The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor is a lovely beach read, “set against the intoxicating backdrop of palm trees, blood orange sunsets, and key lime pies.” The book is about Maeve, her twin brother, Robin and their childhood friend, Daniel.
Maeve is a traveling marine scientist, often called the shark whisperer, who returns to the small island off Florida’s coast where she grow up in her grandmother’s hotel. She was bitten by a shark at the age of twelve and has been obsessed with sharks ever since. She has just began a romance with her colleague Nicholas, who also shares her passion for the ocean and its creatures, but that relationship is threatened when she arrives home and discovers her past love, Daniel is also staying at the hotel.
As children, Maeve, Daniel, and Robin were very close. All three of them had lost parents. “They shared fatherlessness like a glue that connected them.” According to Maeve, her and her brother “had an empty place, but we’d tried to fill it in such different ways. For me, it was with sharks and oceans, with Daniel and the dream of a family. For Robin, it was writing. After Robin’s writing was rejected over and over and he walked away from it, he turned to other ways of filling the void- parties and drinking and a sort of aimlessness.” Robin’s grief never seemed to heal. Making trouble was his way of expressing his grief. When Maeve returns to her home, she discovers Robin has finally written a book, but she is shocked and hurt to discover the book is about her and Daniel.
Daniel and Maeve proclaimed their love to each other when they were just 12 years old. This love progressed into adulthood and when their wedding was abruptly called off Maeve was devastated and heartbroken. “I experienced his loss like an actual death. I went underwater in more ways than one.” He was a wound I carried that wouldn’t heal.” She later tells Daniel, ““There is always a sadness in me. I don’t want it to be there, but it is. It sleeps inside of me, and when it wakes there’s nothing I can do about it. It takes over, and when that happens nothing else exists. You did that. For the last seven years, I’ve hated you for it.”
So we have a love triangle. Will Maeve finally have a second chance at love with Nicholas or can she finally forgive Daniel and have everything she ever wanted. But the book isn’t just a romance, there is also a mystery intertwined. There is an illegal shark finning operation going on and sharks are being killed for their fins. Maeve is very upset by it and involved in trying to find the culprits. ”I’d given my life to sharks and people were killing them faster than they could reproduce.” “The sea, its creatures, its sharks-they were my religion. I could die for that.”
I adored this book. The perfect beach read. Written very well. It hooks you right away.
Interesting side note: the author’s mother is Sue Monk Kidd, who wrote the Secret Life of Bees.
A few more quotes:
“We all have to live with our mistakes.”
“I’d make a fortress of myself and it caved like one of the sand castles that dotted the beach.”
“Whatever makes you feel alive, you ought to pay attention to it. If it makes you happy, it’s worth following.”