Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review: Summer Rental

I'm so busy right now that I have no business sitting down to read anything, (except maybe the manuscript I'm supposed to be editing for a writer who's paying me...) but when my mom handed me this book, I knew I was going to make time.

Summer Rental is a 2011 release with the tag line: Sometimes, when you need a change in your life, the tide just happens to pull you in the right direction...

The back cover blurb goes like this:

Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves, in their mid-thirties, at the crossroads of life and love. Ellis, recently fired from a job she gave everything to, is rudderless and now beginning to question the choices she’s made over the past decade of her life. Julia—whose caustic wit covers up her wounds–has a man who loves her and is offering her the world, but she can’t hide from how deeply insecure she feels about her looks, her brains, her life.  And Dorie has just been shockingly betrayed by the man she loved and trusted the most in the world…though this is just the tip of the iceberg of her problems and secrets. A month in North Carolina’s Outer Banks is just what they each of them needs.

Ty Bazemore is their landlord, though he’s hanging on to the rambling old beach house by a thin thread. After an inauspicious first meeting with Ellis, the two find themselves disturbingly attracted to one another, even as Ty is about to lose everything he’s ever cared about.

Maryn Shackleford is a stranger, and a woman on the run. Maryn needs just a few things in life: no questions, a good hiding place, and a new identity.  Ellis, Julia, and Dorie can provide what Maryn wants; can they also provide what she needs?

Five people questioning everything they ever thought they knew about life. Five people on a journey that will uncover their secrets and point them on the path to forgiveness. Five people who each need a sea change, and one month in a summer rental that might just give it to them.

Okay, honestly? Reading that blurb made me not want to read the book. Especially that last paragraph. I think they should have worked a little harder at this, but then again, there are 5 different storylines going on here, and a bunch of back stories that need to be filled in for the readers, and a whole lot of heads to hop through... anyway, I bit the bullet and started reading it in between errands and projects.

I'm glad I did.

I love Mary Kay Andrews breezy style, and I hadn't read one of her books in years. She writes great beach books (even the Christmas-themed one!) Easy, breezy, engaging characters who make you root for their happiness...  If you haven't heard of her books, you should check out Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, Savannah Blues, Savannah Breeze, Blue Christmas.... and she has 3 other books I haven't read yet.

Summer Rental engages the reader from the start, despite the large cast of characters. Andrews draws them each distinctly, and deftly weaves in each backstory so that the reader gets to know and care about each of them. The women are well drawn, each unique in their problems and outlooks. The landlord Ty isn't as solid a character as I would like, with too many contradictions in his behavior, but he's engaging enough to keep the reader wanting more.

Besides, it's really a story about women. Who they are, who they want to be, the tough decisions they need to make in each of their lives.

I found myself thinking about the characters while driving, and while painting the bathroom ceiling the other day - I almost quit painting halfway through so I could finish one more chapter. (I decided instead to use it as my carrot to get the job done.) And in the end, I woke up at 5 a.m. Saturday for some quiet time to finish reading so it wouldn't distract me for the rest of the weekend.

Looking for a book to slip into your beach bag? Summer Rental fits the bill.

What have you read lately that would go well with this summer heat?


  1. So many books on my summer reading list right now but maybe....I can squeeze one more in ;)

  2. Glad you guys like the sound of it. My sister already read Spring Fling, Andrews' latest book, and didn't like it as much as this one - but I know I'll have to pick up a copy anyway ;-)

  3. Hissy Fit was one of my favorite books last summer! I'll have to try this one when I go to the beach in August!

  4. You're right about that last paragraph. Good thing you gave it a try anyway. I wish I was going to the beach this summer. :)

  5. Mindy - Hissy Fit is one of my fav summer books - I may have to reread that this summer! Love the big scene at the beginning, at the country club ;-)

    Michelle - I mean, what were they thinking, right? But the book is much better than the blurb. Before I lived at the beach, I used to "make" my own. In college, we even had a palm tree and a kiddie pool with water and sand in our apartment,complete with beach chairs and mini lifeguard stand... and we had "beach" parties... and it was upstate NY ;-)

  6. Replies
    1. Wonder - Just visited your page and love the cover in German even more ;-) Thanks for visiting my blog!


Go ahead - leave a comment! You know you want to! But don't be Anonymous - that'll just get you deleted. And who wants that?