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The Weekenders


The Weekenders

Riley Nolan Griggs has had a tough spring. She and her husband, Wendell, are --- for all intents and purposes --- separated. She has just put her 8,000-square-foot home on the market; it is already under contract, so there is a big move coming up. She is also facing the prospect of job hunting. In her day, she had been a popular, hard-hitting regional journalist, but now worries that she’s been out of the business for too long. Her daughter, Maggy, will be attending a new school in August and officially will become a teenager in October. Adding to the normal highs and lows of adolescent life, Maggy recently has been diagnosed with type 1 juvenile diabetes, so the highs and lows of her blood sugar must be carefully monitored.

"There is no doubt that this will be the hit of summer 2016 as Mary Kay Andrews has outdone herself once again and produced her best novel to date... a wonderful mix of drama, mystery, southern life, rich characters and love --- a page-turner that won’t last a long weekend!"

As THE WEEKENDERS opens, it is the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, and Riley and Maggy are at the ferry dock in Southport, North Carolina, awaiting the Carolina Queen, the passenger-only ferry that will whisk them away to Belle Isle, the exclusive island set out in the Atlantic Ocean where they will spend their summer as Riley has done her entire life. Her family was the original developers of Belle Isle and still own a large amount of undeveloped property, commercial buildings in the village district and more. Her mother --- the uber-typical southern matriarch --- is already there, ensconced in the rambling family home Shutters. Her only brother, Billy, has restored the old firehouse and is there waiting for his husband, Scott, a successful restaurant designer, to join him. Riley’s lifelong best friend, Parrish, also owns a home on Belle Isle and will be taking the ferry to join her husband, Ed, an attorney who thoughtfully took an earlier ferry to get the house opened up. The plan is for Wendell to join Riley and Maggy on the ferry and for the weekend, during which they plan to break the divorce news to their daughter.

But Wendell is nowhere to be found, and is not answering texts or calls. As the Carolina Queen sounds the last boarding call, Riley admits that he is not going to join them, so she, Parrish and Maggy board and get comfortable for the short crossing. Before the ferry arrives at Belle Isle, Riley is served with what she assumes are divorce papers in front of the entire hoi polloi of Belle Isle, all of whom are headed to the island for the holiday weekend and can’t wait to start gossiping about the incident at the traditional Full Moon Party that evening. When Riley and Maggy catch a ride to their Sand Dollar Lane home with Billy, they discover the doors padlocked and a large “Foreclosed” sign on the door. Riley hadn’t been served with divorce papers after all. By the end of the night, she is back in her childhood bedroom at Shutters reeling not just from the day, but from the past several months.

Some things look better in daylight, but with the break of dawn comes news of a body discovered floating in the harbor. It turns out to be none other than Wendell Griggs, and THE WEEKENDERS takes off from there. As the sheriff looks into Wendell’s death, Riley, Parrish and Billy do their own investigating, and every stone turned uncovers worse news for the Nolans: raided trust funds, bad loans, fake corporations and, as Riley suspected, infidelity. As her home is auctioned off and the sheriff, along with the FBI, close in, the family closes ranks and works together to try to turn things around.

Not making life easier is Maggy’s refusal to bring her father even just a few inches off the pedestal she has always put him on, particularly now that he’s gone. In both her eyes and her grandmother Evelyn’s, there is no way that he ever could have done any of the things of which he is now accused. Instead, Riley bears the brunt of their anger, blame and sadness.

And always in the background is Nate Milas, a seriously nice guy who did one stupid thing as a teenager. Nate would love to say all the words that have been unspoken these many years if Riley would just give him the chance. But some of the evidence she uncovers shows that he may have been positioning himself to take advantage of her family’s business troubles. Nate’s style is more a match for Riley, though, as he lives in a small but comfortable restored hunting cabin; is more interested in preserving the natural environment and atmosphere of Belle Isle than Wendell had been lately; and is just a simple, good man who would like one more shot at the 15-year old-girl he fell in love with at first sight all those years ago.

With beach reading season fast approaching, look for THE WEEKENDERS to start popping up poolside and oceanside everywhere. There is no doubt that this will be the hit of summer 2016 as Mary Kay Andrews has outdone herself once again and produced her best novel to date. This is an author who must get ideas in the middle of the night --- and thank goodness she does, for summer would be nothing without a new MKA read. This year, readers should give double thanks for THE WEEKENDERS, a wonderful mix of drama, mystery, southern life, rich characters and love --- a page-turner that won’t last a long weekend!

Reviewed by Jamie Layton on May 20, 2016

The Weekenders
by Mary Kay Andrews

  • Publication Date: May 2, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 1250065968
  • ISBN-13: 9781250065964