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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warm and funny - a great debut!, 17 Jun 2009
By 
Michelle Moore (Dartford, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beachcombing (Macmillan New Writing) (Paperback)
Beachcombing introduces us to Jillian Hunter - an independent middle aged woman who has been through divorce, raised two sons by herself, runs her own small business, and has restored a cottage on the beach. During a trip to London, she finds herself face to face with an old flame, and finds herself falling in love all over again.

Jill's life starts to change as she grabs hold of the past, and enters a new romance. Is she willing to give up her life and her friends for Colin, and has the past blinkered her to what's really going on?

At the beginning of the book there is a little jumping around, as Maggie introduces us to Jill, and also her history with Colin, but things soon settle down. Jill's character is just adorable, and the sort of person I'd like to have as a friend - but she's also flawed, especially as she finds herself blinded by love.

In fact, all of Maggie's female characters are well written - some are likeable, others not so much.. but all are people you could imagine bumping into, or finding in your life.

The various settings are also well written. Maggie takes us to London, Cornwall and Connecticut, and the little cottage on the beach sounds absolutely ideallic, from the picnics on the beach, to the heavy snow storms! I could almost pack myself up, and move there myself!

Stepping away from chick-lit, and into the more satisfying world of women's fiction, Beachcombing is a funny, warm story for ladies of all ages. Fans of Linda Gillard should also enjoy Maggie's style, and I look forward to her next offering.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a beach read, 13 Jun 2009
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This review is from: Beachcombing (Macmillan New Writing) (Paperback)
A refreshing, feel-good love story that has everything - a funny and resourceful heroine, a gorgeous, unpredictable hero, a New England beach setting, drama, comedy, even pathos. BEACHCOMBING is a literate beach read that completely avoids blandness and finishes with one of the best last pages I've read in a long time. Oh, and the heroine is in her 50s. Hooray!!!

If you enjoyed Joanne Harris' COASTLINERS or Anne Rivers Siddons' UP ISLAND, you'll love BEACHCOMBING. This is Maggie Dana's first novel and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding novel - a super read couldnt put it down, 24 Aug 2009
By 
Mbwest "margaretbwest" (Norwich England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beachcombing (Macmillan New Writing) (Paperback)
Well - no housework done for several days - what a super novel - one of the best reads I have had for ages. From start to finish there is always something happening. Dont hesitate to buy this novel - you will feel sad when u have finished it. To the Author many thanks for a lovely read. Enjoy this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As intricate as a piece of fine needlework, 26 July 2009
This review is from: Beachcombing (Macmillan New Writing) (Paperback)
Beautifully written prose that tells a story both poignant and very funny. Definitely one to pack for a holiday; even the cover puts you in the mood! Looking forward to reading Maggie Dana's next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Loved This Book!, 2 Jun 2009
By 
Mrs. C. Colbert (Blackburn, Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beachcombing (Macmillan New Writing) (Paperback)
If I could pick my next door neighbour it would be Jillian Hunter. She was the sort of person who could keep a secret and who could also help you unblock your kitchen sink! I shared a rollercoaster of emotions with her, from her falling in love to falling out with her best friends, I really felt at the end of the book as if I knew her, and I wanted so much for her to find her deserved happiness.

I thought Maggie Dana's excellent and witty writing was spot-on and I identified on so many levels with Jill, yet she was so different to me. I could never climb up onto my roof and mend loose shingles! This probably sums up her independent and spirited nature -

"Letting go of my sore foot, I lurch out of my rope nest and feel like screaming. Not because my toe is on fire, but because I've bloody well coped. I've spent a lifetime coping because that's what you do when there's nobody else to pick up the pieces, and when I think about women like Shelby and Diana who fall apart because a guest complained or the bartender quit or, heaven forbid, the florist delivered the wrong flowers, I get seriously mad."

Maggie Dana quotes on her website that a friend challenged her to write a novel about feisty middle aged women, as there weren't enough of them, and I think she's succeeded in doing just that.

I was engrossed in this book from beginning to end - and would happily recommend it to anyone wanting a great read with convincing characters and amusing moments - never boring!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 30 May 2009
By 
Elaine Simpson-long (Colchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beachcombing (Macmillan New Writing) (Paperback)
This book by Maggie Dana has quotes from the authors Elizabeth Buchan ("A sparkling attractive novel) and Katie Fforde on the front cover ("A wonderfully uplifting story about a woman on her way to fulfillment") and what I like about their books, I liked in this one, ie - the story is not about some glam supermodel or impossibly long limbed high flier with a penchant for Prada and Manolo Blahnik, but a middle aged woman who has longings and fears just like us all. I gulped this down in one afternoonon read and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Jilllian Hunter lives in an old tumbledown beach house in Connecticut. She is divorced from Richard "He complained I was cold. Frigid. He's right. I was, but only with him" . She has raised two sons by herself, restored the house and has started a small business all on her own so by any lights she has been a success. But, Jill has fond memories of Colin, ("does that lock of hair still flop cross his forehead? Do his cheeks still dimple when he smiles?") a boy she fell in love with in her teens, and has yearned after ever since and so when she falls into his arms on a visit to an old friend in London (literally, she trips down a flight of stairs), she is ready to embark on a passionate affair with him.

Jill throws caution to the winds and, while it is clear to the reader that perhaps Colin is not the god she thinks he is, she abandons all inhibitions along with her commonsense and hurtles headlong into a relationship with this long lost love of her youth. We can see the inevitable crash and heartbreak coming a mile off, but as I am sure most of us know, love is blind and being older and, in theory, wiser makes no difference at all to heartbreak. By the time Colin dumps her, she has managed to lose old friends, has risked her livelihood and is staggering on the brink of disaster, both personal and professional and she has to Get a Grip and start all over again.

Beachcombing rang some very familiar bells with me during its read and I found myself totally in sympathy with Jill. She is funny, not always wise, but is loyal and lovable with a self deprecating attitude to her own faililngs. The writing is witty and sharp and funny and the narrative is paced beautifully, not too frenetic but zapping along nicely and keeping the reader's attention at all times. You really like the characters, not only Jill but her friend and neighbour Lizzie who though she "has no idea what it's like to run your own business...works in a community college where students turn up on an annual basis, paychecks are deposited directly into her bank account ...computers are fixed, the water cooler is filled and her printer is never ruined by stray cat hairs" is supportive and loving. Apart from friends and family, she also has a cat named Zachary who disappears when Colin is around and comes back when he has gone (cats always know best). It turns out that he has adopted a second home in the next house along the beach where a rather interesting man called Tom happens to live. Such perspicacity....

Ok, well you don't need a degree in rocket science to see what is going to happen and that after all the heartbreak and angst, Jill is going to find happiness and fulfillment. It's a given. It is a good feeling to know that books are being written by authors who know that being over 50 does not mean that your heart doesn't stop beating when you are with somebody you love, that you can dither what you are going to wear on a date (big knickers or little knickers), does my bum look big in this, oh dear look at the saggy tummy, and that falling for someone is not the prerogative of the young and beautiful. I found this book heartwarming, amusing and delightful and loved every page.

"I came so close to losing all this..........my best memories lie within the fabric of these walls.....climbing the stairs I run my hands along the banister, down the spindles, feeling drips of paint I neglected to sand off.....in the distance, waves roar and rumble up the beach.

My beach. My home"

Lovely.
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Beachcombing (Macmillan New Writing)
Beachcombing (Macmillan New Writing) by Maggie Dana (Paperback - 5 Jun 2009)
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