Meet Me on the Beach
by Hilary Boyd
Where do you run when your heart’s breaking all the rules?
When pillar-of-the-community Harry Stewart dies of a sudden heart attack, the whole village is devastated – except for his wife Karen, the only one who really knew the abusive alcoholic Harry had become.
Suddenly freed from this oppressive marriage, Karen is nonetheless wracked with guilt about the circumstances of her husband’s death, and sees the presence of her spoiled step-daughter, Sophie, as a suitable purgatory. Her only comfort in her grief and isolation is William, the sympathetic local vicar.
As Karen shares her secret, William’s listening ear soon becomes a shoulder to cry on, and before long Karen realises she is falling in love. But William has a wife and teenaged daughter, not to mention a parish to watch over – and be watched by.
As the pressure becomes too much to bear, Karen flees to the seaside and to Mike Best’s beach café. But when William suddenly turns up again in her life, can they persuade each other to take one final leap of faith together?
Karen breathe a sigh of relief after her husband Harry died. Nope, she wasn’t a bad wife nor a bad person. It’s just that she was already fed up with her husband’s drinking issues and depressing state when he was alive. Why, he even physically hurt her once! Finally, life had taken its toll on him and Karen knew she was free. Although her stepdaughter Sophie digressed. She accused Karen as the reason why her father died, never acknowledged the fact that she had been spoiled and sheltered all her life. Now Harry left her only ten grand as her inheritance. And she’s got no choice but to live with her stepmother until she became of age.
How cruel could life be for Karen? Just when she thought her life couldn’t get worse, she also had fallen for a vicar in their community. A vicar who was already married and with children. A vicar whose wife lent her her teapots and entertained her guests during a fete. A wife who was liked by everybody.
I don’t know what and how to feel after reading this book. Because, right from the start, I was already engulfed with pity and hatred towards the main characters. As a reader, I want a story that would build up my interest right from the beginning. With this novel, however, it started with intense emotions like antipathy, contempt and annoyance, and my heart could only take so much. When Harry died, I couldn’t believed that I was all too happy for Karen. It made me feel really bad.
And let’s get back to Sophie. This girl was full of issues just like her father. She was another case of disappointment to me. But along the way, as the story progressed, I learned to accept her flaws and felt compassion towards her and Karen. At the end of the day, this book had taught me morals and virtues and also made me cry.
Another thing I liked in this book are the age of the main characters, they were already in their 50s, they weren’t the type that would go swooning and exchanging love notes just like teens. They were matured and old enough to realize what they wanted.
Cancer was a part of this story and it made me cry harder when one of the characters died due to it. I cried because I lost my father to cancer too. In the end, the overwhelming emotions I felt at the beginning dissipated and made me appreciate the characters more. Surprisingly, I liked how the story ended, it was right and definitely fitting. Thanks Hilary Boyd for this beautiful story.