REVIEW: GIRLS OF SUMMER, BY NANCY THAYER

Lisa Hawley is perfectly satisfied living on her own. Having fully recovered from a brutal divorce nearly two decades earlier, she has successfully raised her kids, Juliet and Theo, seeing them off to college and beyond. As the owner of a popular boutique on Nantucket, she’s built a fulfilling life for herself on the island where she grew up. With her beloved house in desperate need of repair, Lisa calls on Mack Whitney, a friendly—and very handsome—local contractor and fellow single parent, to do the work. The two begin to grow close, and Lisa is stunned to realize that she might be willing to open up again after all . . . despite the fact that Mack is ten years her junior.

Juliet and Theo worry that Mack will only break their mother’s heart—and they can’t bear to see her hurt again. Both stuck in ruts of their own, they each hope that a summer on Nantucket will provide them with the clarity they’ve been searching for. When handsome entrepreneur Ryder Hastings moves to the island to expand his environmental nonprofit, Juliet, an MIT-educated web designer, feels an immediate attraction, one her rocky love life history pushes her to deny at first. Meanwhile, free spirit Theo finds his California bliss comes to a brutal halt when a surfing injury forces him back to the East Coast. Upon his return, he has eyes only for Mack’s daughter, Beth, to whom he is bound by an unspeakable tragedy from high school. Can they overcome their past?

As the season unfolds, a storm threatens to shatter the peace of the golden island, forcing Lisa, Juliet, and Theo to decide whether their summer romances are destined for something more profound. Nancy Thayer dazzles again in this delightful tale of family, a reminder that sometimes, finding our way back home can bring us unexpected gifts.

 

 

When Lisa met her husband Erich, she was very young. The two of them seemed compatible, but once the children arrived and Erich began traveling more extensively, the distance grew between them until finally they divorced. Lisa bought a home on Nantucket, a place she loved, and began working in a shop that captured her interest in beautiful things.As time passed, she bought out the shop owner and renamed it Sail.

By the time her children, Theo and Juliet, were grown and finished college, she had settled into her life. But did she need more?

When her house needed repairs and she hired a contractor, Mack Whitney, the connection between them grew. He was ten years younger, and while she worried about the issue, she realized soon that it made little difference. The connection was powerful.

Our story takes us into the adult lives of Juliet and Theo, as well as of Mack’s daughter Beth.

Alternating chapters carry the story, and we see how Lisa and Mack deal with their issues, as well as those of their adult children.

A tale that kept me engaged throughout, although the narrative switched frequently between each of the characters, and not necessarily seamlessly, Girls of Summer was one I enjoyed. I felt passionate about the issues and the characters, including matters of climate change and saving the environment that are a big part of the story. 4.5 stars.

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TUESDAY SPARKS: “THE LONDON TRAIN”

Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s release is a book I discovered recently:  The London Train, by Tessa Hadley.

 

 

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Intro:  By the time Paul got to the Home, the undertakers had already removed his mother’s body.  He protested at this, it seemed done in indecent haste.  He had set out as soon as they telephoned him; surely they could have waited the three or four hours it had taken him to get there (the traffic had been heavy on the M5).  Mrs. Phipps, the owner of the Home, guided him into her office, where whatever scene he might make wouldn’t upset the other residents.  She was petite, vivacious, brown-skinned, with traces of a South African accent; he didn’t dislike her, he thought she ran the Home to a good standard of care, his mother had seemed to resign herself gratefully to her efficiency and brisk baby-talk.  Even at this moment, however, there was no sign that the taut, bright mask of Mrs. Phipps’s good humour, respectfully muted in the circumstances, ever gave way to any impulse of authentic feeling.

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Teaser:  It occurred to him that he could go anywhere, right now.  There were all those thousands sitting in his account, enough to buy himself a ticket; and his passport was—he checked—still in the back pocket of these trousers  (p. 112).

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Synopsis:  Two lives, stretched between two cities, converge in a chance meeting with immediate and far-reaching consequences in this compelling, sophisticated tale from acclaimed New Yorker writer Tessa Hadley, author of Accidents in the Home and The Master Bedroom. As father struggles to reestablish a relationship with his estranged daughter in London, surrendering himself to an underground life of illegal squats and counterculture friendships, a wife decides she must flee her suffocating marriage to return to Wales, where in Cardiff she may rediscover the passions that once fueled her life. Embracing change and facing loss, in a story evocative of Alice Munro’s Runaway and Julia Glass’ I See You Everywhere, Hadley’s powerful characters illuminate the furthest reaches of love, hope, and determination.

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What do you think?  Do the excerpts grab you?  Does the blurb make you want to keep reading?

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TUESDAY SPARKS: INTRO/TEASER – “CONFESS”

Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

My feature today is a book by Colleen Hoover, an author I have discovered and enjoyed in the past year.  Confess is the winner of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance.

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue:  Auburn)

I pass through the hospital doors knowing it’ll be the last time.

On the elevator, I press the number three, watching it illuminate for the last time.

The doors open to the third floor and I smile at the nurse on duty, watching her expression as she pities me for the last time.

I pass the supply room and the chapel and the employee break room, all for the last time.

I continue down the hallway and keep my gaze forward and my heart brave as I tap lightly on his door, waiting to hear Adam invite me in for the very last time.

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Teaser:  (Auburn)

What the hell am I doing?  I don’t do this kind of thing.  I don’t invite guys into my home.

Texas is turning me into a whore. (p. 72).

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Synopsis:  At age twenty-one, Auburn Reed has already lost everything important to her. In her fight to rebuild her shattered life, she has her goals in sight and there is no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping a major secret from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

To save their relationship, all Owen needs to do is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  Have you read it?

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