The Richest Season

Published By: Hyperion

Book Category: Fiction,

Reviewed by Beth Cummings

Corporate wife Joanna Harrison is suffering from extreme loneliness at the start of Maryann McFadden’s novel. Her successful husband has just been promoted, so they will have to move again and she doesn’t want to pack up her empty nest and start again in a new city. So to clear her head, she just leaves and drives south from New Jersey to Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

Grace Finelli is dying of pancreatic cancer. She doesn’t want to burden her family with a deathwatch, so she has moved to Pawleys Island and rented a beach house. She needs someone to stay with her for her last six months of life. Joanna answers her ad and agrees to stay for six months to help with errands and cooking in exchange for a room. She does not know that Grace is terminally ill.

McFadden has created two delightful women for this book and then has woven their stories in, out and around each other. The final bit of detail in this tapestry is Joanna’s husband, Paul, who is downsized out of a job soon after Joanna leaves home. While she is learning independence, he is learning to live with himself and to find useful ways to occupy his lonely days.

These characters are all well drawn and interesting. There are also several secondary characters that add spice to the novel: Paul and Joanna’s son and daughter, Grace’s family, and the people on Pawleys Island that care for loggerhead turtle nests on the beach. The parts about the turtle hatchlings reminded me of a similar book, The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe, that I read in the summer of 2002.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, originally self-published in 2006.

Armchair Interviews says: This is a great summer book–easy to get into and filled with warm-hearted emotions.

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