St. Martin’s Press|June 19, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-312-64304-1
Anita Hughes’ Monarch Beach is an absorbing debut novel about one woman’s journey back to happiness after an affair splinters her perfect marriage and life – what it means to be loved, betrayed and to love again.
When Amanda Blick, a young mother and kind-hearted San Francisco heiress, finds her gorgeous French chef husband wrapped around his sous-chef, she knows she must flee her life in order to rebuilt it. The opportunity falls into her lap when her (very lovable) mother suggests Amanda and her young son, Max spend the summer with her at the St. Regis Resort in Laguna Beach. With the waves right outside her windows and nothing more to worry about than finding the next relaxing thing to do, Amanda should be having the time of her life and escaping the drama. But instead, she finds herself faced with a kind, older divorcee who showers her with attention…and she discovers that the road to healing is never simple. This is the sometimes funny, sometimes bitter, but always moving story about the mistakes and discoveries a woman makes when her perfect world is turn upside down.
Amanda Blick finished yoga class and headed to her husband, Andre’s restaurant to get a strawberry muffin. What she found wasn’t a muffin but instead Andre making love to his new sous chef, Ursula! This was a Tuesday that Amanda would never forget. She hopped into her car, drove to the post office and parked, then walked to the lake. She was still in her yoga clothes so didn’t look out of place.
Sitting on the bench, Amanda just sobbed. She and Andre had been married for ten years and had an eight-year-old son, Max. Now Amanda understood what Andre was really doing on Tuesdays when he told her he was going to the restaurant to “do the books” and she felt so let down. She thought back to just a few nights ago when she was happily ensconced on his arm as they headed into the restaurant for their date night. She couldn’t even blame, Ursula for this, the blame belonged to Andre.
Amanda had met Andre in July just after she graduated from Berkley and they were engaged by the end of the summer. She couldn’t believe she was going to marry a sexy Frenchman who’d only been in American for ten months. Amanda was twenty-two-years-old and Andre was twenty-four.
Stephanie was one of Amanda’s best friends and partner with Andre in their own French restaurant, La Petite Maison. She headed over to Stephanie’s house for a chat. Talking with Stephanie, Amanda hoped to gain some insight into what was going on with Andre. Amanda didn’t expect Stephanie to confess to her that, Ursula was NOT the first woman he had been unfaithful with over the past eight years. After a few shots of tequila, a borrowed dress, shoes, and her make-up and hair done, Stephanie shoved Amanda out her front door to go home and confront Andre.
After the confrontation with Andre and his apologies and promises to Amanda that he’d never do it again, she left and went to see her mother. Mom called the family lawyer to arrange a meeting so Amanda could begin divorce proceedings. However, Andre was adamant that they were not going to divorce.
Amanda’s Mom, Grace talked Amanda into spending the summer at Laguna Beach in California. They would stay the St. Regis Resort in the Presidential Suite! Grace was rich beyond rich and could afford a 5-star hotel for the summer. When Amanda told Max where they were going to spend their summer and that he could swim, learn how to surf and then surf every day, he was ecstatic.
The St. Regis was simply gorgeous and Amanda began to think this was perhaps the best way for her to get over and forget Andre. There was so much to do at St. Regis that you could literally keep yourself busy and entertained twenty-four-hours-a-day and still not run out of things to do. But even having money and living in a 5-star hotel can’t always buy you happiness.
When Amanda meets Edward, an older man who has been divorced for five years, she thinks she’s finally found someone she can rely on and trust but sometimes we don’t always know people the way we think we do.
Monarch Beach was a fast-paced, racy, roller-coaster ride of a read. It’s a book about love, divorce, hope, loss, and finding ones way back to some sort of normal that you can live with. I was so glued that I read it in one sitting. I can’t wait to read ‘Market Street.’