When the book opens, Sydney is a 29 year old woman, once divorced and once widowed, who has taken a job as a private tutor for the summer. She finds herself in a seaside cottage, living with a family with it’s own emotional baggage, while Sydney attempts to distance herself from her own.
As a rule, I tend to stay away from novels that deal in self-discovery or an examination of raw emotion. While Shreve definitely touches on these in Body Surfing, it isn’t overdone, and doesn’t take away from Shreve’s talent of presenting a really good story. This is the third Shreve novel I’ve read, and each time, I’m surprised by how much I enjoy it. It’s the kind of book you grab at the beach, and plow through 200 pages before you know it. Fun fact: the author connects this work of fiction with some of her previous novels by using the same setting. The beach house owned by the Edwards family in Body Surfing is the same house owned by the Vision pilot in The Pilot’s Wife.
I chose this as my New Hampshire pick for the 52 Books Around the USA challenge, and it was a perfect choice as Shreve really gives you a sense of place. In fact, reading about the serene landscape of the New Hampshire beach, made me long to be there, especially as we were enduring below zero temperatures in a chilly January in North Dakota.
3 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2007