“Caroline Stark’s beach house was supposed to be her crowning achievement: a lavish, expensive space to showcase what she thought was her perfect family. But after a very public fight with her husband, she realizes things may not be as perfect as they seem: her husband is lying to her, the money is disappearing, and there’s a stranger on the beach outside her house.
As Caroline’s marriage and her carefully constructed lifestyle begin to collapse around her, she turns to Aidan, the stranger, for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aidan’s infatuation with Caroline, her family, and her house becomes more and more destructive. But who is manipulating whom in this deadly game of obsession and control? Who will take the blame when someone ends up dead…and what is Caroline hiding?” Amazon
This is the first book I have read written by Michele Campbell and I wasn’t sure what sort of ride I was in for. I am a part of a podcast with my friend and co-creator Kim called, Books Don’t Review Themselves. Together we sit down and decide which books we are going to read and review on the podcast, but each of us also read what we want in addition to the scheduled books. Kim, was personally reading A Stranger on the Beach and sent me her review upon completion. After reading her review, the concept of the book, while basic, seemed very intriguing. Luckily, I was able to snag a copy on Netgalley and read it for myself.
Like I mentioned above, the storyline is nothing spectacular in the sense it revolves around Caroline, a wealthy wife and mother with a high-class lifestyle including lavish parties surrounded by other high-class wealthy individuals; and then there is Aiden, who is barely getting by and has a less than ideal past that very much affects his future. The story comes to life when their paths cross.
Caroline is remodeling their beach house and planning a lavish party to show off her efforts and also celebrate her husband, Jason, birthday when she sees Aiden standing out on the beach staring at her beach house. At the party, Caroline soon finds out that Jason has been lying to her and Aiden just so happens to be one of the bartenders at the shindig. As Caroline’s marriage starts to unravel, who better to comfort her than…you guessed it… Aiden.
Now up until that point, everything seems pretty vanilla, but that is when the author takes a basic vanilla plot and turns it into ice cream sundae with all the fixings!
What turned this story into a thrilling ride was how she wrote it in two separate views. It was so fascinating to essentially read Caroline’s perception of a scenario and then Aiden’s take on the same thing. You felt like you were in each of their minds but at the same time, you were trying to figure out who was lying. That is what made this basic plot so amazing.
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