Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Summer Girls by Mary Alice Monroe

My 2 Cents:

It's not too late! Even though Labor Day Weekend's passed, and school's back in, temperatures are still climbing past 90 during the day, and the calendar says it's still officially summer until September 23. Indian Summer is what my grandmother used to call it.

So I got my hands on the audio book of Mary Alice Monroe's new book, The Summer Girls, which hit shelves just in time for beachgoers and vacationers this summer. And, let me tell you, MAM has really hit her stride. I became a fan of Monroe's fiction with Swimming Lessons and The Beach House, having spent time in and around the Isle of Palms. But, The Summer Girls, set on Sullivan's Island in South Carolina's Lowcountry, is, I believe, her best novel, yet.

34-year-old Carson Muir leaves L.A., broke and jobless, to spend the summer with the grandmother who raised her, Marietta Muir, who's celebrating her 80th birthday, at Sea Breeze, their beloved Sullivan's Island home. Joining Carson at “Mamaw's” are her two half-sisters, Harper and Dora. Harper is 28, an assistant to her high-powered, magazine editor mother in New York City. Dora (for Eudora Welty – all three girls are named after literary giants) is a stay-at-home mother and home-schools her autistic 9-year-old son, Nate. In the middle of an unpleasant divorce, Dora finds herself staying at Sea Breeze while her home in nearby Summerville undergoes renovation before it goes on the market for sale.

Throw in a near-death-experience with a shark (Carson), and a friendly dolphin named Delphine, alcohol, secrets from the past revealed, and you have the makings of a life-changing summer. For all three women.

Monroe's writing is deft, funny, heartwrenchingly honest, and enlightening – about dolphins and their plight along the Atlantic coast, about family relationships, about autism … and the Lowcounty meals her characters eat will leave your mouth watering.

I'm just glad The Summer Girls is the first book of three in The Lowcountry Summer Trilogy, because I can hardly wait to see what happens next. And, meantime, it's fun to guess. (Write fast, Mary Alice).

Length: 10 CDs, Unabridged.

Worth Your Time? Yes. I literally groaned when a disc ended.

Bonus: Read by the author.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Something Told the Wild Geese by Rachel Field

My 2 cents:

Something Told the Wild Geese

by Rachel Field

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered “snow.”

Leaves were green and stirring
Berries, luster-glossed
But beneath warm feathers,
Something cautioned “frost”.

All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spice
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.

Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly
Summer sun was on their wings
Winter in their cry.

That poem is my favorite fall poem. I thought about it when a loud, honking “V” of geese flew over my head on the Friday before Labor Day, just at dusk. What fall means to me: my birthday, chilly nights and warm days, Indian Summer, school starting, football games (even if I don't go), shorter afternoons, a feel of poignancy, endings and beginnings, cozy nights under covers. Happy September.