THE SUMMER’S END, by Mary Alice Monroe, is the third and final novel in the LOW COUNTRY SUMMER trilogy. I think it’s the best of the three. This series is perfect for summer. And way beyond.
It’s August and Sullivan’s Island, just off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, is in full swing. Tourists are filling the beaches putting the finishing touches on their summer tans while the locals are preparing to get their island back. Meanwhile, Mamaw and her grand daughters are preparing for the sale of Sea Breeze, the family home. Why are they selling their beloved family retreat? Years ago, Mamaw took out a second mortgage on the cottage in order to fund her son’s extravagant lifestyle. Now, they are all paying for this mistake. Can anything save Sea Breeze?
Each one of the novels in this fabulous trilogy has put the spotlight on one of the three stepsisters. This time it’s Harper’s turn. She’s the youngest, with a self-important mother who lives in NYC with her mighty wealth. Harper’s mother has managed to take Harper’s self confidence to a very low level. And with each year it’s gotten worse. But this is the summer Harper is going to burst loose. And then there’s Harper’s “other” grandmother; the one who lives in England… I have to tell you that the scenes with Mamaw and The English grandmother will have you laughing hysterically and taking bets to see who wins. Just superb story-telling.
Mary Alice Monroe not only has a way with words, she has done her research on dolphins and turtles and other important environmental issues that are crucial to the Lowcountry and beyond. She’s introduced us to a wild dolphin named Delphine who has undergone some horrific changes, all due to human errors. Delphine gives this already heartfelt story an even larger boost. By following Delphine’s progress through the three novels we encounter some mighty fine characters who become an integral part of the story. Love enters the life of each character in unique and wonderful ways. I love that Mary Alice shows how love can be discovered at any stage and age of our lives. We can never give up on love.
Of course the sense of place is pristine in all of Mary Alice’s novels. None more than when she is writing about Sullivan’s Island. You can smell the salty air as it wafts straight from the ocean, feel the warmth of the summer sun as it bathes your face, and fall in love with the dolphin who steals your heart. I always feel the pull to return to Sullivan’s Island after reading Mary Alice Monroe, now more than ever.
THE SUMMER GIRLS, THE SUMMER WIND, and now, THE SUMMER’S END, are very special novels that will sweep you away and take you to the land of beach and sea. You will never be the same after reading this trilogy. Powerful, romantic, moving, full of family-pull. Do yourself the biggest favor and grab all three, throw them in your beach bag, and sit back and get ready for a sweet, wild ride.
My review copy came from Simon & Schuster publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review. And I am thrilled to have a blurb in the book. Maurice On Books sure is getting around these days.