I have heard men say they wait all year to see girls in their summer dresses. I totally understand; it’s not summer for me until all the great new beach books go on sale. My idea of a good time is to stack them up, find a comfy corner, and just start reading while everyone else is outside baking in the sun.
“The sea reinvents itself with every wave,” is a wonderful line from THE COTTAGE AT GLASS BEACH. Heather Barbieri has created the perfect book for those of us who feel that we have seawater in our veins. I don’t know if I’ll have time to get back to the ocean this summer, but I feel as though I’m already there having read this book. I love the melancholy of the sea, and here, it’s captured perfectly, along with old Celtic myth, and a modern story of a woman whose husband has betrayed her. Is it true that if a woman cries seven tears into the water near a selkie, he will find her and heal her broken heart? Why would a loving mother leave her child alone on an island, and then disappear into the sea? No matter what you choose to believe, I can say with certainty that you’ll never look at a seal the same way again.
Praised for her books about Nantucket, this season Nancy Thayer takes us to the beautiful Berkshires to enjoy the SUMMER BREEZE. Three women at a crossroads in their lives form a bond, and by supporting each other, find a new kind of freedom. Natalie Reynolds has had it with the City That Never Sleeps, and yearns to find some rest caretaking her aunt’s home on Dragonfly Lake. She hopes that at last, she can become the artist she feels she’s meant to be. Taking care of her mother, and running the family shop is all that Bella Barnaby foresees for her future; Aaron, an architect has other ideas. Morgan O’Keefe is having second thoughts about her choice to put her career in science on hold, so that her husband could pursue his own interests. Looking after her son is just not enough to fill the void she feels, and she craves getting some attention for herself. I can’t help but feel that Thayer is determined to create wonderful summer books for all women who love to read, and boy, has she succeeded.
Gigi Levangie Grazer is the ex-wife of producer Brian Grazer, so when she writes about being single in your forties in L.A., a town that worships youth, she knows the territory. THE AFTER WIFE is the story of Hannah Bernal, who quickly discovers that being a middle-aged widow in Tinsel Town is tougher than she ever could have imagined. She also has to earn money to pay for her lavish home, “Casa Sugar,” and the overpriced preschool of her three-year-old daughter, Ellie. But things only get worse when Hannah discovers that her husband has left her in a financial bind. Hannah’s friends begin to worry about her sanity, and losing her job doesn’t help. But one night, after standing under an avocado tree and wondering “why,” Hannah decides to pick herself up, dust herself off, and get back to living her life.
THE BOOK OF SUMMERS, by Emylia Hall, is a change of pace book. The title refers to the contents of a package delivered to Beth Lowe by her emotionally remote father. Inside is a scrapbook filled with a record of Beth’s seven summers spent in Hungary when she was a child. Author Hall brings vivid authenticity to Beth’s memories, having herself spent childhood holidays in rural Hungary. Almost against her will, Beth finds herself once again experiencing the all but forgotten time she spent with Marika, her fascinating but unreliable mother. She also feels the pain of being put in the middle of the strained relationship of her parents. Can looking at old photos help Beth to learn to forgive, or will her past forever hold her captive?
Haven’t you been working hard all year? Isn’t it time to kick back and enjoy a vacation, staycation, or maybe just a braincation? Pour a tall one, put your feet up, and enjoy some simply fabulous summer reading.
Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist and an avowed bibliophile. She has not been out in the sun for more than five minutes at a time over the last twenty-five years. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle. www.michalljeffers.com