Publisher: Doubleday Books
The Descendants meets Single White Female in this captivating novel about a woman who moves her family to Hawaii, only to find herself wrapped up in a dangerous friendship, from the celebrated author of We Could Be Beautiful.
When Nancy and her family arrive in Kona, Hawaii, they are desperate for a fresh start. Nancy’s husband has cheated on her; they sleep in separate bedrooms and their twin sons have been acting out, setting off illegal fireworks. But Hawaii is paradise: they plant an orange tree in the yard; they share a bed once again and Nancy resolves to make a happy life for herself. She starts taking a yoga class and there she meets Ana, the charismatic teacher. Ana has short, black hair, a warm smile, and a hard-won wisdom that resonates deeply within Nancy. They are soon spending all their time together, sharing dinners, relaxing in Ana’s hot tub, driving around Kona in the cute little car Ana helps Nancy buy. As Nancy grows closer and closer to Ana skipping family dinners and leaving the twins to their own devices she feels a happiness and understanding unlike anything she’s ever experienced, and she knows that she will do anything Ana asks of her.
A mesmerizing story of friendship and manipulation set against the idyllic tropical world of the Big Island, The Goddesses is a stunning psychological novel by one of our most exciting young writers.
I’m pretty conflicted trying to decide exactly how I feel about this one, there were many things that I really liked and then there were also many things that bothered me. Middle of the road reviews are my least favorite kind, I have the hardest time writing them, but I think I’ll stick to the format that’s worked best for me in the past. I’ll share what I liked, then what didn’t work for me with the hope that I’ll give you guys enough information to decide for yourselves if you want to try this one or not.
The premise of this is great, I loved the mention of Single White Female and there is definitely a SWF vibe here. Huntley is a really strong writer and I loved her prose, there was something really delicate and pretty about it that was uniquely her own. It’s set in Kona and she also did a fantastic job of bringing the setting to life, it felt like a secondary character and the imagery was great. There are several scenes where Nancy and Ana are in Ana’s jacuzzi that overlooks the ocean and I could imagine these scenes easily.
The basic bones of the plot were solid and I was really curious to see where things were headed but unfortunately in the end, everything fell flat for me. I feel like it could’ve been executed better, again everything was set up for something SO great but then I was really underwhelmed by the conclusion. I knew Nancy was on a downward spiral the whole book, that’s part of what made this a compulsive read, but then it sort of just…ends with no resolution and it was anticlimactic at best.
Classifying this as a suspense/thriller is a mistake, I think readers expecting a story filled with tension and twists will be disappointed, any twists were predictable, especially if you’re a reader of the genre. If you are looking for a book that focuses more on characterization and female relationships with a side of intrigue, this could work for you. Or, if you don’t read many thrillers but want to dip your toe into the water, this would be a good place to start. Bottom line? A well written book with strong writing and interesting characters but was lacking in terms of the overall plot and sense of closure.
Overall rating: 3/5
Thanks to Booksparks for my review copy.