A perfect cover for a perfect summer book! Each spring I anxiously await the newest novel from one of my favorite authors: Mary Alice Monroe. She never, ever disappoints. In THE SUMMER OF LOST AND FOUND she’s brought back more adventures with the Rutledge family, who I have grown to love over the years.
A bit of back- story to start with. This novel was written in real time, something Mary Alice doesn’t usually do, so it was challenging in ways not anticipated as no one knew that we would all continue to be pretty much shut in for so very long. Everything kept changing as did the writing direction. And, she decided to focus on human relationships more than wildlife. I’m so glad for this novel. I was so happy to read about the characters I love dealing with the same issues the entire world was. It was very settling to read.
When the story begins on Isle of Palm, the pandemic has just really reared its ugly head. Linnea is totally bummed out as she has just been laid off her dream job and sent home to roost. This is one of the challenges so many of us have faced this past year. So how is she going to deal with this set back? Lucky for her, she’s got her aunt Cara, who is able to help by allowing her to stay in the beach house rent free, for now.
“Mary Alice Monroe focuses on the challenges and changes families and friends face during unprecedented times of isolation, limited social interaction, economic strain, and health concerns brought on by a pandemic–creating a timely and compassionate family saga as the next generation of the Rutledge family calls the beach house home. “
What happens when family and friends are forced into close quarters for long periods of time? When Linnea’s old boyfriend, John, returns unexpectedly to the island, she discovers him suddenly infringing on her space as he is sequestering in place next door. Yikes. Really, and that close. She has to deal with her feelings. After all, their break up was not friendly. He’s come all the way from California, and why?
Meanwhile, Linnea is having to answer some questions about her new love interest, Gordon, who is stuck in England and not able to travel back to U.S because of travel restrictions during this pandemic. When last she saw him she imagined herself in love. Now, Hm. So there is that.
Even very strong relationships are strained to the breaking point during times of great angst such as these. Mary Alice manages to show great empathy while being absolutely honest. She even threw in getting a new puppy as so many people have actually done this past year. In this case the little cutie is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I had to chuckle as my mountain family adopted the same breed in December. Willow.
The beach is featured as always and I think you will enjoy and appreciate the maps of Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palm in the beginning of the book. I know I have. I kept going back to check out where certain landmarks are. Nice touch.
I have to thank the amazing team at Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, for sending me my gorgeous finished book! I adore this new novel. And am looking forward to selling it next week. I also want to thank Angela May for making sure I always get review copies of these fabulous books. And I can’t wait to read THE ISLANDERS that’s written by she and Mary Alice. Win/win.
Copperfish Books will have copies of THE SUMMER OF LOST AND FOUND on sale on Tuesday, May 11. We will be discounting them 20%.
So now that this year’s novel is behind me, well, I find I have a young adult book coming from Mary Alice Monroe on June 15. So excited. It’s called THE ISLANDERS and is Mary Alice’s first book written for middle schoolers. And I loved hearing that her long-time colleague, Angela May, co-authored this book. It’s first in a series and takes place on Dewees Island which is a remote island off the South Carolina coast: a nature sanctuary. Young people are so ready for this book. It will be fun to hand sell. And all my grandkids will be reading it!