The Summer Girls
By Mary Alice Monroe
(Gallery Books, Paperback, 9781476709000, 400pp.)
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
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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.
Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of thirteen novels. Her books received numerous awards, including the Award for Writing from the South Carolina Center for the Book and the International Fiction Award for Green Fiction. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina where she is at work on her next novel. Visit her at www.maryalicemonroe.com and on Facebook.
- Dora’s initial reaction to Mamaw’s plan to bring the summer girls together for the season is to call it “blackmail” (p. 173). Do you agree with Dora, or are you sympathetic with Mamaw’s scheme? Why or why not?
?eoeMonroe?e(TM)s resplendent storytelling shines even brighter . . . [with] startling insights into the intimate connection between nature and the human heart.?e
-New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry
?eoeIn the bestselling tradition of Kathryn Stockett?e(TM)s The Help, Mary Alice Monroe skillfully weaves together issues of class, women?e(TM)s rights, and domestic abuse set in the tumultuous South during the 1970s. . . . Beautifully wrought, and rich with keen insight . . . an unforgettable tale of marriage, resilience, and one woman?e(TM)s private strength.?e
?eoeMagical! Mary Alice Monroe's writing is always sensitive and true, and as inspiring as the natural wonder about which she writes. This luminous tale?e"set in the South Carolina Lowcountry that we both love so deeply?e"was hard to put down.?e
-Dorothea Benton Frank
?eoeMonroe brings authenticity and a sense of wonder to the plight of the endangered sea turtles and their miraculous capacity for survival.?e
?eoeMonroe utilizes her signature combination of informative storytelling wrapped in the relatable sagas of her protagonists.?e
?eoeAn exquisite, many-layered novel of an unsolved mystery, an obsession, a reconciliation, and a little romance.... Treats readers to lush descriptions of nature."
"An author of power and depth."
"A consummate storyteller."
"A master storyteller."
"A strong, warm voice that brings the South to life."
"Mary Alice Monroe has written another novel that is helping to redefine the beauty and magic of the Carolina Lowcountry. Every book she has written has felt like a homecoming to me and...she has succeeded in making the marshes and rivers of the Lowcountry her literary home.... Haunting."
-New York Times bestselling author Pat Conroy
"Monroe makes her characters so believable, the reader can almost hear them breathing."
"Mary Alice Monroe has become one of the premier voices contemporary women's fiction today. Her lyrical, emotional, and gripping stories make for superb reading experiences."
"A soaring, passionate story of loneliness and pain and the simple ability of love to heal and transcend both. Mary Alice Monroe's voice is as strong and true as the great birds of prey of whom she writes."
-Anne Rivers Siddons
"Mary Alice Monroe writes from her heart to the hearts of her readers."
"Such a wonderful, exciting new read! Very well written and addicting! Looking forward to the next book in the series. Mary Alice--hurry up!"
"The?Summer Girls?conveys sound environmental messages through a captivating story of how the ocean and a charismatic dolphin reunite sisters in the alluring ecological setting of the Lowcountry of South Carolina.? The story resonates on a personal level and, moreover, delivers a powerful reminder of the importance of protecting dolphins and the environment in which they live."
-Patricia Fair, Director, Marine Mammal Program, NOAA
"The Summer Girls is more than just a beautifully written, moving portrayal of three sisters finding themselves and each other after years of separation.? It's also an important book that deals head-on with significant issues so skillfully woven into the narrative that I often stopped to consider the import of what I'd just read. If you're a dedicated environmentalist, this book is a must-read. If you're just someone who enjoys a good story, you'll get that, too, and much more."
-New York Times bestselling author Cassandra King
"Mary Alice Monroe has taken the rich waters of the Atlantic?Coast as her own field of dreams.? In The Summer Girls,she sings a song of praise to the bottle-nosed dolphins that bring so much joy to the men and women who gaze at the creeks and rivers of the low country each evening.? Like all her books, The Summer Girls is a call to arms."
-New York Times bestselling author?Pat Conroy
"Mary Alice writes the most readable books with important environmental story lines, but "The Summer Girls"might be my favorite. It's about family, finding yourself, getting through bad issues that could weigh you down, and enjoying the ride with the warm embrace of family. And there's a wild dolphin who helps heal the pain but finds his own.?This book has everything--sense of place, family, strong characters, romance,a love of dolphins and more. This is BETTER than a beach read; this is a great book club book to discuss! Can't wait for the next in the trilogy. thanks, Mary Alice!"
"How wonderful it is to be able to dig into a summer novel and not only get so much pleasure from the awesome story, but to learn, learn, learn...[S]he brings new awareness to those of us who need enlightening."
-Maurice on Books
"[A] beautifully written and thought provoking work of fiction. Mary Alice Monroe once again delivers on her promise to write books that explore the beauty in nature and the complexity of human relationships as she delves into the human psyche."
-Linda Hitchcock of Booktrib