Meet Me on the Beach
When pillar-of-the-community Harry Stewart dies of a sudden heart attack, the whole village is devastated – except for his wife Karen, the only one who really knew the abusive alcoholic Harry had become.
Suddenly freed from this oppressive marriage, Karen is nonetheless wracked with guilt about the circumstances of her husband’s death. She sees the presence of her spoiled stepdaughter, Sophie, as a suitable purgatory. Her only comfort in her grief and isolation is William, the sympathetic local vicar.
“Karen never deliberately put herself in these compromising situations… But she gets sucked in, time and again to conflict. It can happen to anyone. It’s how you deal with it that counts”
As Karen shares her secret, William’s listening ear soon becomes a shoulder to cry on, and before long Karen realizes she is falling in love. But William has a wife and teenaged daughter, not to mention a parish to watch over – and be watched by.
As the pressure becomes too much to bear, Karen flees to the seaside and to Mike Best’s beach café. But when William suddenly turns up again in her life, can they persuade each other to take one final leap of faith together?
Karen is the victim of four tricky relationship choices:
- She marries her much older boss – which makes for a potentially unequal relationship from the start.
- She keeps quiet when her much-esteemed husband takes to the bottle and becomes abusive – so, she doesn’t get the support she badly needs.
- She has inherited a hostile, yet vulnerable stepdaughter, with whom she has to negotiate a fragile peace.
- She falls in love with a married vicar – the ultimate taboo.
‘Karen never deliberately put herself in these compromising situations,’ Hilary says. ‘She’s a quiet, decent person, who wants to do the right thing. But she gets sucked in, time and again to conflict. It can happen to anyone. It’s how you deal with it that counts, and Karen finally steps up to the plate and takes a long, hard look at herself and her life… and finds a sort of peace.’