No sex. Again. I wonder if my library algorithm is off now. If so, that’s disappointing. Does this mean I need to download something extra smutty to get me back on the right track?
When Ivy’s husband Jeremy dies, she discovers that they are broke, and worse, he spent their retirement on a dilapidated beach house in Summer Beach, California. Fast forward a year, and Ivy is living in a rented room in a professor’s house in Boston, broke and desperate to sell the house. She and her sister Shelley fly to California to meet with the realtor – a boy she had a crush on in high school, naturally – and sell the house.
Except when Ivy sets foot on the estate, she realizes she can’t let it go. What follows is the bones of a good story, but it just never gets fleshed out. There are too many threads that never really go anywhere. I can’t tell if this is an attempt to set up a series – Ivy and Shelley have three other siblings (I think three? I don’t know; it was hard to keep track of all the names) who are all married with children of their own, and their parents live nearby. I could see where each subsequent book could be an origin story for all the other couples in the family, but to be honest, I didn’t really care. The other characters were not compelling, and the names were a bit ridiculous. No offense to anyone named Fritz or Flint, but… seriously?
Moran also sets up a subplot with some stolen artwork that could have been compelling, but completely bungles the execution. Firstly, the house has a hidden basement (the grand estate that is literally on the shore of the Pacific Ocean). Secondly, the hidden basement has not only all the furnishings from the 30s and 40s down there, but literally hundreds of priceless works of stolen and missing art. In an unairconditioned basement. With no dehumidifier. On the shores of the ocean. And there’s no damage to anything.
Even if I could set aside my practical disbelief, the very fact that Moran had so much down there just took me right out of the story. The FBI gets involved, nobody questions the provenance of any of the artwork, we are just supposed to believe that these are missing Kandinskys and Klees. It just… it could have been so much better. I kept thinking about Beatriz Williams, and how this story, in her hands, would have involved two different timelines, and a story about the previous owner, and a better mystery, and would have kept me so much more interested. But here, it just fell flat and, frankly, was boring.
And there’s no sex.