THE HIGH TIDE CLUB by Mary Kay Andrews

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I’m posting the synopsis from the publisher and then I’ll discuss, so read on…

From the publisher:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Weekenders comes a delightful new novel about new love, old secrets, and the kind of friendship that transcends generations.

When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons attorney Brooke Trappnell to her 20,000 acre barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa, but Brooke has never actually met her. Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter, but why enlist Brooke and not the prestigious Atlanta law firm she has used for years? Brooke travels to Shellhaven and meets the cagey Josephine, whose home is a crumbling pink mansion at the edge of the turquoise sea.

Over the course of a few meetings, Josephine spins a tale of old friendships, dark secrets, betrayal, and a long-unsolved murder. She is hiring Brooke for two reasons: first, to protect her island from those who would despoil her land, and second, to help her make amends with the heirs of the women who were her closest friends, the girls of The High Tide Club―so named because of their youthful skinny dipping escapades―Millie, Ruth, and Varina. To fulfill a dying woman’s wishes, Brooke must find Josephine’s friends’ descendants and bringing them together on Talisa for a reunion of women who’ve actually never met. But in doing so, Brooke unleashes the makings of a scandal that could make someone rich beyond their wildest dreams…or cause them to be in the crosshairs of a murderer….

The High Tide Club is Mary Kay Andrews at her Queen of the Beach Reads best: a story shrouded in mystery, Spanish moss, verandah cocktails, 1940s dinner dances, love lost, and possibly…love found.

I really enjoyed this book but it was not what I expected; this is not the typical Mary Kay Andrews beach read, but rather something much more complex as you can see from the synopsis. I did miss the quirky Southern charm and humor that is the hallmark of her books, but appreciated the depth of the story.

The different storylines and different time periods made for a most compelling read, and I really liked the mystery that was at the heart of the novel and never saw the ending coming. All in all, another wonderful read from one of my favorite authors.

That said, I do have one small critique and it is a personal one. There is a minor character in this book who is a librarian, and she totally abuses her position and betrays the privacy of one of her patrons. Privacy is an issue that librarians take very seriously so if you will indulge me, I’d like to share a bit from the American Library Association:

The right to privacy – the right to read, consider, and develop ideas and beliefs free from observation or unwanted surveillance by the government or others – is the bedrock foundation for intellectual freedom…Privacy is essential to free inquiry in the library because it enables library users to select, access, and consider information and ideas without fear of embarrassment, judgment, punishment, or ostracism…

Libraries, librarians, and library workers have an ethical obligation, expressed in the ALA Code of Ethics, to preserve users’ right to privacy and prevent any unauthorized use or disclosure of users’ personally identifiable information or the data associated with their use of the library’s resources. This requires libraries and all those who work in libraries to maintain an environment that is respectful and protective of the library user’s privacy.

I was not happy with the librarian character’s complete lack of ethics and sadly, it pulled me out of the story as I was yelling at my Kindle. Yes, I know it’s fiction and the author can make her characters do anything she wants, but I felt disrespected and frankly, librarians are disrespected enough! I expect more from authors, especially one like Mary Kay who is so beloved by librarians – including this one. Rant over. Buy the book!

5/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE HIGH TIDE CLUB by Mary Kay Andrews. St. Martin’s Press (May 8, 2018). ISBN 978-1250126061.  480p.


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