Jamie Brenner is back with another delightful novel set in one of my favorite places: Provincetown, Mass. What’s so special about this novel? Everything.
Ruth sold her very successful cosmetics business for a fortune. She was only 58-years old. Was that too young to retire? Not when you’ve spent your entire life working, nonstop. Provincetown called to Ruth as the place she remembered being the happiest in years past. So she rented one of those gorgeous old homes downtown for the summer.
Ruth arrives in Provincetown via the ferry. This is a great way to introduce this novel. All the sights and smells surround you as the ferry approaches the dock, slowly.
The house is perfect. And it has a name: Shell Haven. Ruth would have preferred to buy a house but she was told nothing was for sale. Clifford Henry, Ruth’s very flamboyant real estate agent, assured her that the best thing was to rent and get to know the people of the town. Clifford assured her people would be much more likely to sell to someone they knew. Elise and Fern own Shell Haven and decided to rent it out just for the summer to establish a bit of a cushion for their savings. They own the cutest shop in town: Tea by the Sea. They intend to live in the small apartment atop their store until summer’s end.
And then Ruth answers the doorbell her first morning at Shell Haven and finds an infant car seat has been left on her doorstep. With a sleeping baby inside. Boom!
That’s certainly a way to get your undivided attention. What we do know is that Elise and Fern who are a married couple have been trying to have a baby for a couple years now. Elise has not been able to carry a baby to term and it’s been a real bone of contention between them. So when this “surprise” infant arrives from the “stork” you can only imagine the intensity of emotions that are going to arise.
What we discover next is that Olivia who is Ruth’s somewhat estranged daughter, is about to enter the picture. When she finds out her mother has moved to P-town, she’s convinced her mom is sick and getting her affairs in order. What a mess. So she decides to make the trip to see for herself what the heck is going on.
I have to tell you that all but one of the characters in this novel are pure delight. And the one character who is not a delight is that horrible person that you will love to hate. I loved revisiting the lives of the characters brought back from previous novels and I loved meeting the new characters and getting to know them. Portuguese families are very close and very Catholic. The family we meet is all of that and then some. Deeply caring and outgoing, the Barros family is one of the most endearing families I’ve met in a book in a long time. The food, the ethics, the outpouring of sympathy and the warm, wonderful friendships are refreshing.
From the quaint tucked away little cafes and shops to the Portuguese bakeries and craft classes, there is always something to do in Provincetown. You can even take writing classes. Not to mention the carnival-like atmosphere that takes over this vacation paradise during the steamy days and nights of summer. And then you can go on a whale watching tour and your life may never be the same. I have actually done this and it is a memory I will cherish forever.
I’m still thinking about the lobster rolls and the fresh oysters. And I’m thrilled to discover that Beach Rose Inn was inspired by The Anchor Inn Beach House in Provincetown.
The scent of the ocean and the sense of family and friendship will linger in your mind for a long time, maybe even forever. Don’t miss this new novel. I absolutely loved it.
You’re going to want to read Jamie Brenner’s other wonderful novels. She has three others that take place in Provincetown: THE FOREVER SUMMER; DRAWING HOME; and THE HUSBAND HOUR. I’m always happy to find out a new favorite author has more books…..
I read my review copy of SUMMER LONGING digitally. My copy was provided by Little, Brown and Company via Edelweiss.
We at Copperfish, hope you’ll consider ordering your copy through our online store. It’s discounted 20% and we can ship it straight to your door.