick practically strangers in and out of bed. As they prepare to move into the Redondo Beach, Calif., house Rick designed for them while she was still in treatment-with their teenage daughter, Jackie, in the throes of her first love-April's eye strays to a classic nearby beach bungalow being offered in a contest by an eccentric widow, who asks: "What would you give-besides money-to live here?" Under the guise of a shelter-magazine assignment, April tours the house of a sort that has all but disappeared, and meets its owner, who, for reasons of her own, promises to let it go below market to the most deserving applicant by Christmas. For April, it might be the perfect place to furnish a new life, one that might not have room for her distant husband and daughter. This grown-up fable replaces the erotics of sex with the erotics of floor plans, but April's midlife crisis and difficult adjustments ring true, as do the plot's surprising turns. (Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
A lyrical first novel from Nash (Raising a Reader: A Mother's Tale of Desperation and Deceit, 2003, etc.) about a breast-cancer survivor searching for a home. As freelance writer April Newton reaches the five-year mark with a clean bill of health, she should be relieved and feeling optimistic, but something is missing. Her husband Rick, a contractor, is building her a spectacular glass-and-stone house overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He sees it as a fortress to protect her, but for April the house is haunted by coldness and despair. Shortly before moving day, April falls in love with a small Craftsman-style bungalow near the beach, the last cottage on a street now rebuilt with glass boxes and mansions. When she learns that the elderly owner will sell the house for a pittance to a family "with heart" that promises to preserve and protect it, April pulls out the stops to get the place-leaving her builder husband feeling betrayed. The author illustrates, through telling detail, the small ways that breast cancer causes a woman's world to shift, and April's writing career is deftly incorporated to reflect the challenges faced during recovery. The book's resolution is a reminder that healing doesn't always come from getting what you want. A sensitive novel that will appeal to many women and resonate with cancer survivors. Agent: Faye Bender/Faye Bender Literary Agency

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.15(w) x 7.88(h) x 0.71(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Jennie Nash is the author of two books of narrative nonfiction. The Last Beach Bungalow is her first novel.

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Last Beach Bungalow 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous 11 months ago
I stopped reading on page 38, it was like navel gazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Renda_Brooks More than 1 year ago
April Newton's fifth anniversary of being cancer free should have been cause for celebration. However, her life held a void, a great emptiness without a name. Through the radiation treatments, mastectomy, and breast reconstruction, April had lost something along the way. Her husband, Rick, had grown distant. Their daughter was a 15 year-old with things other than family life on her mind. April struggles with the missing joys of friendship, a rift with her family, and a house to call a home. The excitement that should be felt of moving into a newly reconstructed and remodeled home, designed by her husband, is non-existent. She does not feel the excitement of life in general, until she stumbles upon a bungalow being offered in a contest by the owner, an eccentric widow. The bungalow is surrounded by newer homes and is the "last" beach bungalow, which is being threatened of being demolished instead of saved. April musters up enough courage to attend the open house for the 1928 Beach Bungalow in Rodando Beach, California. Upon entering, she is immediately drawn to the atmosphere of the house. The collection of game pieces on the walls and the feeling of home overwhelm April. She finds herself contemplating making a life in the bungalow, independent from her husband and daughter. My thoughts on this story: This is an intriguing story of a woman's defeat over not only cancer, but the demons that haunt her soul. She struggles with those demons and eventually learns the art of forgiveness and how to live again...instead of merely existing. The story made me laugh and cry. It is a story of courage, hope, faith, and dreams. This book held me captive. I was enthralled in the story and unable to put this book down. I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Her characters are amazing and her writing style pulls you in and you can't put it down - don't miss this!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I have passed it to friends and family too and they are all raving about the story. It is a thoughtful story about survival and what it means after the battle is over. It is also about defining 'home' and what it means to different people and at different times in life. A beautifully written story with something for everyone to relate to. Highly recommended!
harstan More than 1 year ago
The fifth anniversary of her being cancer free has arrived for April Newton but she does not feel like celebrating the milestone. Physically she may be doing well, but mentally she is depressed. She believes her once close relationship with her husband is slowly eroding even as he constructs their ¿dream home¿.--------- Instead she finds contentment with a nearby Redondo Beach bungalow, whose owner Peg has put up for sale. Instead of the dream house she prefers THE LAST BEACH BUNGALOW. However, she wonders how much she will hurt her husband if she tells him how she feels.-------------- This is a fascinating character study of a woman who has physically defeated cancer, but mentally is still fighting windmills. April is a wonderful person struggling with the dilemma of whether to tell or not to tell her spouse as that is the question she must face. If she tells him how she feels, she will hurt him as he is building their new dream house out of love for her if she does not, she will go deeper into depression and he will know something is wrong. THE LAST BEACH BUNGALOW is a strong family drama that realistically looks deep at after the cancer is gone.----------- Harriet Klausner