The Summer Girls by Mary Alice Monroe (Jun 25, 2013)
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Three granddaughters. Three months. One summer house.
In this enchanting trilogy set on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe captures the complex relationships between three half sisters scattered across the country—and a grandmother determined to help them rediscover their family bonds.
Set amid ancient live oaks and palmettos, overlooking the water, historic Sea Breeze is Marietta Muir’s ancestral summer home. Her granddaughters once adored vacations there, but it’s been years since they’ve visited. Mamaw fears once she is gone, the family bonds will fray. The Muir family is one of Charleston’s oldest and the blood of their pirate captain ancestor runs strong, so Marietta drops a subtle promise of loot—pearl necklaces, priceless antique furniture, even the house—to lure her “summer girls” back to the lowcountry.
For years, Carson Muir has drifted, never really settling, certain only that a life without the ocean is a life half lived. Adrift and penniless in California, Carson is the first to return to Sea Breeze, wondering where things went wrong . . . until the sea she loves brings her a minor miracle. Her astonishing bond with a dolphin helps Carson renew her relationships with her sisters and face the haunting memories of her ill-fated father. As the rhythms of the island open her heart, Carson begins to imagine the next steps toward her future.
In this heartwarming novel, three sisters discover the true treasures Sea Breeze offers as surprising truths are revealed, mistakes forgiven, and precious connections made that will endure long beyond one summer.
This is the first book in a trilogy and is chiefly about Carson Muir, the half-sister to Harper and Dora.They are the product of an alcoholic ne’er- do -well father, and three vastly dissimilar mothers. The only thing that really pulls and keeps them together is their Grandmother and she has called them back to Sullivan’s Island ostensibly for her 80th birthday, but in truth, it is to get out into the open, family secrets and lies.
I cannot say that I found this a heartwarming novel. So many of the main characters were dislikable and I realize that it is because of how they grew up and the issues that still dog them as adults, yet I still could not find much sympathy for them.
This book is mainly Carson’s story, and early on, you can tell that her drinking is a problem. That problem will soon snowball. She has also found a relationship, or rather two relationships –one with a dolphin and another with a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) scientist who is studying dolphins. Which, had things played out a little differently, should have made for the perfect romance. Moreover, it still most likely work out, we shall just have to see what the next two books bring.
I found this book to be a bit plodding with several of the characters coming off as a bit cookie cutter-ish, especially with this book being of that very specific southern coastal genre. Ms. Munroe added more fuel to the fires of the sisters each having issues, by giving Dora an Autistic son who does tend to dominate Carson’s book a little. Harper, the youngest of the half-sisters may end up with the most interesting book. I don’t know why I feel that to be true but I do. I will be interested to read what happens to Mamaw, Harper and Dora in the next two books.