Monday, June 3, 2013

Book Review - Geoducks are for Lovers by Daisy Prescott

TITLE:      GEODUCKS ARE FOR LOVERS by Daisy Prescott 
AUTHOR:  Daisy Prescott
STARS:     4 out of 5
BUY IT:    Amazon: $2.99 ebook, or $14.99 print

I came across this title before it was released. I began conversing with the author on Twitter (@Daisy_Prescott) via someone I'd met at the RWA New England Chapter's conference (Traci O. at Omnific Publishing, a cool indie publisher, check them out). Daisy proved to be funny, poignant and outrageously clever in 140 characters or less. I was intrigued...and then she posted her cover:
Copyright Daisy Prescott

There was something about this cover that struck me. The rocks - I'd never seen such rocks before. And I knew there had to be some significance in that there were four of them...It's a beautiful cover. As I read hundreds of books every year, I made it a rule not to purchase a book based solely on the cover...however, once I saw this cover, I knew I had to read it. (Yeah, broke my own rule, blah blah blah...)

Breaking that rule was worth it.

Forty-something Maggie Marrion is finally settled into her life on Whidbey Island in the Pacific Northwest after a couple of really bad years. An upcoming college reunion - her 20th - inspires her to invite her four closest friends out to the island for a re-union catch-up. These friends - Quinn, a fabulously gay artist; Selah, a sexy part-time erotica novelist; and Jo and Ben, the college couple who married and live (on the surface) a perfect life - 2 kids, great home, nice cars, picket fence - all agree to come up to her beach-side cabin for a fun- and memory-filled weekend.

Quinn and Selah, however, plan a surprise for Maggie, throwing a wrench in her otherwise uneventful plans for the weekend. Gil, her college love, is coming on the ferry with Selah. Gil and Maggie never fully fell out of love with each other, even though they both married (and divorced) other people, and have carved out careers and lives without the other.

When I opened the novel, I immediately realized two things: One, it starts with a definition of geoduck. Two, the book is written entirely in the present tense.

I appreciated the definition (I'd never heard of a geoduck, which is the world's largest burrowing clam), and it immediately made me wonder what a clam like that had to do with a story about 40-somethings. Geoducks look like...well, you can draw your own conclusions:
Copyright Dan Rothaus


So what do these giant clams have to do with the rocks on the front cover, and 40-somethings during a weekend reunion at the beach?

This is what drew me - take three seemingly related things (rocks on a beach, suggestive seafood, and a weekend beach retreat) and blow them into something more

First, it must be said that there are great descriptions of the island that don't slow the reader (I loved going for island runs with these characters, it almost made me go for a real run...ha), and snappy, witty dialogue that makes me feel as though I stood in the kitchen, eating blueberry scones with the characters. 

Maggie is confronted with her feelings for Gil in ways she really never expected to face. She's a strong woman with her own happy, comfortable life. She's not lonely, she's not depressed, and she's not bogged down by feelings of guilt over her mother's passing (all of which are typical for story-starters in many books, we all know that). Prescott doesn't lead with any of those - she expects the reader to be smart enough to realize that while these things shaped Maggie, they aren't the whole picture. Maggie believes these things of herself, too - and is perfectly happy with her life.

Refreshing to come across a character who isn't overly dramatic about past happening, isn't it?! I thought so.

Enter Quinn - I want him to be my best friend. He really loves Maggie - it's obvious from their dialogue and shared history that he will do and has done anything and everything for her - and the feeling is mutual. I love this guy - he's fabulously gay, but not stereo-typically gay (a tough feat to pull off, and Prescott does it with aplomb and humor). 

Selah came off as a bit too nosy - she brings Gil without asking Maggie, which at first made me question what her deal the story progressed, I understood that Selah wants only the best for her two friends, but I found her to be a bit too snobby for my liking. 

Jo and Ben rounded out the crew, and they didn't make too many appearances, giving me the feeling that they were there to show the "other side" of life - the marriage, the money, the family. I appreciated that they were in the story - it would've felt too machinated if they weren't (an entire group of friends who were either never married or divorced seems maybe unrealistic). Ben was a workaholic by design - he worries about keeping his job, bringing a dose of reality to the weekend - and Jo is a very relatable character in that she loves her life but sometimes just needs a break from the kids and being a housewife. She doesn't complain, but she gets her point across - just because it seems perfect rarely means it is.

It's clear from the moment we meet Gil that he still has deep feelings for Maggie (who hides from them at every turn). He's patient, and kind, and almost annoyingly perfect in his understanding of Maggie. He really would be annoying...but Prescott gives the distinct impression that Gil wouldn't be this way for anyone but Maggie, because he knows her. This is a definite case of a man who knows what he wants, knows what she wants, and isn't afraid to let nature take its course (with a few pushes from friends, and the help of Nutella s'mores). 

I'm not going to give anything else away, but let's just say that Maggie must determine if she is content to stay as she is (in her bubble, on her island), or if there might be more to life than what she thought. Her journey is a fascinating one that gives us that hopeful feeling that happiness can be attained in more ways than one, and love is not just for the younger, 20-30 year-old crowd.

So, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and I highly suggest you read it. It's not an in-your-face romance novel, nor is it a piece of literature that will demand super-deep thought processes. It's a wonderful blend of romance, hope, friendship and great writing that will draw you in and hold you tight until the last word on the page.

From the back cover: 
Food writer Maggie Marrion is just getting back on her feet after  a horrible year, or two, or three. With their twentieth reunion approaching, she invites four of her closest friends from college for a weekend at her beach cabin on Whidbey Island. What she doesn't expect is her best friends, artist Quinn Dayton and part-time erotica novelist, Selah Elmore, to play matchmaker. The two plot a surprise that will make the weekend, and her life, a lot more interesting.
Gil Morrow, former grunge musician turned history professor, joins them as Selah's date for the weekend. After coming face to face with the one who got away, he decides he's waited long enough to get the girl. With the support of old friends, a few wishing rocks, the world's largest burrowing clam, and a hot lumberjack thrown into the mix, Gil reminds Maggie that forty-something isn't too old for second chances. 

Comments welcome - let's discuss Geoducks are for Lovers! Post below :)

1 comment:

  1. Lovely review - very thoughtful and makes me want to read it.