Tag Archives: beaches

Beach reading par excellence

Review by Phil Jason

No Sunshine When She’s Gone, by Kate Angell. Kensington Books. 288 pages. Paperback $9.95.

You like baseball? You like beaches? You like shapely, hot babes? You like chiseled, sexy guys? You like lavish houseboats and penthouse condos? Yes? Then grab ahold of the third title in Kate Angell’s Barefoot William Series and get ready for waves of tension-filled romance.  NoSunshineWhenShesGone

Jillian Mac and her good friend Carrie have been sent to the Gulf Coast beach town of Barefoot William by their employer, the Richmond Rogues major league baseball team. Both women are in their early thirties, good-looking (though Jill has the edge here), and – of course – single. They are tasked with the community relations effort accompanying the new spring training facility that the team is building in this laid back resort town.

The town seems to be the private domain of one extended family – the Cates family. They own many of the businesses, including a successful construction company run by Aidan Cates. This company has the contract to build the Richmond Rogues complex.

However, the town recently made peace with its more upscale neighbor, Saunders Shores, in conjunction with a marriage that joined the Cates and Saunders families.

In the launching scene of the book, Aidan Cates is coaxed into visiting a fortune teller by a woman named Lila who seems to be chasing after him with some success. There is a gathering of well-known psychics taking place on the Barefoot William boardwalk. Though most of the booths for psychic readings have long lines, one is not busy. Lila and Aiden soon engage with an attractive clairvoyant named Aries Martine, but the shapely psychic exposes Lila as a two-timer who is only a using Aidan.

Or so it seems. Certainly Lila is exposed, but the woman in the chair is Jillian Mac. She had sat down to rest at the empty station and just played along with the false assumption that she was Aries the clairvoyant. It was her idea of fun, but it led to bad feelings and mistrust before the powerful connection felt between Jill and Aidan began to develop.

As Aidan is witness to Jillian’s professional skills at work – including arranging all the details for a promotional, community-building softball game between Rogue alumni and locals – he begins to admire her more and more. However, her attraction to telling little white lies keeps Aidan cautious. In this situation, he is the more conservative one while Jillian seems more spontaneous and flamboyant. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the May 29, 2014 Naples Florida Weekly, the June 4 Fort Myers edition, and the June 5 Bonita Springs and Port Charlotte/ Punta Gorda editions, click here Florida Weekly – Angell 1 and here Florida Weekly – Angell 2

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No one ever steps on the same beach twice

“How to Read a Florida Gulf Coast Beach,” by Tonya Clayton. The University of North Carolina Press.  228 pages. $40 hardcover, $16.00 paperback.

When I came across this title, part of the publisher’s “Southern Gateways Guides” series, it was apparent to me that I had an obligation to review it for this column. By the time I had read the first two chapters, my sense of obligation had turned into astonished pleasure. Tonya Clayton loves her subject and respects her readers. Her prose is clear, sinuous, and delighted. Her transformation of scientific information into an accessible guide for the beach-loving non-specialist is a total success. She has earned the glorious excess of her subtitle: “A Guide to Shadow Dunes, Ghost Forests, and other Telltale Clues from an Ever-Changing Coast.” 

Ms. Clayton begins with an overview of Florida’s Gulf Coast beaches, indicating the hallmarks of the various locations along the long, long stretch of mostly sand-blessed shoreline. Then she introduces us to the key elements that define the character of any beach, beginning with the overall tectonic setting of the coastal area. Sand supply (and the nature of the sand types), the effects of waves and tides, local geological history, climate and weather, and sea level are the defining factors in the very existence and personality of a beach.

I use the word “personality” to capture the author’s style and vision. Not only are the flora and fauna of the beach world alive, but also each beach has, as Tonya Clayton sees it, a living quality: a pulse and individuality. And, like our friends and family members, these beaches are processes more than finished products. They have something like life cycles. The causal factors of change are Ms. Clayton’s primary subject. Those factors, summarized early in the book, get detailed exploration in the later chapters.

Tonya Clayton

Readers will learn how islands are formed and how their shapes change. They will come to understand the language of striation, the comings and goings of dunes, the movement of sands through actions of wave and wind. Inviting us to look closely, Tonya Clayton validates what is probably the most charming assertion in her book: “No one ever steps on the same beach twice.”

Coastline Floridians know well the influence of large-scale natural disruptions to the normal patterns of beach evolution. Without ignoring to teach us about such blows (no pun intended) to the everyday patterns, the author makes sure that we also understand the influence that we can control: the human factor. The residential and commercial development that takes esthetic and economic advantage of attractive beaches is also their nemesis. . . .

To read this review in its entirety, as it appears in the November 28, 2012 issue of the Fort Myers Florida Weekly, the November 29 Naples edition, and the December 13 Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte edition, click here: Florida Weekly – Tonya Clayton 1pdf and here: Florida Weekly – Tonya Clayton 2pdf

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