Summer House, by Nancy Thayer (New York: Ballantine Books, 2009)
"After years of wandering from whim to whim, thirty-year-old Charlotte Wheelwright seems to have at last found her niche. The free spirit enjoys running an organic gardening business on the island of Nantucket, thanks in large part to her spry grandmother Nona, who donated a portion of land on the family's seaside compound to get Charlotte started. Though Charlotte's skill with plants is bringing her success, cultivating something deeper with people -- particularly her handsome neighbor Coop -- might be more of a challenge.
"Nona's generosity to Charlotte, secretly her favorite grandchild, doesn't sit well with the rest of the Wheelwright clan, however, as they worry that Charlotte may be positioning herself to inherit the entire estate. With summer upon them, everyone is making their annual pilgrimage to the homestead -- some with hopes of thwarting Charlotte's dreams, others in anticipation of Nona's latest pronouncements at the annual family meeting, and still others with surprising news of their own. Charlotte's mother, Helen, a Wheelwright by marriage, brings a heavy heart. She once set aside her own ambitions to fit in with the Wheelwrights, but now she must confront a betrayal that threatens her sense of place and her sense of self.
"As summer progresses, these three women -- Charlotte, Nona, and Helen -- come to terms with the decisions they have made. Revisiting the lives and loves that have crossed their paths and the possibilities of the roads not taken, they may just discover that what they've always sought was right in front of them all along."
"Charlotte had already picked the lettuces and set them, along with the bundles of asparagus tied with twine and the mason jars of fresh-faced pansies, out on the table in a shaded spot at the end of the drive."
Better and more engaging than The Last Time I Saw You, if perhaps not quite as much so as Maine ... but to be honest, these stories are starting to run together a bit. Maybe it's about time to switch from the love-and-friendship chick lit genre to something else for a while. After I finish my current library backlog, that is.
- Ithaca, New York
- MWF, now officially 42, loves long walks on the beach and laughing with friends ... oh, wait. By day, I'm a mid-level university administrator reluctant to be more specific on a public forum. Nights and weekends, though, I'm a homebody with strong nerdist leanings. I'm never happier than when I'm chatting around the fire, playing board games, cooking up some pasta, and/or road-tripping with my family and friends. I studied psychology and then labor economics in school, and I work in higher education. From time to time I get smug, obsessive, or just plain boring about some combination of these topics, especially when inequality, parenting, or consumer culture are involved. You have been warned.