Today’s Cozy Read is from Marybeth Whalen‘s Sunset Beach series, The Guest Book (book #2). This is an especially poignant story as the main character, Macy, has been drifting and pretty messed up ever since her father died 10 years ago, when she was sixteen. She lost her father, lost her faith, and lost the opportunity to meet the boy who had put drawings in the Guest Book of the cottage Time In A Bottle at Sunset Beach in response to her drawings of her special vacations there.
Ten years on and Macy, her brother Max, her mother Brenda, and Macy’s daughter Emma, are only beginning to move on. The boyfriend who left Macy stranded and vulnerable five years earlier has shown up wanting to pick up where he left off and while Macy wants Emma to know her father she’s not sure she can trust Chase not to take off again. Nor is she sure that taking up with him again would be right for her — there’s too much she still has to sort out — like the guilt she feels for the way she treated her dad that last summer and the grief that drove her away from the God her father believed so strongly in.
Brenda has hosted a birthday party for her husband every year since he passed away but when Macy arrives for the event, she notices that the pictures of her dad, usually on display in the living room, have been taken down and there’s a somewhat different atmosphere this year. When Brenda announces that she wants them to take another family vacation at Sunset Beach, Macy begins to look forward to it as a means for all of them to sort through the loss, the memories, the loss of faith, and possibly find the key to a new future. Perhaps she will even find the boy who did the drawings. Dare she pray that she will?
This is a story that could easily be true and it is based in part on a true setting and a true sculpture that exists at Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, but in the story it is of Macy when she was a teenager. (The true story behind the sculpture is revealed at the end of the book where you will also find discussion questions for your book club.) Macy has talents she has not trusted, Max has guilt he’s been hiding in a bottle, outgoing little Emma is looking for a father figure, and Brenda possibly has a beaux waiting for her at Sunset Beach. The theme of wishing time could stand still or be kept in a bottle and shared with loved ones is strong throughout the story and Macy’s prayer brings some surprising and interesting results. A very cozy read. I’ll be looking for more books by Marybeth Whalen. * * * *
Cozy Read Wednesday is a recent meme. No list of rules — just leave a comment with a link to your Cozy Read published on Wednesday, mention that Ms M is hosting the meme, and feel free to use the Cozy Read Wednesday icon on your site. I look forward to reading your recommendations.