The Weekenders Review
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Each summer, many of us eagerly plan relaxing warm-weather getaways—whether it’s a family vacation or weekends at the beach house. But in The Weekenders by author Mary Kay Andrews, one family’s relaxing summer by the beach quickly turns into a difficult season of heartbreak, loss, and gradual recovery.

The story opens as Riley Griggs is bracing herself for a challenging summer. As she prepares to board the ferry to Belle Isle, North Carolina, where she’ll spend the summer with her 12-year-old daughter, Maggy, she does so knowing that she and her husband, Wendell, are about to break their daughter’s heart by announcing their plans to divorce. But then Wendell doesn’t show up for the ferry—and when they arrive at their home, the locks have been changed, and there’s a foreclosure notice on the door. And when Wendell’s body is discovered near the marina the next morning, he leaves Riley unexpectedly penniless and unsure of her future.

It may have its moments of romance and humor, but The Weekenders is a haunting story—the story of a woman whose life spirals completely out of her control. As Riley packs her bags, she’s planning the details of another summer at her island getaway, where she and Maggy will take the time to transition into their new lives. Then she discovers that someone she once loved and trusted has taken everything from her. The husband, the house, the trust fund—it’s all gone. She feels helpless and frustrated and—most of all—foolish. And she’s stuck living with a mother and preteen daughter who are anything but supportive.

What follows, then, is the story of Riley’s recovery. Throughout the summer, she attempts to rebuild. She struggles to keep her diabetic daughter safe and healthy. She tries to unravel the mysteries that her husband left behind. And she finds herself reconnecting with an old flame. It’s a lengthy novel, so it covers a lot of ground—though, admittedly, not as much as you might expect. And it doesn’t always do so in the smoothest of ways. Instead, the storytelling often feels choppy and uneven. Plotlines come and go for several chapters at a time. Relationships change instantly rather than taking their time to adjust and transform. And the conclusion is surprisingly abrupt. It’s an interesting story of one woman’s journey through loss and healing—albeit an unbalanced one.

If you’re looking for a leisurely family drama to read during your own beachside getaway, The Weekenders offers an enjoyable mix of drama and romance, sprinkled with the right touches of humor. But be warned that the uneven storytelling might sometimes catch you off guard.

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