Friday, March 28, 2008

Maybe life really is a beach

Because I've been in a beachy mood, I recently took Fly to the beach.



Typically, people go to the beach to relax. Like the retiree who was sleeping in her beach chair when Fly threw a handful of sand on her and woke her up.

Ohyeshedid.

But when you take a toddler to the beach, it's not very relaxing. The waves weren't a concern -- Fly wasn't too interested in them. Fly eating sand? I'm already over that. It was the constant getting-off-the-beach-towel and running to the under-repair pier (lifeguard: "Hey lady, watch your kid!" as I'm already standing up to go after him), navigating the jellyfish obstacle course on the shore and preventing other beachgoers' beverages from being slurped that made our beach outing exhausting. And keeping Fly away from the mean lifeguard's stand, which Fly was drawn to like a grain of sand to SPF lipgloss.

No, to get any relaxation out of the beach, it's going to be virtual. During our recent stay at a beach house, I started reading Truffles by the Sea, blog-friend Julie Carobini's follow-up to Chocolate Beach. But -- come to think of it -- Truffles wasn't exactly relaxing, either. (But the reading was. I just hardly ever pick up a novel and start reading anymore, sigh....) Chocolate Beach was about Bri Stone, but Truffles tells the tale of her best friend, Gaby Flores, after she loses everything in her apartment to a fire and the contents of her flower shop have been stolen. What else could go wrong? Her car won't start. She gets sued. It's trouble piled up on trouble for poor Gaby.

Fortunately, Gaby's friends and neighbors help her survive and put her business back together. Bri lends Gaby clothing (and a sympathetic ear), and friend Livi helps out in Gaby's flower shop. Gaby's new landlord Jake -- a hunky restaurateur -- leaves her meals even though he's out of town opening restaurants, while Max -- a friend of Bri's husband -- takes Gaby out for romantic dinners and repairs her car for free. New neighbors provide more than enough gossip. But still, Gaby is just scraping by and wonders how she is going to support herself. Going back to her mama isn't an option because she knows her mama would stick it out and make it work, and Gaby should do the same. "Flower girls don't quit," her mama once told her, and those are words Gaby lives by.

Gaby keeps telling herself this is her chance to start fresh. But she still has to take care of herself -- including guarding her heart. She feels herself falling for Max, but her heart races whenever Jake is around. In her early 30s, Gaby dreams about finally having what her friend Bri has: a loving husband and a family.

When Gaby finally gets away by herself for an afternoon to slow down, pray and savor some truffles, she knows the direction she needs to take with her life -- but her heart doesn't catch up until the very (satisfying) end of the novel, on the beach.

Truffles by the Sea is a great continuation of the story of the friendship between Bri and Gaby -- and the restorative powers of the combination of chocolate and the ocean!

If only chocolate didn't melt, maybe that's what would have made my day on the beach with Fly a little more relaxing....

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11 Comments:

Blogger Bloggy Mama said...

"which Fly was drawn to like a grain of sand to SPF lipgloss" Love the use of similie here!!!

11:51 PM  
Blogger groovyoldlady said...

I liked that simile too, especially since I frequently experience it! Well, not really frequently, since the water on the Maine coast is FREEZING even in July. However, we have found a bay where the temp is reasonable and go there as often as we can in the summer. It's one of the few places in Maine with actual SAND instead of rocks and it's fairly secluded and uncrowded and warm and inviting and...dang! There's still a stinking 2 feet of snow on the ground!

Your review intrigued me. I may have to check those books out!

10:59 AM  
Blogger Guinevere Meadow said...

I am not brave enough to try and take Lance to the beach all by myself. I admire you!

12:15 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

boy, I can just imagine taking a toddler to the beach! as much as I'd like to visit a beach, it won't be with small children when I do!

But he looks like he's having a blast!

5:44 PM  
Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

beach + kid(s) = parent exhaustion.

But at least your house is clean (until they track in all that sand).

10:45 PM  
Anonymous jenn said...

Sounds like an exhausting experience! It will be a while before Baby K makes it to the beach but I'm sure she'll enjoy my parent's sandbox this year.

7:11 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

I wouldn't know whether or not the beach is relaxing (or not) with kids. We went to Mexico last year and the only thing the kids had any interest in was the pool. Sigh....

7:15 AM  
Blogger oh amanda said...

I loved Chocolate Beach and need to pick this one up, too!

8:17 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

I would love to take Isabella to the beach right now, although I can imagine I would have just as difficult a time as you did wrangling her. Both books sound really good. I'm going to add them to my (neverending) list.

1:58 PM  
Blogger amanda said...

ahhh - i dream of living close to a beach :)

by the way - i tagged you over on my blog! do you wanna play??

5:30 PM  
Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

We've had two beach experiences with our kids. Not relaxing, we didn't expect it to be. We just planned it to be our exercise for the day.

5:23 PM  

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