Goodreads ~ When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons Brooke Trappnell to Talisa Island, her 20,000 acre remote barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa but Brooke has never met her. Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter with Brooke, who is an attorney, but Brooke knows that Mrs. Warrick has long been a client of a prestigious Atlanta law firm.
Over a few meetings, the ailing Josephine spins a tale of old friendships, secrets, betrayal and a long-unsolved murder. She tells Brooke she is hiring her for two reasons: to protect her island and legacy from those who would despoil her land, and secondly, to help her make amends with the heirs of the long dead women who were her closest friends, the girls of The High Tide Club - so named because of their youthful skinny dipping escapades - Millie, Ruth and Varina. When Josephine dies with her secrets intact, Brooke is charged with contacting Josephine’s friends’ descendants and bringing them together on Talisa for a reunion of women who’ve actually never met.
Josephine, Milly, Ruth and Varina were best friends and called themselves The High Tide Club (they would go skinny dipping when the moon was full and the tide was high). They were gathered in 1941 at a grand party to celebrate the engagement of Milly to Russell. He was a nasty violent man who disappeared that night, never to be seen again. A couple years later, the friends had a falling out and lost touch.
Fast forward to 2018. Brooke is a single mother and a lawyer, picking up clients that the bigger firms don't want. Josephine is now 99-years-old and dying of cancer. She lives on Talisa, an island that has been in her family for generations. The state wants to take it and make a park out of it but Josephine is fiercely fighting it and she hires Brooke to help her. In addition, she has another job for Brooke. Josephine had lost touch with Milly, Ruth and Varina and she wants Brooke to find them or their descendants. When they gather, Josephine tells the story of their friendships but passes away before she can tell the whole story. It's up to those left behind to piece the rest of the story together.
This is the second book I've read by this author and I liked it. Though I figured most of the things out fairly quickly, it was interesting to see how they were revealed to everyone else. The story bounces back and forth between the early 1940s and today (the chapters are labeled so it's obvious). I liked the writing style. It is written in third person perspective focusing on wherever the action is and first person when the story goes back in time. As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.
I liked the characters, today and in the 1940s. I found the story line of Brooke connecting with her son's father a bit of a distraction, though. It's almost as if a woman can't be complete without having a man in her life and it was a loose end the author wanted to close. It seemed odd that Lizzie was soooooo attached to her cat and the cat seemed to disappear from the story about halfway through, never mentioned again. I don't have children and haven't spent a lot of time around them but it seemed like Brooke's son had the vocabulary and mannerisms of a child much younger.
I look forward to reading other books by this author.