HEAT WAVE – Nancy Thayer
Ballantine Books (Hardcover)
Nantucket Island, Massachusetts – Present Day
Carley Winsted is on the verge of desolation. Her husband Gus was found dead on his office floor almost a year ago. Only thirty-seven, and he died of a heart attack. Carley is thirty-two, a widow with two children to support, and no money. Unknown to Carley, Gus made several bad investments, draining their savings and even his life insurance policy. At least Carley has a home to call her own. The house is hers free and clear. The guilt that goes with it isn't. Her house is the old family home of her mother-in-law, Annabel. It was deeded to Gus upon his marriage, and in turn, Gus left it to Carley. So now, Carley has done the unthinkable. She’s sold most of Gus’s belongings in a tag sale and started remodeling the house, turning extra space into guest bedrooms so she can open a bed and breakfast inn.
Carley’s B & B turns into a money making avenue for her. Now she can raise twelve-year-old Cisco and five-year-old Margaret, stay at home and be independent, instead of moving into in-laws Russell and Annabel’s house as they requested. When Carley refuses to move, Annabel begins to undermine Carley’s relationship with Cisco; after all, they are Winsteds. Annabel is big on the history of the family; Winsteds founded this island, and Carley should do well not to forget that. Winsteds do not hold tag sales or rent rooms out to strangers. But Carley carries on. Her best friends, Vanessa and Maud, offer support and shoulders to cry on. But when Carley learns that Maud is having a full blown affair with Vanessa’s husband, she’s overcome with guilt. She can’t tell Vanessa; it would ruin Vanessa’s life. Nor can she continue to be friends with Maud. What to do?
Meanwhile, Gus’s law partner and best friend, Wyatt, has been coming around offering Carley advice that comes attached to a strong male shoulder where she can rest her head. Their friendship turns quickly into a passionate and clandestine affair. It’s too soon to publicly date. Carley is wrapped with guilt over Gus’s death and what she thinks her in-laws would say if they knew. And her children are still trying to get over losing their father; how can she bring Wyatt around to replace him?
It’s hot and humid on Nantucket Island in the summer, but no air conditioning is in sight for Carley. Her old house is too old, and she couldn’t withstand the expense. But even so, a HEAT WAVE is happening. Carley has an income, a steady stream of guests to cater to, trials and tribulations raising a teenager, a secret love, and damaging secrets that she must keep. Can she triumph over her grief and guilt?
HEAT WAVE’s plot is predictable throughout much of its pages, but a sudden twist in the final chapters makes this a riveting read for the summer!
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