reviews

The Endless Beach; Jenny Colgan (DNF)

The Endless Beach: Jenny Colgan
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Published: 2018
Pages: 384

Months after returning to Mure, Flora MacKenzie is taking the first steps into her romance with Joel. Despite some promising passion earlier on, some sometimes wonders if she’s going to get anywhere at all. More difficult still is keeping the seaside cafe alive and being asked to cater to Charlie’s wedding. Can she handle the demands of her own love life and others’ as well?

Out of all the books I never finished, The Endless Beach has to be one of the strangest.

For me, there were a few issues that kept me from following through. Something interesting to note: There is a forward that says readers need not be familiar with The Cafe by the Sea to read this, but I feel like it would be hugely beneficial, or even necessary. The book jumps right in, not allowing new readers a lot of time to get familiar with these characters.

The biggest issue, though, was that Colgan evidently wrote a sort of in-between book between Cafe by the Sea and this one. I believe it was some kind of short story. Anyway, there is a character that readers get to know in that short story called Saif. Saif is a refugee waiting to hear news of his family back home. But he’s barely in Cafe by the Sea. So when the book is marketed to give the impression that this is mostly Flora’s story, it’s really off-putting when half the book is focused on a new character that we never got to know in Cafe by the Sea. This is more of a challenge considering that not many people would have read the in-between novel, as it looks like it was some kind of short story for a special publication. At this point, I’m glad I read the foreword, because otherwise I’d be really confused. And that’s not all.

There’s also the issue of the social worker working with Saif’s case. Apparently some readers complained that this character in the short story was too harsh and was an insult to the profession. However, these people should keep in mind that one bad social worker character doesn’t represent the entire group–though readers should of course think the same. So Colgan went back and rewrote the character to make these naysayers happy. As a result of reading this particular piece of information, it’s kind of obvious that said character is written to please people.

This can probably be attributed to marketing–for some reason, the American marketing team really likes to change Colgan’s books to make them seem like a different story than you’re getting. I am not the only one who doesn’t like this, far from it actually, and don’t understand why they can’t remain the same. It doesn’t mention Saif at all. Where the issue lies is that Saif’s story takes a lot of time from Flora’s. Colgan would do better to publish the short story and have it sold more widely, or perhaps merge the two stories so readers aren’t met with surprise.

Besides that, the whole thing lacked direction. There were thirty plots in the first 60 pages. Was the story about Flora finding more romance with Joel–an interesting continuation, since I didn’t feel like their romance was 100% authentic in the first? Was it about Saif finding his family? How are they and Flora connected then? Or maybe it was Lorna’s story, but I didn’t know where that was going either.

So for now, I’m putting this book down. It’s not necessarily terrible, but I had a tough time getting into it. I may have to go back and read the in-between story first. But please, publishers: work harder to accurately tell me about the story!

3 thoughts on “The Endless Beach; Jenny Colgan (DNF)

  1. I did even worse; I read Christmas on the Island thinking it was the second book, and completely missed The Endless Beach until after! I wasn’t that fond of this entire story arc with Flora, but I did just read the brand new The Bookshop on the Shore, which is the sort-of sequel to The Bookshop on the Corner, and after the initial first 50 pages (which were kind of confusing), it turned into a really good one!

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    1. That’s interesting! Funny enough, I haven’t heard of Christmas on the Island until you mentioned it and only realized Endless Beach existed last week! Bookshop on the Corner was probably my least favorite work by her, but maybe the sequel is better.

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      1. It’s one of my favorites, but that’s probably because I’m a former librarian whose fantasy is to drive a bookmobile or mobile bookstore!

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