Book Review: Life’s a Beach (ARC)

Expected publication: May 6th 2021

Author: Portia MacIntosh

Sun, sea and inescapable exes…

Peach is excited to hear that her sister, Di, is getting married. Of course, she would have preferred her little sister to be engaged to someone she’s known longer than a week – and the fact that his name is Charles doesn’t bode well – but who is she to judge?! After all, her own love life is non-existent, and who doesn’t love a destination wedding…?

Whisked away to the gorgeous Italian coast, Peach assumes her role as chief bridesmaid and, despite her reservations about the groom, she tries to ensure everything goes to plan.

But weddings are never straightforward affairs… throw in some unexpected guests in the form of ex-boyfriends and one night stands, and soon enough there is more drama than a reality tv show.

Can Peach keep the show on the road, or might she end up in a whirlwind romance of her own…?

After reading the joy that was Faking It, I was ecstatic to get the opportunity to read Portia’s latest novel, Life’s a Beach. It was a sheer delight and a perfect example of a romantic comedy. I have found her novels to be an excellent and light-hearted escape read that is perfect when you want to read an entertaining novel with an element of fun.

Penelope “Peach” is a well-established mystery shopper who writes and reviews anything from restaurants to hotels to wedding venues. I absolutely loved this job for a character as it gives them a nice balance between their more homey average home life (they make enough to get by but are not overly rich) and the upper class lifestyle they experience through their job. Although I have done some mystery shopping experiences, they were nothing like Peach’s job where I mainly did department stores. At 31-years-old, Peach has not had the best luck in romance and has resolved that she might be single for the long run.

Her best friend and sister, Diana “Di” is currently on holiday for a destination wedding and Peach is excited for her to come home so they can spend a girls’ night during Peach’s assignment at a hotel near the airport. While waiting for Di to arrive, the plane ends up being delayed and Peach ends up having a meet-cute with Matt, who is also waiting for the same flight. The two of them end up completing Peach’s mystery shopper experience (eating at the restaurant and utilizing the hotel room) together with Matt. Peach ends up being seemingly ghosted by Matt when he is nowhere to be found the next morning. Peach thinks that will be the last she sees of Matt, but, alas fate had other plans.

The story centralizes on the wedding of Peach’s sister Di to her surprise fiancé Charles that she met while at the destination wedding. The two of them fell in love that week and are planning to get married the following week at a destination wedding of their own in Italy. Things become complicated when it is revealed that Charles and Peach knew each other in the past and Matt happens to be Charles’s best friend and best man. The soap-opera moments do not end, though, as there are even more surprise guests that relate in one way or another to Peach and Di, which makes this wedding very complex and humorous.

There are many complications in this story as all the characters weave together with many secrets and deceptions taking place. I love almost all of the characters, except for two as I think some of the things they did in the past needed a lot more explanation and time before they should have been forgiven. (I will not say which, though, as it could spoil part of the story.) Vanessa and Alex provided some levity to some scenes in their own ways and even Lex was enjoyable, although I think she would get on my nerves in reality.

Even though there is a crazy spider web of complications to keep track of in this story, I found it still to be an easy read. Some of the scenarios seem extremely coincidental, but it added to the fun escapism of my reading experience. Some of the characters were more loveable than others, but I enjoyed all of them and felt they each fit well together. It was a true blend of some quirky characters that were a delight to read about in this fun story. Not only does the reader become invested in Peach’s life, but also if Charles is really the one for Di and the wedding should move forward. I do wish that Peach and Di’s parents were included more towards the end as they were a fun presence at the beginning.

Overall, this is an amusing story that does not take itself too seriously. There is a lot of heart and joy throughout the novel that just leave you satisfied once you complete your reading. As there were a lot of characters and secrets involved, some got more attention than others. I do wish that some of those got a little more time to become resolved, but their exclusion did not ruin my reading experience.  Easily, I would read more from this author as I love the joy that she brings to her stories and would recommend others to definitely give this novel a try!

**I want to give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Boldwood Books, for a review copy of this very entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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