|This book reads like an epic by Janet Dailey or Danielle Steel and is a well-written dramatic story. Susan Mallery has come close to a keeper with Sunset Bay.
The story starts off when we meet 18-year-old Megan Greene and 19-year-old Travis Hunt. Megan is the daughter of a dedicated, adoring father and a flaky, narcissistic mother. Her younger sister Leanne is jealous of her and often does things just to get her in trouble with her mother. Travis is a convicted juvenile who spent time in jail for assault when his temper got out of control and he is now out. He is the product of an abusive father and a mother who can’t see his father’s faults. They operate a landscaping business and Travis is working there trying to make up for lost time. He and Megan go out and find they still have much in common (they were friends prior to him going to jail). Travis has dreams of being on his own and Megan loves designing clothes. They talk about hitting it big in New York one day.
But circumstances arise and Megan is forced to choose between reaching for the stars and leaving with Travis or staying and being Daddy’s girl; at eighteen, the choice is hard to make but Daddy wins out.
We move to 10 years later. Megan is full of life and it is all laid out for her. Her mother still hates her and loves her sister, who is trying to be an actress. Her father adores her and is proud of the many “sensible” choices she has made. Her dreams of clothing design flew out the window and she is now an up and coming accountant. She is engaged to a budding cardiologist, Adam Nolan, and she is in line for a promotion at her job. Her life seems blessed. Until an attorney comes to her office and informs her that Gary Greene is not her biological father. Her mother, Tina, had an affair with a famous painter who happened to paint a picture he titled “Sunset Bay”; she is the result of that affair and he has left her a substantial inheritance.
Reeling, Megan confronts her mother who finally admits it. In doing so, Gary totally goes off the deep end, declaring he no longer wants anything to do with her or her mother. When she goes to her fiancé for support, he tells her that he has been seeing someone but broke it off now that he and Megan are getting married in a week. Megan calls off the wedding and heads with her friends to Vegas, where she runs into none other than Travis Hunt. They have hot heavy sex. Upon her return to LA, she discovers that Travis has moved back to LA and they start to see each other again.
The rest of the story follows their relationship in all its starts and stops, hot moments and not. They have to learn to trust all over again and the road is more than rocky. Side stories involve Leanne and her attempts to becoming a legitimate actress, and her efforts to rebuild a sisterly relationship with Megan in the midst of chaos. Megan is still devastated by her father’s defection and needs to try to find out who she is since her whole life seems to be a lie. The sought-after promotion also hits a bumpy road when competition enters the fray.
There is a lot going on in this story and it is rare that there is not some new revelation. The characters are generally engaging but are at times, a bit stereotypical. Leanne is one of the more interesting. Travis is hot and yet not as well-developed as he could have been. Adam is a skunk due to his behavior and we have little more to go on. The two least interesting characters are Megan’s parents. Her mother is a total loss, whining and acting like a hypochondriac. And her father Gary is not only ridiculous in his reaction to the revelation, but even before that, he was both controlling and shallow, never seeing anything about his wife except for her beauty. It is only the strength of Megan’s character and Travis interactions with her that the story maintains its stability.
Sunset Bay is a good book. I was hooked early on and despite some of my qualms about some of the characters, I had to keep up with Megan to see how she would come out on the upper end after all the pandemonium. I think you will find it a trip worth taking.