Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Review: The Summer Wind

The Summer WindAuthor: Mary Alice Monroe
Publication Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Series: Lowcountry Summer # 2

The Summer Wind is the second book in Monroe’s Lowcountry Summer trilogy, following the New York Times bestselling The Summer Girls. This series is a poignant and heartwarming story of three half-sisters and their grandmother, who is determined to help them rediscover their southern roots and family bonds.

It’s midsummer and Eudora, nicknamed Dora, is staying at Sea Breeze, the family’s ancestral home on Sullivan’s Island. For years, Dora has played the role of the perfect wife and mother in a loveless marriage. Now her husband filed for divorce, her child is diagnosed with autism, and her house is on the market. Dora’s facade collapses under the weight of her grief and she suffers broken heart syndrome; Mamaw and the girls rally around Dora, but it’s up to Dora to heal herself as she spends the summer prowling the beach, discovering the secrets of the island and her heart. This is a summer of discovery for all the women of Sea Breeze. Carson returns from Florida to face life-changing decisions, Lucille confronts a health scare, and an unexpected visitor has Harper reconsidering her life’s direction.

When tropical storm winds batter the island, the women must band together and weather the tempest; both the one outside their windows and the raging sea of emotions within each of them. They must learn again what it means to be a sister. It is up to Mamaw to keep the light burning at Sea Breeze to guide the girls through the lies, the threats, and the rocky waters of indecision to home.

July was said to be the hottest month of the year in Charleston, and after enduring eighty Southern summers, Marietta Muir, or Mamaw, as her family affectionately called her, readily agreed.

Desperate to keep them on the island, Mamaw had resorted to a bit of manipulation when she’d threatened to cut them out of the will if they did not stay for the entire summer. She chortled out a laugh just remembering their shocked faces.

“And I believe, in all your wandering, you will discover a place of stillness and peace. Find yourself, and you will find your way home.”

The opening lines of this book pulled me right back in to this series and Mamaw’s need to pull her granddaughters, Dora, Carson, and Harper, back together again for the summer. The writing is so descriptive that I did not need a refresher at all from the first book in this series. I was right back on the beach at Sullivan’s Island, which is a beautiful place if you have never been there, with the full cast of characters that Monroe gave us last year. This time we are focused on Dora, who is dealing with a divorce and a son who has autism and needs his mom’s love and attention. Dora needs a lot of love and support as well from her family, and Mamaw knows just the cure for all of Dora’s struggles.

What I have loved most about this series so far is the relationship between Dora, Carson, and Harper. With no siblings of my own, I will find comfort in the siblings that I read about and I love to see how their bonds break and are healed once again with time, love, and patience. Each of their lives are headed in different directions and they all have separate worries and struggles that keep them stressed. It’s always nice to see them work through things together, along with the help of Mamaw who always know how to make things better.

Sullivan’s Island, or any beach in general, makes a perfect setting for any summer book that I want to read. I have to say that Mary Alice Monroe has a way with words when it comes to her characters and her locations. No other author has ever made me want to be sitting on the beach more than Mary Monroe. Another plus about her books is that she always manages to incorporate some type of wildlife and the preservation of it. In this book she focuses on dolphins. In another of my most favorite books by her she focuses on loggerhead turtles. She is a truly amazing author with many perks to her stories!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Gallery Books in exchange for my honest review***

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