Thursday, June 9, 2011
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. -- St. Martin's
Every year, I look forward to a new book by author Mary Kay Andrews. I always seem to like her light books about women, love, and friendship; and they are ideal books for the beach and/or pool. I was particularly excited about her new novel SUMMER RENTAL because it takes place in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I have many fond memories of the Outer Banks because that was where my family vacationed every year.
I really liked SUMMER RENTAL and it did encompass everything I've come to know (and love) about Mary Kay Andrews' books. I'm not sure that this novel was my all-time favorite one of hers, but it was still a very entertaining read, a great summer escape, if you will. There was a little something for everyone -- romance, relationship dynamics, mystery, action, and humor.
SUMMER RENTAL tells the story of three long-time friends, Ellis, Dorie, and Julia, who are renting a home for a month in the Outer Banks. Each woman is desperately in need of some downtime as they deal with the loss of a job, the ending of a marriage, and other inner demons; and they are all hoping that this vacation will be exactly what they need. Things get complicated when their landlord Ty falls for Ellis and Dorie brings home a mysterious woman to stay in their attic. By the end of the summer - through lots of ups and downs, these characters all discover new things about their friends as well as themselves.
There were a few things that really stood out to me about SUMMER RENTAL. First and foremost, I appreciated the characters. I think I most related to Ellis because of her Type A personality, but I also thought liked Dorie and Julia. Dorie was a sweet girl whose "perfect" marriage was ending, and Julia was an aging fashion model who used her caustic wit to hide her insecurities. All three of the friends were a perfect complement to each other, and I liked how they supported each other while at the same time challenging their friends to be better people.
In addition the supporting characters, namely Ty and Maryn, were also great additions to the story. I'm not usually a big fan of romance novels, but there was just enough sexual chemistry between Ty and Ellis to keep my interest. Plus it didn't hurt that there were lots of descriptions of a naked or half-dressed Ty, and he was portrayed as a rather sexy guy. Maryn was also a very interesting character because she provided the mystery element to the story. The reader got a glimpse into Maryn's past, but it wasn't until the end of the novel when things really started coming together for me and Maryn's character took on a greater role.
I also really liked how much the setting was part of this story. It's been about 10 years since I've visited the Outer Banks, but I could still picture everything perfectly based on the descriptions in this story. Reading SUMMER RENTAL actually made me nostalgic and desperate to re-visit this area. I also appreciated how Ms. Andrews' incorporated a little bit of the Outer Banks history into the story. I have a feeling the setting stuck out for me a bit more than the average reader because I do love the Outer Banks and have so many fond memories of the time I spent there. I'd be curious to see if other readers who haven't been to the Outer Banks had the same reaction.
Overall, I enjoyed SUMMER RENTAL a great deal and think it's a wonderful summer read. Fans of Mary Kay Andrews' will not be disappointed.
Thanks to Tandem Literary for providing a review copy of this novel.