Jun 21, 2008

Book Review: The Richest Season

Joanna and Paul have been married for 25 years, they have two grown children who are embarking on their own new, young lives miles away from their parents. Paul is a communications executive who has worked very long hours for most of his married life. Joanna, the dutiful corporate wife who always put her family first. Her career was her children and Paul, when he was home from his constant business trips. Until now. With the surprise news of yet another transfer and the thought of doing it alone, without the children, it was just too much for her to take.

Joanna makes a decision that will affect not only her entire family, but people she doesn't yet know, but will become very important to her life. Pawleys Island, South Carolina holds special memories for Joanna from her teens and she feels that if there's any place she can go to figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her life, that's where she needs to be.

Grace Finelli, a recent widow who has always dreamed of living near the ocean, is finally living her dream on Pawleys Island. After spending her life completely afraid to follow her own path, she has reached a point that its now or never. She has a beautiful beach house that is so close the sea, you can hear the waves kissing the dunes below her deck.

This is the story of two women who are each facing very different challenges in their lives and whether they like it or not, they need each other. Their needs are what bring them together and sometimes what pushes them apart.

Without getting into too much detail that may give the plot away, this is a story of regret and second chances. For the most part, the characters were believable to me, but at times, I found myself questioning the choices Joanna made. I didn't agree with some of them and it would irritate me. When you've been married to someone for 25 years, I believe you owe that person a little more than what Joanna showed her husband. Paul's character was very believable and I'm sure his corporate personality would be a difficult thing to live with. However, it bothered me that Joanna would up and leave without so much as a conversation with her husband. I don't think people in the real world just walk out of their life within hours of deciding and with no plan at all. Especially after being such an organized and profficient wife for so long. She showed more loyalty to her new friend, Hank in Pawleys Island than to her husband of 25 years. Another thing about Joanna and Grace is they came across a little cold. I think I was surpised that these two women didn't seem to bond with each other until almost the end. I was expecting a little more of a friendship between the two. That being said, I did enjoy the story and felt like I knew the characters pretty well even though I didn't agree with their actions all the time.

Maryann McFadden has a good writing style that flows easily from page to page. Her descriptions of the locale are so vivid you can almost smell the salt air and feel the wind on your face as you read. It is a lovely story about people and choices they make. There's not a lot of drama and it did get a bit slow for me at times, but I did enjoy the book. It would make a nice beach read for the summer.


  1. I have this book on my pile to review this week also, I'm glad to see a good review:) Congrats on your e-mail too, I've been wanting to read The Art of Racing also!

  2. Thanks for posting your thoughts about this book. I found Paul more and more endearing as the book went on. I was much more interested in his transformation than Joanna's, in the end.

  3. Tracy - its a good summer read.

    Jill - I didn't like Paul too much in the beginning, but like you, I was drawn to him more than Joanne. I feel like he went thru more of a transformation than anyone.


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