Wednesday, June 7, 2017

ARC Review: The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor

The Shark ClubTitle: The Shark Club
Author: Ann Kidd Taylor
Publisher/Publication Date: Viking; June 6, 2017
Genre: Fiction; Mystery
Source/Format: First to Read; eARC

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

A novel about love, loss, and sharks by the New York Times bestselling coauthor of the memoir Traveling with Pomegranates...

On a summer day on the Gulf of Mexico in 1988, two extraordinary things happen to twelve-year-old Maeve Donnelly. First, she is kissed by Daniel, the boy of her dreams. Then, she is attacked by a blacktip shark. Eighteen years later, Maeve is a world-traveling marine biologist studying and swimming with the very animals that once threatened her life. Known among her peers as the “shark whisperer,” Maeve is fearless in the water. On land, however, Maeve is dogged by unresolved wounds and indecisive about the path her life will take. After a particularly inspiring assignment abroad, Maeve returns to the small island off Florida’s coast where she grew up and to her childhood home—the legendarily charming and eccentric Hotel of the Muses, where she was raised by her grandmother. There, she is greeted by troubling news.

An illegal shark-finning operation has moved into town, and hundreds of sharks are dying. As Maeve fights to protect the fate of the animals so dear to her heart, she finds that her twin brother may be about to make it big as a novelist, using her love life as his jumping-off point. Will she confront her feelings about her brother’s betrayal—and forgive her childhood sweetheart, Daniel, the missteps of their youth? Or will she dive headlong back into her work and open her heart to Nicholas, her colleague who shares her passion for the ocean? Set against the intoxicating backdrop of palm trees, blood orange sunsets, calypso bands, and key lime pies, The Shark Club is a love story, an environmental mystery, and an exploration of a woman’s mysterious kinship with the sea and the sharks that inhabit it...

My Thoughts:

I went into The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor with little to no expectations. This is the first novel I’ve read by this author, so I wanted to keep an open mind about the story. And, you know what? The Shark Club wasn’t half bad. There were a lot of things I particularly liked about this story. The Shark Club is a character driven novel. A lot of time was devoted to developing the characters and their relationships. There was even a little bit of a mystery going on.

This book was mainly about the main character, Maeve Donnelly, returning home to her life after a research trip where she got to study sharks up close and personal. The Shark Club focused on Maeve’s relationships—both new and old—between friends, family, and old loves. At some parts, this book felt like a lot of other contemporary novels that I’ve read, but Maeve’s background and occupation is what made the story interesting. I don’t see marine biologists portrayed in fiction very often. I’ve seen it mentioned in passing, but I rarely come across a book that specifically deals with it in the way The Shark Club did. The plotline with the sharks was interesting, and I wish there would have been more of the technical stuff involving Maeve’s job.

The mystery was there. However, just like the marine biology side of the story, the mystery seemed to take a step to the side when considering other aspects of the story. Still, the mystery was pretty good.

Overall, I enjoyed The Shark Club.

Rating 3.5/5

This copy of the book was provided by First to Read (Publisher) for this review, thank you!

About the Author...

Ann Kidd Taylor is the coauthor of Traveling with Pomegranates, a memoir written with her mother, Sue Monk Kidd. Published by Viking in 2009, it appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including the New York Times list, and has been published in several languages. Sue Monk Kidd, is the award-winning and bestselling author of the novels The Secret Life of Bees, The Mermaid Chair, and The Invention of Wings. The Shark Club is Ann’s first novel. She lives in southwest Florida with her husband, son, and two dogs...

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