This book turned out to be quite a positive surprise for me. Good, it takes some chapters until the real magic begins to unfold in The High Tide Club but then the author presents you with a great mix of a crime novel and light summer read that is set on a fantastic island. There Mary Kay Andrews brings together some figures who couldn´t be more different or exciting to watch.

Der Geheime Schwimmclub*
by Mary Kay Andrews
Translation Andrea Fischer
Original Title The High Tide Club**
Publisher Fischer TB on May 27, 2020
Genre Novel
Pages 587
Format Paperback
Source Publisher 

They were young when they founded their secret swimming club on the enchanted island of Talisa: Josephine, Millie, Ruth, and Varina. During the long summer nights, they went swimming at night, sharing their secrets and life desires with each other – until a fateful event separated the women. Now, many years later, Josephine is seriously ill, and she really wants to see her friends again. She hires the young, single mother lawyer Brooke to find them and take them to Talisa and then solve the puzzle from back then. (personal translation by ©Vi at Inkvotary)
Brooke soon finds out that her new client is a very stubborn woman who is used to the fact that everybody jumps the moment she says so. But not with Brooke. She wants to help Josephine yes, but not at all costs. And soon realizes that Talisa is keeping not only one secret but many and that only the girls from back then are able to bring light into the past. A past that unfolds many surprises and a drama like no other.

Good, the story starts with some problems concerning the plot and the reading pace. But that vanished after some pages and the novel turned into a haunting and very interesting crime story where an old lady tries to force her will onto a young woman. The old lady, Josephine, shows all too often a very bad behavior and Brooke´s reaction to that is not always what I had expected to read. During those moments I was positively surprised. Because most of the time in this book the main figure Brooke is a real coward. 

Mary Kay Andrews´s writing style is mostly light, combined with some humor and the story is set in a dreamlike landscape. The novel jumps back and forth between the present and the past around 1940. That way the reader gets involved in the life and society during the war and learns that many things have been quite different compared to today. The author shows how Afro-Americans were treated in Georgia and brings a pretty good example that money and society back then were as important as they are today.

Brooke is a coward. She rather comes up with all kinds of excuses instead of telling the other person how she feels and what has happened in her past or current life. Do not get me wrong. I enjoyed it very much to see her change during the ongoing plot. How she started listening to her instinct and how she literally stepped out of her shadow to solve the problems in her private life. In the beginning, her self-confidence was zero. The moment she meets Josephine she begins to change and is literally upset with the behavior the old woman shows her. The author wonderfully shows her inner conflict, her fears and worries as a single mother, and her honesty as a lawyer. You can see that she wants to make money but that she is not willing to give up her integrity or morals for it. 

According to the cover design, I thought I would read a light and entertaining summer novel. Instead, I read a fantastic crime novel with a bit of wit, humor, and great characters. The mixture of a light novel, criminal elements, and a historical note is balanced and gives the reader an entertaining reading pleasure, whether on the beach or during a summer day in the garden. Highly recommended. 

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by Fischer TB in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review.

Deutsche Rezension

Gut, die Geschichte beginnt mit einigen Problemen bezüglich der Handlung und des Lesetempos. Aber das verschwand nach einigen Seiten und der Roman wurde zu einer packenden und sehr interessanten Kriminalgeschichte, in der eine alte Dame versucht, einer jungen Frau ihren Willen aufzuzwingen. Die alte Dame, Josephine, zeigt allzu oft ein sehr schlechtes Benehmen und Brookes Reaktion darauf ist nicht immer das, was ich erwartet hatte zu lesen. In diesen Momenten war ich positiv überrascht. Weil die Hauptfigur Brooke in diesem Buch die meiste Zeit ein echter Feigling ist. 

Mary Kay Andrews Schreibstil ist meistens leicht, kombiniert mit etwas Humor und erzählt eine Geschichte, die in einer traumhaften Landschaft spielt. Der Roman springt zwischen der Gegenwart und der Vergangenheit um 1940 hin und her. Auf diese Weise wird der Leser während des Krieges in das Leben und die Gesellschaft einbezogen und erfährt, dass viele Dinge im Vergleich zu heute ganz anders waren. Die Autorin zeigt, wie Afroamerikaner in Georgia behandelt wurden, und bringt ein ziemlich gutes Beispiel dafür, dass Geld und Gesellschaft damals genauso wichtig waren wie heute. 

Brooke ist ein Feigling. Sie findet lieber alle möglichen Ausreden, anstatt der anderen Person zu erzählen, wie sie sich fühlt und was in ihrem vergangenen oder gegenwärtigen Leben passiert ist. Versteht mich nicht falsch. Ich habe es sehr genossen zu sehen, wie sie sich während der laufenden Handlung verändert hat. Wie sie anfing, auf ihren Instinkt zu hören und wie sie buchstäblich aus ihrem Schatten trat, um die Probleme in ihrem Privatleben zu lösen. Zu Anfang war ihr Selbstvertrauen gleich null. In dem Moment, in dem sie Josephine trifft, beginnt sie sich zu verändern und ist buchstäblich verärgert über das Verhalten, das die alte Frau ihr gegenüber zeigt. Ihr innerer Konflikt, ihre Ängste und Sorgen als alleinerziehende Mutter und ihre Ehrlichkeit als Anwältin werden von der Autorin auf wunderbare Weise gezeigt. Man kann sehen, dass sie Geld verdienen will, aber nicht bereit ist, ihre Integrität und Moral dafür aufzugeben.

Laut Cover-Design dachte ich, ich werde einen leichten und unterhaltsamen Sommerroman lesen. Stattdessen lese ich einen fantastischen Kriminalroman mit etwas Witz, Humor und großartigen Charakteren. Die Mischung aus leichtem Roman, kriminalen Elementen und historischer Note ist ausgewogen und beschert dem Leser, egal ob am Strand oder während eines sommerlichen Tages im Garten ein unterhaltsames Lesevergnügen. Höchst empfehlenswert.

**This book was published in the English language The High Tide Club by St. Martin´s Press on May 8, 2018 

Mary Kay Andrews
Mary Kay Andrews ©Bill Miles

Mary Kay Andrews grew up in Florida and lives now with her family in Atlanta, Georgia. During the summer you will find her in her holiday residence on Tybee Island, a wonderful island just off the coast of Georgia. She is a former reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and since her bestseller Summer Rental, she is considered a guarantor for the perfect holiday experience.



  1. I love it when you see a cover and think it's one thing but you get something else entirely. Great review!

    1. Thank you! This one was really a great surprise and one that gave me a great reading time.


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