Save What’s Left by Elizabeth Castellano

Published: June 27, 2023


Pages: 294

Genre: Women’s Humorous Fiction

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Elizabeth Castellano grew up in a beach town. She lives in New York. Save What’s Left is her debut novel.

When Kathleen Deane’s husband, Tom, tells her he’s no longer happy with his life and their marriage, Kathleen is confused. They live in Kansas. They’ve been married thirty years. Who said anything about being happy? But with Tom off finding himself, Kathleen starts to think about what she wants. And her thoughts lead her to a small beach community on the east coast, a town called Whitbey that has always looked lovely in the Christmas letters her childhood friend Josie sends every year.

It turns out, though, that life in Whitbey is nothing like Josie’s letters. Kathleen’s new neighbor, Rosemary, is cantankerous, and the town’s supervisor won’t return Kathleen’s emails, but worst of all is the Sugar Cube, the monstrosity masquerading as a holiday home that Kathleen’s absentee neighbors are building next door to her quaint (read: tiny) cottage. As Kathleen gets more and more involved in the fight against the Sugar Cube and town politics overall, she realizes that Whitbey may not be a fairytale, but it just might be exactly what she needed.

“I want to think anything is fabulous.”

Kathleen is recently divorced, and she decided to do something spontaneous. She sells her home and moves to what she thinks will be her dream beach house. But instead of a fresh start, a quiet life, and new friends, all Kathleen finds is an uphill battle against the zoning board and a neighbor who keeps her involved in the fight.

This wasn’t as funny as I was expecting. It was kind of heavy and a tad dark. Kathleen didn’t seem happy, and she just went through the motions with everything, even when she didn’t want to.

I found this more realistic than humorous, though there were some funny bits. Overall, it took me a while to get into the story and the never-ending fight with the zoning board.

For a debut novel, this was decent. The character development was fine; the scenery was described with excellent detail, making visualizing easy.

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