Saturday, August 13, 2011
Beach Town by Ann Roberts
Publisher: Bella Books
Beach Town spans fifteen years in the lives of two women. Kira Drake is a rising star in Hollywood. She knows that an actress only has a certain number of years while she can enjoy real box office success and she's determined to stay there as long as she can. Her dedication to her career puts her at the mercy of her manager and her ruthless mother, either of whom is willing to do whatever it takes to keep Kira at the top so that they can benefit from her popularity. Things threaten to derail when Kira goes to Ocean Beach to film a movie and meets Flynn McFadden.
Flynn is the local surfing phenomena and a veterinary student. The McFadden family is at the heart of the community and Flynn has never known anything but total acceptance for her "out" lifestyle. There is an instant attraction between Kira and Flynn that makes Kira daring and reckless. When her career is threatened by tabloid stories, her manager shows up to wrench the women apart and Kira lets him do it.
The story then leaps forward to when both women have moved on with their very different lives. When a surprising turn of events brings Kira back to Ocean Beach, she has to face Flynn and deal with what she did to both of them. An attraction is still there, but the obstacles are huge. Kira still has a successful career that she may lose and Flynn isn't sure if she wants to expose herself to the kind of pain that Kira inflicted before. The people of Ocean Beach rally to protect Flynn while they watch to see if the women can resolve the situation in a way that will make both of them happy.
Beach Town takes an interesting approach to a standard story. The women meet, fall madly in love and, if it were the usual romance, would overcome all the odds, but they don't. The separation allows each one to develop as she thought she wanted to, and when they come back together, the reader knows that it isn't a given that the situation will end happily. The characters stay true to who they are. Kira may be in love, but she wants her career more than anything and that made it possible for her to be selfish and cruel when she was younger. Flynn grows the most of the two characters, but she maintains that wild spirit encased in responsibility that draws people to her.
The interesting part of the book is the second half when it's obvious that the attraction is still there, but life has taught both women that love isn't everything. More important at that point is being able to trust and rely on the other person and the women may not have enough of either trait to be able to let their love reassert itself.
Roberts has created a pleasant romance. The reader can easily feel Kira's desperation and Flynn's pain. There is also humor in the story and a good cast of supporting characters. Beach Town is good entertainment.