Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my review or rating.
Warning. This is not a beach read. This is a story of barely developed characters, subtle racism (overt in some cases) a secret child story-line (I hate those) and a plot that zigs-zags from the past to the present repeatedly. I was left 100 percent disappointed with this read and baffled that Andrews wrote this. I have enjoyed her books over the years and this book feels/reads like a rough first draft to me. I think if maybe the amount of characters had been cut out and or just had Josephine and Brooke as the only "voices" maybe the book would have worked out better. Instead we have a plethora of points of view (POV) in this one and random actions by characters that I didn't believe at all.
"The High Tide Club" deals with almost 100 year old heiress, Josephine Warrick calling up Brooke Trappnell telling her she wants to hire her. Josephine wants to do what she can to leave her estate to friends of her that were part of a so-called "High Tide Club". The state wants to buy all of Josephine's land/home and wants to demo it. Josephine wants Brooke to prevent that by seeking out her friends and wants the opportunity to make amends with them.
Seems simple right? It's not. From the first we have Josephine telling Brooke her story in fits and starts. It doesn't work as a narrative device to have Josephine telling a story and then the book flashing back to the past, and then flashing back to the present, then flashing back to the past again. That happens repeatedly while reading. It took me out of the story every single time. And at one point I started to skim in self defense because I just didn't care anymore and wanted to be finished with this book.
And I did laugh though when Josephine lets Brooke know that one of the people she wanted to contact was Brooke's now dead grandmother. At this point we find out that two of the women from the club are dead and only one, her name is living, her name is Varina, but they had a fight related to Josephine not selling back land she bought from her and other Geechees living on the island.
So then the book segues into Brooke contacting the heirs of the dead women and then coming to the island to hear about what they could possibly be inheriting. Instead there is a death, confusion, and just general bedlam of people scrambling around trying to demand land/money from a woman that any barely seemed to care died. And then we have reveal after reveal hitting you over the head with Josephine looking the worst out of all of the characters with some of the others coming in a close second.
Brooke is an idiot and I was so done with her whole so-called plot. I hate secret children in romance novels. It is not believable at all and just once I would love it if the dude in question called the woman out and said no, I don't want to be with someone that would lie and hide the fact that they had my child for so-called BS reasons.
The other characters were secondary and I didn't care for them much either. Varina's granddaughter or grandniece was shown to be grasping and greedy. Varina herself was portrayed as naive. I hated the fact that the book shows the other so-called members of the club treating her like a doll they could dress up and give expensive things to. But she's African American and could not really be a part of their world at all. In fact most of the African Americans in this book don't look that great at all in the end.
The writing was rough in a lot of places. As I said above, maybe cutting out all of the extra characters and the jumping back and forth in the story would have helped. It was hard to keep things straight. When Josephine dies (not a spoiler, it's in the synopsis) the story loses it's forward momentum.
The setting of the island doesn't feel real at all. I think maybe just telling the story from past to present would have helped it to feel more centered in the book. Instead I didn't get why anyone was killing themselves trying to save the place.
The ending was supposed to be moving and uplifting, I just was glad to be done.
I also read this for the DWS 52 week challenge: This week was read set in your home country.