By popular request, I am giving you a list of a few beach books in hopes that all of you are lounging somewhere with fluffy drinks and cute cabana boys. These are easy quick reads full of strong women characters. In no particular order:
1. Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer– Nancy Thayer can always be counted on for perceptive, well-written books set in East Coast beach towns. In Heat Wave, Carley Winsted becomes a young widow and then realizes that she is in dire financial straights. Her patrician in-laws become the Butt-in-sky’s and become outraged with Carley turns part of the family homestead into a bed and breakfast.
Thayer’s writing is both warm and funny, “Russ and Annabel relished daily life- that was the mesmerizing, seductive quality the Winsteds had.”
‘I never thought I’d marry a man who said gravitas.”
Random House provided a review copy of this book for this post. All opinions are my own.
2. The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene– This is an unusual book as typically we read stories of people leaving Europe during World War II. In this case, Claire Harris runs away to Paris as her wealthy husband has learned of her humble beginnings. The problem is that it is 1940 and she doesn’t realize that Nazi occupation is in process. Claire gets a job with a very old line Parisian florist.
The irony of beautiful flowers during the bombing of Paris is well done.
” This was Paris. Life goes on.” “And this was Paris after all.”
“The service you offer is a reminder of civilization in these dark days.”
This is a debut novel for Sheene. Let’s hope for another book soon!
Penguin Group provided a review copy of this book for this post. All opinions are my own.
3. Sand in My Eyes by Christine Lemmon– I tripped on this author’s books on a recent trip to Florida. After reading this book, I immediately bought her other books. You immediately love this book when it starts with a letter Anna writes to her college daughter.
“I hope you live a life that you love. Life is brilliant, life is dull. It’s easy, it’s hard. It’s about reaping wealth, and giving to others, about living passionately about doing what one must to survive. Life is joy.”
Anna goes to a nursing home in another state to visit her former neighbor, Fedelina. Fedelina was neighbor, friend, muse and therapist to Anna at a difficult time in Anna’s life. Fedelina shared her mother’s writings with Anna and through them, Anna finds hope.
“Our small woman to woman talks were helping me pull the ugly from my life, so that beauty, peace, simplicity and contentment could sprout forth strong and free. She was the older widow out growing flowers, and I was the mother of three caught up in the weeds.”
“Life happens whether you worry or not.”
Through her visit to Fedelina, we learn the story of Anna’s near break down and we learn the story of Fedelina’s life. This is a beautifully written book! Loved it!
4. Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan– This is the story of Ellie Hogan and her husband John. They grow up together in a small town in Ireland, though Ellie is from a well to do family as her father works for the government. Ellie’s family is cold and seemingly unloving while John, an orphan, lives with his lovely aunt and uncle. When John is in need of an operation on his hip, Ellie goes to America to make money to send home.
The problem is that Ellie is then exposed to a whole different life- one she likes. She can’t imagine going back to rural Ireland with no indoor plumbing after living in New York. She begins as a lady’s maid and quickly goes to secretarial school. A romance wants to develop but she won’t let it and flees back to Ireland.
This is a book about going home and finding your way. Ellie has to figure out how to be married to John again and how to adapt to the small-town Ireland life. Ellis Island is well-written with excellent character development- a great summer read.
Harper Collins provided a review copy of this book for this post. All opinions are my own.
5. Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews- Three good friends decide to take the month of August off and rent a house on the beach in North Carolina. Ellis was recently laid off from her job. Dorie just had a bad revelation about her husband and is running away and Julia, an aging model, is at a crossroads. When Dorie’s sister can’t join them, Dorie invites Maryn, a woman she meets at a diner, to rent a room from them. Maryn’s secrets slowly unfold and they aren’t good.
This book has romance, women’s friendship, mystery and drama. It is a light quick read, perfect with a daquiri.
Put on sunscreen and enjoy!
What are you reading and where are you going?