Book Review: The Summer’s End by Mary Alice Monroe

Summer's EndSpecial note: That is the author’s daughter on the cover.

Publisher: Gallery Books, 2015

As I said the other day, I love to pick a book each year that epitomizes my feelings about the end of summer. You know the feeling – the one where you’re sad that summer is over, but you’re excited about what the future holds. This year’s pick, The Summer’s End, has that same bittersweet feeling. Firs, let me share the publisher’s blurb about the story:

It is summer’s end and Sea Breeze, the family’s beloved estate on Sullivan’s Island, must be sold. It is an emotional time of transition as Mamaw and the three sisters each must face loss and find a new place in the world.

Harper, the youngest sister, arrived at Sea Breeze intending to stay only a weekend, but a rift with her wealthy, influential mother left her without direction or a home. During this remarkable summer, free from her mother’s tyranny and with the help of her half sisters, Harper discovered her talents and independent spirit.

I was sympathetic with the character of Harper. She’s survived one of the bitchiest fictional mothers I’ve met in a long time. As the story opens Harper is still struggling to get out from under her mother’s control. Her mother sees Harper only in terms of how Harper can make her look good and satisfy her goals. She has succeeded through guilt and manipulation. Spending various summers with her father’s family (in particular her grandmother) has given Harper a balanced view of life. She does see her mother for what she is.

Harper’s grandmother, Mamaw, believes this is her last chance to pull her three granddaughters together for one last summer. She is going to have to sell her island estate. Mamaw wants one more opportunity to help the three young women find their way and to bond with each other.

Harper finds the summer is just what she needed. She starts writing a novel even though her mother believes she has no talent. One more good thing happens for Harper: a tall, good-looking man shows up to help with a kitchen remodel. Harper and Taylor are immediately interested in each other. I like how they slowly let their love develop.

I also liked some of the other issues raised in the story: the handling of grief and the subject of making pets of wild animals. This is a strong story that includes a nice romance.

The Summer’s End is the final book in the Lowcountry Summer trilogy. The first two books feature Harper’s two older sisters and I’m sorry I didn’t read them first. The Summer’s End made for a good stand-alone as I was able to catch on to what had already happened. If you haven’t read any of these books, I suggest you start at thee beginning. They are so enjoyable that you really shouldn’t miss any of the action.

I want to thank Kathy at Bermuda Onion for suggesting Mary Alice Monroe. I had a extra treat when I checked the audiobook out from the library. The narrator/reader was Mary Alice Monroe herself. Her reading, with her beautiful southern accent and just the right inflections, helped me “read” the book just the way she wrote it. Can you get it any better than that?

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5 Responses to Book Review: The Summer’s End by Mary Alice Monroe

  1. Kay says:

    I didn’t realize that MAM read the book herself. I’ll have to look for it on audio. Thanks, Margot!

  2. Beth F says:

    Glad the audiobook was good — I usually stay away from author-read audios. Sound like the perfect book for the end of August.

  3. Judy B says:

    This one and two previous ones are on my TBR list. I may not get to them before summer ends, but I will read them Thanks Margot for the great review.
    ps: I linked to this post directly from the author’s facebook page. How neat is that! Way to go, Margot.

  4. Nancy f says:

    Just finished the trilogy with Memaw and her girls and have now started the Beach House books. I’m feeling as though I’ve left some precious friends behind and do not want to lose touch with them. I love my Lowcountry authors like Siddon, Benton and now Mary Alice Monroe.

  5. I’ve only read one book by this author, but I really enjoyed it. Glad there’s another for me to get.

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