Mary Alice Monroe
The Summer Girls
Gallery Books / June 25, 2013 / $26.00 print, $10.38 digital
Three granddaughters. Three months. One summer house.
Set amid ancient live oaks and palmettos, overlooking the water, historic Sea Breeze is Marietta Muir’s ancestral summer home. Her granddaughters once adored vacations there, but it’s been years since they’ve visited. Mamaw fears once she is gone, the family bonds will fray. The Muir family is one of Charleston’s oldest and the blood of their pirate captain ancestor runs strong, so Marietta drops a subtle promise of loot—pearl necklaces, priceless antique furniture, even the house—to lure her “summer girls” back to the lowcountry.
For years, Carson Muir has drifted, never really settling, certain only that a life without the ocean is a life half lived. Adrift and penniless in California, Carson is the first to return to Sea Breeze, wondering where things went wrong . . . until the sea she loves brings her a minor miracle. Her astonishing bond with a dolphin helps Carson renew her relationships with her sisters and face the haunting memories of her ill-fated father. As the rhythms of the island open her heart, Carson begins to imagine the next steps toward her future.
Mary Alice Monroe is at her best with the first in her new trilogy, The Summer Girls. When she’s at the top of her game, she engages a reader’s emotions and makes intimate places and situations that may be far removed from personal experience. Southern Fiction evokes a laid-back, naturalistic lifestyle that keeps the focus on family and fighting personal demons. Romance is a lovely part of this, but it’s just one component. The most profound type of romance in Southern Fiction relates to its setting, nature, and often with Monroe, animals.