Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Review: The Bookshop at Water's End

Summary: The women who spent their childhood summers in a small southern town discover it harbors secrets as lush as the marshes that surround it…

Bonny Blankenship’s most treasured memories are of idyllic summers spent in Watersend, South Carolina, with her best friend, Lainey McKay. Amid the sand dunes and oak trees draped with Spanish moss, they swam and wished for happy-ever-afters, then escaped to the local bookshop to read and whisper in the glorious cool silence. Until the night that changed everything, the night that Lainey’s mother disappeared.

Now, in her early fifties, Bonny is desperate to clear her head after a tragic mistake threatens her career as an emergency room doctor, and her marriage crumbles around her. With her troubled teenage daughter, Piper, in tow, she goes back to the beloved river house, where she is soon joined by Lainey and her two young children. During lazy summer days and magical nights, they reunite with bookshop owner Mimi, who is tangled with the past and its mysteries. As the three women cling to a fragile peace, buried secrets and long ago loves return like the tide. -- Berkley

I thought I was caught up with reviews on what I call "beach" books, but I found another one in my need-to-be reviewed pile! It's called THE BOOKSHOP AT WATER'S END, and it's by Patti Callahan Henry. This novel is a story about female friendship, second chances, and love; and I found it to be sweet summer read.

THE BOOKSHOP AT WATER'S END tells the story of three women who escape to the town of Watersend, South Carolina, for one summer. As children, Bonny and Lainey spent their summers together enjoying the water, the local bookshop and even boys... until things took a turn for the worst. Lainey's mother mysteriously disappeared, and things were never the same for either one of them.

Bonny is now a middle-aged woman who returns to Watersend to get away from her real life. Her marriage is in shambles and her teenage daughter Piper has been having some trouble at college. However, it was the mistake she made as an emergency room doctor that has truly turned her life upside down. She hopes by going back to her childhood river house that she can clear her head and figure out what she should do with her life.

Meanwhile, Bonnie asks her best friend Lainey to join her. Lainey hasn't been back since the her mother disappeared because of the painful memories, but she and her two children come to stay with Bonnie. Lainey has never gotten over why her mother left her, and she's spent her entire life searching for the truth... even at the expense of her family. Piper also needs a break from her issues at college, and she agrees to stay the summer and watch Lainey's children.

Each of these three women is dealing with their fair share of pain, and there is a sense of hope that they can find some peace. Bonnie and Lainey find themselves slipping into many of their childhood behaviors while Piper finds a new love interest. Many secrets from the past come to light as Mimi, the owner of the bookshop, shares what she knows. Can these three woman find some happiness (and closure) as they spend their days together in this idyllic setting?

I enjoyed THE BOOKSHOP AT WATER'S END quite a bit. At its heart, it's a sweet story about the power of female friendship as well as second chances; and I found it to be both entertaining and heart warming. Quite frankly, it's a great book to put in your beach or pool bag for these last few weeks of summer.

One of my favorite things about this novel was the setting. I fell in love with Watersend and I loved how the author brought the small river town to life. It's been almost two months since I spent some time near the water, and I will say that it was a terrific escape to spend a few hours with these characters in Watersend. The town, and especially the bookstore, sounded so quaint; and I loved some of the small town's residents too!

Another thing that made THE BOOKSHOP AT WATER'S END so special was the message about the power of friendship. I appreciated these three woman and their share of baggage, but I really enjoyed how they lifted each other up. It wasn't always smooth sailing for these three even when it came to friendships and mother/daughter relationships; however, ultimately I think these three woman were better off because of they supported each other.

I do think THE BOOKSHOP AT WATER'S END would make a great book club selection especially for groups who appreciate women's fiction. They is quite a bit of drama, but also a sense of calm once the women start living their daily lives in the river town. They are some beautiful messages about friendship, healing, and second chances; and there are also some interesting characters to discuss. There is a reading guide located in the back of the book to help with your discussion.

Overall, I thought THE BOOKSHOP AT WATER'S END was a sweet escape read for the summer. I recommend it for fans of women's fiction and especially ones who enjoy books with a beach setting.

Thanks to Tandem Literary for providing a review copy of this novel.


bermudaonion said...

I do love a South Carolina setting!

Mystica said...

I like the friendship theme.

Karlie said...

I think I would enjoy this book.