Book Review - Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews
I had the opportunity to meet Mary Kay Andrews at a luncheon hosted by Main Street Books a few weeks ago. She spoke a bit about the real-life scenarios that inspire scenes in her books. In Sunset Beach, there is a scene when the main character, Drue, snaps a picture of a heron at just the right angle and just the right time for the sunset to create a perfect silhouette. This scene inspired the cover and the picture of the heron was the one Mary Kay snapped on her own cellphone. Another example is a scene when Drue orders her new, obnoxious co-worker a Prairie Fire shot. This scene was inspired by a time when Mary Kay was at a bar and an “obnoxious dude” ordered a round of Prairie Fires to be sent to a table who was being “disrespectful and rude.” Finally, one of the murder mysteries in this novel was inspired by a real unsolved case in another state. These stories and more are why I love to hear authors speak about their books.
When I first agreed to read this book for review, I had assumed it would be a light-hearted romance book as many summer reads are. As Mary Andrews said at her talk, her publisher has a phrase that “Summer begins with MKA.” She is known for her summer reads! I was pleasantly surprised to find not one, but TWO murder mysteries within the plot: one cold case from the 70s and another once that Drue’s father just settled. The book begins when Drue is moving across the state of Florida after her mother’s death to work for her father’s law firm. She recently suffered a sports injury as well, leaving her a bit adrift. There is, of course, a love interest (a few guys are contenders in the beginning, but are quickly weeded out as more is discovered about them.)
Mary Kay Andrews has a huge fan base, many of my readers were excited to see I was featuring one of her books. I think this is the first book I’ve read by her (it is possible I read books by her before I started documenting all the books I read.) It was certainly an enjoyable summer read, if a bit predictable. In some ways it seemed a bit formulaic, as if her readers have begun to expect certain plot lines so she sticks to what works. This isn’t necessarily a critique, but more of an observation. This clearly works for her - she’s had tremendous success with it and I can see why the readers come back to her books again and again. Perhaps it just isn’t my cup of tea.
These photos were taken at the new beach in New Town at St. Charles. My husband/photographer is traveling a LOT this month so I had to take these photos myself. You should have seen the strange ways I contorted my body in order to get these shots. It is NOT easy to take pictures of yourself with a DSLR. I had half a mind to just take cell phone shots or call up a friend of mine to take pics for me. It certainly made me more appreciative of the contributions my husband makes to this blog!