Author: Hilary Grossman
Number of Pages: 241
My Rating: 4
Summary from GoodReads.com:
Could falling in love allow a cold, stubborn, and selfish women to open her heart back up to her family? Beatrice Buchanan has spent more years than she can remember distancing herself from everyone close to her. She has no relationship with her grandchildren and the only time she speaks to her daughter is during her weekly fifteen-minute commute to the nail salon. When Bea meets Walter on a cruise she realizes there may be more to life than designer clothes and impressing the ladies at her country club.
We live our entire lives thinking we know those closest to us. But do we ever really? On the outside, Annabel O’Conner has it all – the perfect husband, two adorable children, and an amazing job. The only thing missing is her mother’s love. When Bea begs her daughter to help plan her wedding, Annabel reluctantly agrees. Little does she know the impact of her decision or the surprise that is in store for her!
This emotional and honest women’s contemporary fiction novel will tug at your heartstrings and the twist ending will shock you.
I was a fan of Hilary Grossman's previous book, Dangled Carat, so when she approached me to read and review her next one, I didn't hesitate. Plan Bea is the story of Anna, mother of two with an amazing husband, and the relationship she has with her own mother, Beatrice. The book begins with Beatrice calling Anna in the middle of the night to share great news with her- Bea is getting married and she wants Anna to help her plan the wedding. This would be exciting news to most daughters, feeling honored to be able to help their mom plan such a happy day, but all Anna feels is dread.
Everything in Anna's life seems perfect on the outside except her strained relationship with her mother. We know that a tragic event in the past caused this, but we are left with mild clues as we try to piece together what could have possibly happened to cause Bea to only be able to handle talking to Anna once a week at a pre-planned time. Not only has their relationship suffered, but Bea has hardly anything to do with her two grandchildren and can barely look at them when she visits.
All of this seems very hopeless until Bea introduces her new fiancé, Walter. Walter is extremely kind, warm-hearted, and friendly- the complete opposite of Bea- and Anna wonders if he will facilitate a change in her cruel mother. Bea constantly pesters Anna with questions and demands she drop whatever she is doing to help with wedding plans, which she does. It bothered me how she was such a doormat and never spoke her mind but at the same time I can understand how desperate she was to fix things that she often sacrificed her own happiness.
As the pair spend more and more time together, they begin to unravel parts of each other's pasts they had never shared, but will it be enough to mend their broken relationship? As horrible as this sounds, I liked how damaged Anna was as I felt it was a very realistic reaction to things she had been through. One thing that bothered me, though, was how perfect her husband was, even when they got into a huge fight. Don't get me wrong, he was the stability and support Anna needed, but it would've been better if he was a little more realistic.
Overall, this is a hard book to describe. It is definitely chick-lit at its core but has a lot of mystery components, as well. There are a lot of twists that you won't see coming and a ton of character development happens throughout the story. I enjoyed getting to learn more about the complex character of Bea and discover what caused her to be so bitter. I also enjoyed how everything ended up. Another great book by Hilary Grossman!