Title: The Shark Club
Author: Ann Kidd Taylor
Publisher: Viking Books
Verdict: Read it!
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
From PRH: One summer day on the beach in Florida, two extraordinary things happen to Maeve Donnelly. First, she is kissed by Daniel, the boy of her dreams. Then, she is bitten by a blacktip shark.
Eighteen years later, Maeve has thrown herself into her work as a world-traveling marine biologist discovering more about the minds of misunderstood sharks. But when Maeve returns home to the legendarily charming and eccentric Hotel of the Muses where she was raised by her grandmother, she finds more than just the blood orange sunsets and key lime pies she’s missed waiting for her.
While Maeve has always been fearless in the water, on land she is indecisive. A chance meeting on the beach with a plucky, irresistible little girl who is just as fascinated by the ocean as Maeve was growing up leaves her at a crossroads: Should she re-kindle her romance with Daniel, the first love she left behind when she dove into her work? Or indulge in a new romance with her colleague, Nicholas, who turns up in her hometown to investigate an illegal shark-finning operation?
My Review: Maeve has two loves in her life: Daniel and sharks. Daniel came into her life after she and twin brother Robin lost their parents in an airplane crash when they were children. Her love for sharks came out of a ‘hit and run’ as Maeve called it. A black tip shark bit her leg and swam off when she was 12. Now she’s a marine biologist and something of a shark whisperer amongst peers.
Maeve and Nicholas are tracking a shiver of lemon sharks off Bimini, which she named Silvia (the special one), Jacques and Captain. They maintain a professional relationship but the electrical charge between them is alive. Their expedition is coming to an end and Nicholas is heading back to England to deal with his crumbling marriage while Maeve heads back to Palermo where she will reunite with Robin and her grandmother, Perri at the Hotel of Muses. She and Nicholas will rejoin each other for another study in Mozambique, and hopefully more, but Maeve needs to know that Nicholas’ marriage is over.
Back in Palermo Maeve is flooded with memories of a jilted ending with Daniel. She broke off their engagement after learning he betrayed her with a fellow culinary student and expecting a baby while she was away on a shark expedition. She’s quickly back in Daniel’s life when she learns he’s the father of the little girl, Hazel Maeve befriends on the beach and Perri hired him to run the kitchen at the hotel. The romance rekindles and everything feels familiar and right. Hazel loves that Maeve studies sharks and together they form The Shark Club, searching for shark teeth on the beach and checking out library books about sharks.
A background story looms surrounding an illegal shark finning operation and Maeve wants to get to the bottom of who’s running it and bring them to justice. But when she learns the shocking truth it’s more than she bargained for. Nicholas shows up in Palermo to investigate the incident, which forces Maeve to choose between Daniel and Nicholas but one thing remains certain she will never give up her love for sharks.
I loved everything about this book. It brought back childhood memories of my love for sharks and all the info gathering I did to learn the different species. Taylor’s writing is amazing and kept me engaged. The characters are fantastic and I was torn between who I wanted Maeve to end up with, Daniel or Nicholas… I thought the background story was a brilliant tie-in and added another element of engagement. This is a perfect summer book!