Book Review: Family Reunion by Nancy Thayer


Family Reunion by Nancy Thayer

Ballantine Books (May 4, 2021)

Women’s Fiction/Multigeneration


A longtime Nantucket resident is trying to make the best of a lonely summer. Her spirited granddaughter is learning what she wants out of life. Unforgettable surprises await them both in this magical, multigenerational novel from New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer.

“Readers come to Nancy Thayer novels for the idyllic Nantucket beaches and lifestyle, but they stay for the characters.”—New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe

Eleanor Sunderland loves living on Nantucket, in a gorgeous cliffside home that has been in her family for decades. Yet this year she can’t help but feel a bit isolated, even as the island begins to come alive with summer tourists and travelers. Her best friend has skipped town on a last-minute cruise, leaving Eleanor feeling lonely and nostalgic about her family’s weekend trips to the island, made less frequently in the years since her husband’s passing. Now, her money-driven children contact her mostly to complain and to beg her to sell her beloved home for a steep payout. Hoping to kick the season off on a good note, Eleanor decides her seventieth birthday may be the perfect occasion for a much-needed reunion.

Fresh off the heels of her college graduation, Eleanor’s dear granddaughter, Ari, has just ended an engagement that felt less like true love and more like a chore. She longs for a change of scenery and to venture far from her parents’ snobbish expectations. Taking advantage of her newfound freedom, she heads to Nantucket to clear her head before graduate school, moving in with her grandmother and taking a job at the local beach camp. As she watches Eleanor begin to form a bond with an old acquaintance, Ari herself becomes completely smitten with a friend’s charming older brother. But just as grandmother and granddaughter fall into a carefree routine, a few shocking discoveries throw them off course, and their ideas of the future seem suddenly uncertain.

Eleanor and Ari make exciting connections, old and new, over the course of an unpredictable, life-changing few months, and learn to lean on each other through every new challenge they face in life and love, in this tale filled with Nancy Thayer’s signature Nantucket magic.


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My first time reading this author and I really enjoyed her descriptive writing. This is a summer of chaos and drama involving a disconnected family. I really liked the relationship between Eleanor and her granddaughter. Loved that the granddaughter wanted to spend her summer with her grandmother and they each let the other have their own space and time while also doing things together. The ending is perfect and befits the title. This is a character driven novel, which I like. I also like when I love some characters and dislike others and that fits these characters perfectly. I would love to spend a summer with Eleanor but I would not get along with her daughter at all. A perfect summer read and I will be picking up some more books by this author.

Reviewed by Comfy Chair Books/Lisa Reigel (April 29, 2021)

ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley

I also bought a copy via the Brenda Novak Book Club Box Subscription



Nancy Thayer is the author of thirty-one novels, including Summer HouseThe Hot Flash ClubBeachcombers, Island GirlsThe Guest Cottage, The Island House, and Secrets in Summer.

Her books concern the mysteries and romance of families and relationships: marriage and friendships, divorce and love, custody and step parenting, family secrets and private self-affirmation, the quest for independence and the normal human hunger for personal connections.

Nancy Thayer’s work has been translated into many languages, including German, Finnish, Hebrew, Russian, Turkish, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Serbo-Croatian, Swedish, Danish, and Polish. Her novels have been condensed or excerpted in several literary reviews and magazines, including Redbook and Good Housekeeping, England’s Cosmopolitan, Holland’s Viva, and South Africa’s Personality.

Nancy Thayer has a B.A. and M.A. in English literature from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. She was a Fellow at the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference in 1981. In 2015, she was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Mainstream Fiction. She has lived on Nantucket Island year-round for thirty-three years with her husband Charley Walters. Her daughter is the novelist Samantha Wilde.

#womensfiction #multigenerationalread #FamilyReunionNovel #NancyThayer @HTPBooks @Bookclubbish #BallantineBooks @NancyThayerBooks


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