Happy BLOGMAS Day 19!
It was the perfect place to disappear…
One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes.
Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach during the off-season, it seems like the perfect chance to begin fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a girl thirty years before, Allison realizes the gorgeous homes of Opal Beach hide dark secrets. And the truth of that long-ago summer is not even the most shocking part of all…
That had been their mission, all of her friends. One week before college. Get wasted. Let your hair down. Wasn’t that what everyone came here for?“
Trigger warnings: Depression, cheating, mention of rape, physical abuse, murder, gambling.
Characters | I didn’t have a particular favorite character. They were all pretty basic as far as thriller characters go. Allison and Maureen were equally interesting to me. You learn a lot about their home lives and their relationship with their parents. You even get a lot of backstories from side characters—Clay and Tammy. I honestly don’t have anything to say about them.
Story | The story is told in two different perspectives: Maureen and Allison. It opens up during the summer of 1986 in Opal Beach. There is a girl at a party who sees a “missing person” poster taped to a pole. Before she can do anything, the paper flies off into the darkness.
Skip ahead to September 2015, Allison is going through a rough patch with her divorce attorney and antidepressants. She used to be a meteorologist at WDLT before she called her ex-husband out on television. Her sister begs her to stay at a beach home during the off-season to get away from her troubles. Her friends know a couple who is going away to Europe, and Allison can watch their cat, Catarina, and watch over the house.
October 2015: Allison decides to go for it! It’s only a two-hour drive from downtown Philadelphia—between Ocean City and Atlantic City. She stays in the Worthington’s home. It has a lot of upkeep—salt on the windows and the plants need constant attention.
She goes to a coffee shop called The Sweet Spot where she meets Tammy. Tammy thinks that Allison is somehow related to Maureen. They become friends and Tammy ends up talking about Maureen and her thoughts on what happened to her during that summer.
Don’t let the sunshine fool you into thinking you belong here.”
Alternate timeline: Maureen, June 1985. She works at a carnival with Jacqueline and Clyde, the owner. Unfortunately, she has to deal with Desmond, Clyde’s brother, who always shorts her on her checks. He also watches her change through her trailer window.
One night at a party, Maureen meets Clay Bishop—his family lives next door to the Worthington’s. Him and Tammy save Maureen from Desmond, and the friendship blooms from there. The only hurdle is Mabel, Tammy’s “friend.” She hates Maureen.
Clay has to put up with his father’s shenanigans. You actually deal with Phillip and his brother, Zeke, more throughout the story but I don’t want to spoil anything! Maureen got mixed up in it, and Allison does too—obviously.
There is a lot of back and forth with this novel. I thought I knew what was going on but it threw me for a loop, even though the plot twist wasn’t all that surprising.
Writing | I really enjoyed the writing style. It wasn’t over the top but it wasn’t basic. There were some thought-provoking quotes throughout. I always like the alternating perspectives. It keeps the anticipation going in a thriller.
Overall | Would I recommend this? Yes, to readers who are trying to enter the thriller/mystery genre. If you read a lot of thrillers, then this would probably bore you. That doesn’t mean this was a bad story, it just means that there isn’t anything new being done and that’s okay! I still had a lot of fun reading it, and I would pick up more from this author.
If you enjoyed this, then give it a like and follow my blog. Be respectful and happy reading!