In brief: After Maeve was bitten by a shark, she turned sharks into her career and passion. Now she’s 30 and back home again. When she runs into her ex-fiancé’s daughter on the beach, it brings up old memories. Old or new? Stay or go?
The good: It’s fun and quirky.
The not-so-good: The ending is a bit…open.
Why I chose it: Thank you to Hachette for the copy.
Publisher: Headline Review (Hachette)
Setting: Mainly Florida, with a touch of the Bahamas
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Sharks are a contentious issue in my local area, with a lot of bad press thanks to attacks and near misses in recent years. Me, I’m not much of a beach swimmer so my main contact with sharks has been as a fisher. They’re just something that swims in circles that you throw back. I’ve never really thought too much about sharks, good or bad. The Shark Club opened my thoughts up to the positive aspects of sharks and where they sit (or swim) in the ocean’s ecosystem. While I don’t think I’ll become a huge shark fan, this light read was both interesting and informative.
The story is told by Maeve, who was once bitten by a shark as a child. It was a scary experience for sure, but it left her twin brother with more mental scars. The experience has driven Maeve to learn more about sharks and it’s now her passion and livelihood. When she’s not on research trips in exotic locales, she’s at home in Florida, teaching and study more about sharks. It’s her life but returning home this trip has got her thinking about her past and present, which then clash spectacularly. Her ex-fiancé Daniel now works at her grandmother’s hotel and he’s brought his impossibly cute daughter Hazel too. Maeve’s brother Robin has also finally finished his novel, but it reads a lot like Maeve and Daniel’s life. Then there’s the return of sort-of, almost, kinda fling Nicholas. What does Maeve want with her life? In the midst of these decisions, there’s a group of people harvesting shark fins illegally and they could be very close to home…
The Shark Club is a good summer or weekend read. It’s not too heavy and entertains you while you absorb some basic shark facts. The plot is easy to follow with just the right number of characters so you won’t forget. The characters are quirky, from Hazel the 6 year old founder of The Shark Club to Maeve’s grandmother Perri, who owns a book themed hotel. But sometimes it just didn’t fit together for me. Jumping from shark research to a potential love triangle to a high octane discovery on the ocean didn’t always transition smoothly. All the aspects were interesting, but I just didn’t know where the plot would turn next. Saying that, the ending was quite interesting to me because it didn’t take the easy option but left things more open to the reader to interpret. Could this mean another book about Maeve? Possibly, or given the quirky community she lives in, it could mean another book set in the same place.
I did like The Shark Club despite these flaws. The characters were drawn well with exceptionally fun quirks (for example, Perri has written a hidden book quote in the Mata Hari room). The plot moved at a steady pace and it was definitely entertaining. It’s clear that Ann Kidd Taylor has a knack for memorable characters and quirky scenes. I’d read another of her books.