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The Family Beach House

2.98  ·  Rating Details ·  649 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
In this poignant, evocative novel, bestselling author Holly Chamberlin sweeps you into the picturesque town of Ogunquit, Maine, where a family in flux explores their ties to a beautiful beach house, and to each other. Some houses have a personality of their own. Larchmere is that kind of place--a splendid, sprawling home with breathtaking views that open to briny Atlantic ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Kensington Publishing Corporation (first published 2010)
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May 10, 2014 Leigh rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book sucked! I could not wait to finish it! None of the characters were likable. I bet there is a lot of the author in her characters. The entire book seems to have been written to promote homosexuality, as they were mentioned randomly throughout. Why mention the sexual orientation of a waiter that did not have anything to do with the story? Why mention the sexual orientation of people the characters pass while walking? Very strange unless someone has a motive. Another issue with this autho ...more
Aug 13, 2015 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I stuck with this book until the end, waiting for something to happen. Nothing did.
Teresa Schiltz
Jun 26, 2014 Teresa Schiltz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book by H. Chamberlin that I bought for the summer. They were both paperbacks from Sams, with a beach theme. I don't care for her writing. It almost seems as if she has some underlying issues that she wants to vent about. Both books talk a lot about homosexual couples, seemingly in a positive light. However, it almost becomes the "underlying" theme of the book. She is married to a guy and has children, so it is almost as if she is threatened by this component of society. Even ...more
May 19, 2015 Pmuckala rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: holly-chamberlin
Years ago, I gave myself permission to not finish a book I had started reading. I constantly thought to quit reading this book, but since I had read another book by this same author, I persevered! It plodded along endlessly! The author must want people to know that she has no problems with alternate lifestyles as almost every chapter she mentioned various characters who were, by the way, gay! That was a total turn off in my eyes! Characters' sexualities are moot points as far as I am concerned. ...more
Jun 22, 2014 Sharyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought I would love reading about a house in the town I so love but didn't really enjoy the authors style! This book needed less literature and more emotion and heart, the latter two it lacked.
As a book centered in a family-owned home in Perkins Cove, one that had been in the home for generations, this novel lacked so much of the history of the town and times in which it took place over. You can tell the author didn't truly research the area, having lived here for only a few short years and sim
May 30, 2016 Molly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful story but I completely understand the complaints from other reviewers about the repetitiveness of certain parts. I get that Tilda is sorting through her grief but after the first rant I just started skimming over her deep thoughts. Loved the story line and Craig was my favorite by far but it could have been much smoother without the grief rants.
Aug 30, 2015 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. My favorite character was Percy, the cat. This story is about a totally dysfunctional family.
Jul 26, 2016 Patty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crap
Well, nothing ever happened. Ever.
Courtney Wallace
May 06, 2017 Courtney Wallace rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've tried to make myself finish this book, but I just can't. The Tilda character goes on and on about her same issue. Over and over. Nothing much is really happening except that Tilda is constantly contemplating her life.

Like other readers, I'm a little confused about the author bringing up random gay people who have nothing to do with the story.

As far as religion goes, everyone has their own beliefs and that's great. But some of the comments seem kind of...rude, I guess? For example: "Yes, he
Sandra Slack
May 15, 2017 Sandra Slack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting family dynamics, beautiful beach house, wonderful (or not) memories.
The siblings in this book could be your own, and the trials and tribulations probably have been or will be at some time.

This book came to me from Free Book Friday.
Feb 15, 2017 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is typical Holly which I love ! It doesn't disappoint .I don't want to give up the story .You will like it .Promise .
May 31, 2015 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Closer to 4.5. After reading some reviews here, I almost decided not to read the book. I'm glad I gave it a chance. It takes about 10-15 to get the cadence of the author's writing, but once you find it, it becomes easier to read. I found the story and characters compelling. The omniscient narrator is usually not a tool I care for when it deals with so many different characters, but it worked for me in this novel. The insights into what these characters are really thinking were surprisingly so wo ...more
Jul 18, 2016 Eva rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spend some time this summer with the McQueen family at their beach house in Ogunquit, Maine. In Chamberlin's novel, you'll watch relationships ebb and flow like the tide as the family comes together to memorialize the passing of Charlotte McQueen 10 years ago. Family dynamics are strained and siblings behave curiously toward one another. At times I felt like a stalker watching through a gap in the fence as Craig drifted aimlessly, Tilda wallowed in self-pity over her widow status, Hannah and Sus ...more
Sep 06, 2011 Linda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well. Since we have a family beach house, I read this type of book for fun every summer. This book is not so fun. My main issue is with the quality of the writing; one can write a fun summer book without such mediocre prose. Within the first hundred pages we are told at least five times that the protagonist is 47 years old. Yes, I got that the first time you told me, do not need to be told over and over. For the first 150 pages the protagonist goes on and on about her dead husband, how great he ...more
Sep 21, 2010 Brenda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if any of you have read any of Holly Chamerlin's other books. She's written a few. This was my first of hers.
I was drawn in by the cover and the title.
I am very conflicted by this book. From the beginning the gay adgenda was in your face. This is a book about 4 siblings coming back to the family beach house for their mom's 10th anniversary memorial service.
They are together for 2 weeks. It is interesting how they resolve their own issues of middle age while back at the house. What w
Aug 09, 2015 Casey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was hoping to dive into a nice light contemporary read. I love and adore Maine so that had me even more excited. I was quickly disappointed. I did not like the strange change in perspectives or the immense cast of characters. I would often have to go back to figure who was who and what the relationship was to the central family. I found the character of Adam to be completely unrealistic and set up just to be hated. Tilda was frustrating to read from. I liked Hannah just felt like she was a wea ...more
Dec 12, 2010 Hmo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There were entire monologues in this book that I just skipped: irrelevant to the tale and irritating. The characters need major development - the reader never understands WHY they do what they do - and the dead mother is flogged mercilessly as a cold-hearted wench with no defense from anyone. The ending was a bit tidy with no view to what the future held for any of the characters - a short epilogue seemed to have been added because one of the initial readers recommended it - but it's half-hearte ...more
Jane Sibley
Apr 08, 2016 Jane Sibley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I managed to give this book one star as the overall theme and family storyline was not bad. I'm so sorry to have to give an author such a bad review as it is not easy to write books. But unfortunately my tolerance for describing random people passing by, visitors to the beach and waiters as all gay is incredibly tedious and Insulting. I do not need to know where everyone went including the cat whenever they left the room. I also do not want to go through a full description of what a character wa ...more
Jul 18, 2012 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to write this book, it has 3 things I love:
*old family house passed through generations
*the beach

But I found this story slow-moving. Also, the author quotes way tooo many authors, philosphers, etc. It's almost as if she's trying to prove how well-read she is by having her characters quote so many written works. The characters also do way too much philosophizing, having whole conversations on various philosohipes of life - who does that? It came off as very flat and boring,
Aug 04, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was too boring for me. Family gets together at their lakeside house, Larchmere. All the siblings and father together to commemorate Mom's 10th year of death. Father has met a new women. Kids are uncomfortable with this. One sister is dealing with her husbands death; other is a married in a lesbian relationship; the other is just out of school; one brother is controlling and has anger issues-is divorced with a new 'thing' accompanying him on the trip with his two kids from a previous ma ...more
Cindy Feigert
Jul 02, 2015 Cindy Feigert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-reads
This was a good read about a family dealing with sibling love and sibling disagreements. As I was reading this I thought that this would make a great TV family drama. The main character Tilda was dealing with her husband's death and through the book she learned a lot about handling grief.This I found to be true; "Age and maturity didn't entirely erase the need for comfort, the surety of maternal love, and it didn't necessarily strengthen you against the brutal fact of being widowed." But Tilda 4 ...more

The title "The Family Beach House" says it all. The McQueens and their extended families journey to their summer home in Ogunquit, Maine to be together on the 10th anniversary of their mother's death. Each of the siblings have their own memories of their mother - some good, some not. Add to this the announcement of their father's new fiance and tensions increase. Follow the family as they resolve personal as well as family issues and learn what becomes of the "the family beach house".
Jul 20, 2013 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was hoping this would be a fun, beach book. Instead it was about a family with dynamic characters that got annoying fast. The main character is a widow, still mourning her husband. There is a nasty older brother who is verbally abusive, a gay older sister who cannot seem to commit to parenthood, and a wanderlust brother. The father is in a relationship that his kids feel threatened by. The story follows the family over a few weeks.
Jill Madsen
This was an easy summer read... although parts of it were repetitive. I didn't want to hear one more time how much Tilda missed her husband; while loss is terribly hard I felt like I would be more like her mother (if she had been alive) and shaking her to move on! Adam was just a jerk and I wanted to hit him over the head anytime he was a part of the plot. Interesting family dynamics when siblings and family come together.
mmk4 Koenen
Sep 09, 2010 mmk4 Koenen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice summer read, a bit of moral message throughout. There were a couple of good quotes that I enjoyed: "Home is the place where when you have to go there, they hgave to take you in"(Robert Frost) and "And who of you being worried have added a single hour to your life?"(New Testament). There was one that seemed very important to the main character but just left me flat and wondering what it meant: "And shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well"...Whatever!
Jul 13, 2014 Kristi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very repetitive and not in a good way. I was drawn in by the title and book cover but within the first few pages I was getting bored of the story already because the same things were being repeated over and over again. The main female character was whiny and weak yet she seemed to be the main focus of the story as opposed to "the family beach house." It is highly unlikely that I will read another book by this author.
Aug 04, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A family comes together on the tenth anniversary to honor their beloved mother’s memory but as the celebration commences the truth about the family dynamic is spilled. Breaking bread and sharing spirits, the harsh reality of the mother’s favoring and long-lasting consequences handicapped her children from being able to fully live their lives. Only by putting to past to rest can they set aside the hurtful feelings and allow they to move on from the past and face the future.
Feb 05, 2014 Pdamon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a nice beach read. The rather large cast of characters had more going on than one normally gets in beach paperbacks. At times, it read a little like a Fodor's or a Vogue, with it's descriptions of Maine or the outfits worn. But that was okay. I'm from Maine. I have coffee at Breaking New Grounds, too. And clams at Mike's. And I'm a knitter; I get clothes.

The overall feel of the book was soothing, like a good walk on the beach thinking through life's puzzles.
Nov 12, 2016 Ellen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you got rid of the travel tips of places to see and eat in the Ogunquit area, and you got rid of the in depth descriptions of wardrobe, and you took away the repetitiveness of Tilda's thoughts (though, I am going through a major loss of a loved one right now and my thoughts do go round and round) it would have been a pretty good short story about loss and change and family dynamics.
Dale Harcombe
Jul 05, 2012 Dale Harcombe rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Actually I gave up part way through. I found the writing style, which persistently used weak verbs. Eg 'was feeling impatient,' instead of 'felt impatient,' 'were racing' instead of 'raced,' annoying. Those two were just in half a page and there were others on that page and nearly every page. Also I found the characters introspective and unengaging.
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Holly Chamberlin is a native New Yorker, but she now lives in Portland, Maine - the aftermath of stumbling across Mr. Right at the one moment she wasn't watching the terrain. She's been writing and editing - poetry, children's fantasies, a romance novel or two, among many other genres and projects - her entire life. She has two cats, Betty and Cyrus, and when she's not writing her hobbies include ...more
More about Holly Chamberlin...

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“Memories were your most intimate legacy. But if those memories were compromised in some way, would your continued existence be compromised, too?” 1 likes
“Voltaire—you know him? He said that a man should cultivate his own garden. Guess I’m with him on that.” 0 likes
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