The Seaside Sisters: A Novel

Image of Seaside Sisters
Release Date: 
June 4, 2024
St. Martin's Griffin
Reviewed by: 

Brooklyn, NY, resident, Hannah Brewster and author of women’s romantic comedies has a deadline to meet for her second book, and she is dealing with writer’s block. Grieving over the recent loss of her beloved mom, she is also in a funk after breaking up with a guy she’d been dating for two years. He wanted to take their relationship further, but her feelings for him are different from his, and she’s not about to settle.

Hannah is close to her Aunt Maddie, her mom’s sister. Maddie is also her literary agent, so Hannah calls her and drops her woes on her, hoping to gain inspiration. Maddie lives in Chatham on Cape Cod, MA, where Hannah grew up, though she often works remotely from there when she’s not in New York City.

The summer is approaching, so Maddie suggests Hannah “come home” to stay with her where the sounds of the beach can do wonders for the muse. This way, she will be able to spend time with her older sister, Sara, and her three nephews, whom she hasn’t seen in a while. Hannah figures she has nothing to lose, so she packs up and heads to the Cape for three months.

It is bittersweet to be back in her hometown. Though she loves it there, she knows Brooklyn is now her home and this break will be good for her. Who could pass up spending the summer in a lovely home on the beach?

Sara is happy to have her little sister around, and they decide to spend more time together. Sara confides to Hannah that she is tired of being taken for granted by her husband Tom and her sons. Once a librarian, she now is eager to find a job since the kids are in school. But Tom is not too thrilled about her going to work and lets his displeasure be known. Sara knows something must give. She needs something of her own to keep her happy and not to be a slave to Tom and the kids. Luckily, she is thrilled to be offered a job at a local bookstore.

While Sara is at work, Hannah keeps herself busy by taking early morning walks on the beach, then heading to the coffee shop in the afternoons where she works on her current manuscript. She is finally getting the inspiration to finish the book she needs to submit to her publisher. In addition to enjoying her stomping grounds, she befriends Maggie’s next-door neighbors, Joy, and Ben. Joy holds Monday afternoon workshops for writers where the group can focus on ideas, read things they’ve written for advice, and enjoy a nice social time with like-minded folks.

Joy and Ben are grandparents to Spencer, a guy a bit older than Hannah whom she knew slightly in high school. She finds him more attractive now than he was when they were younger, yet she finds him aloof. When she talks to him about her writing and the block she has, he suggests she shadow him at his job, where he is an attorney. Her impression of him changes when she sees how compassionate he is toward his clients and how he deals with his colleagues.

Though Hannah is happy to be “home” it is a bit bittersweet for her as she drives by her mom’s house. She knows that before long, she and Sara are going to have to decide what to do with the property. She cannot stay there as it brings back too many painful memories, yet she doesn’t know if she’s ready to part with the place, either.

As time passes, Hannah gets back in the groove, not only with her writing, but with her sister, aunt, and friends—especially Spencer. She sees him in a new light and likes what she sees, and it turns out he is warming toward her, too. But Hannah isn’t out for a fling and knows she’ll be returning to NY in the Fall. Will she change her mind? Will she and Spencer become a couple?

The Seaside Sisters is a sweet and charming tale of romance and family bonding. Though the prose tends to be somewhat pedestrian, and offers more telling than showing, the author’s description of the locale and the differing characters make this a fast and fun read.