Confession time: if novels are children, this is my favorite book kid by far.
I conceived of THE BOOK OF SUMMER after reading an article in Vanity Fair about the gorgeous, grand homes on the Sankaty Bluff in Siasconset (known as Sconset), the easternmost spot on Nantucket Island. Many of these homes have been in families for generations and are now in danger of falling into the sea due to erosion. I immediately pictured a home with ninety-nine years of history and memories packed inside, a home that will likely soon come down.
In the BOOK OF SUMMER, you’ll meet Cissy, a town rabble-rouser who’s happy to raise all kinds of hell to keep her beloved Cliff House standing. You’ll meet her grown daughter Bess, a physician from San Francisco, who’s given the unenviable task of forcing Cissy out of their family home. Cissy is but one of Bess’s problems, and it doesn’t help that her high school boyfriend is somehow still hanging around.
You’ll also meet the people who’ve come before Cissy and Bess, like Bess’s grandmother Ruby, who arrives on the scene as an idealistic young bride in 1939, just before the United States enters WWII. Ruby will introduce you to her new friend Hattie Rutter, a flashy, bright, modern woman who rocks the house perhaps more than erosion ever could. There is also Ruby’s brother PJ and his wife Mary, a real wet sock, truth be told. And you’ll meet Ruby’s closest ally, her little brother Topper (oh, Topper! You might be my favorite of the favorites!), as well as her sweet husband Sam.
Through it all are excerpts from the home’s Book of Summer, its first entry written by Bess’s great-grandmother Sarah:
“We will greet each summer with expectant delight, Cliff House the reward for the winter and the toiling away. The deed bears Philip’s name but it belongs to us all. We’ll invite friends, we’ll invite family, and the friends of family. We will throw open the doors and shout, ‘All of you! Come stay a night or three! Leave your shoes in the basket, your worries outside the door. Together now, let’s pour ourselves a drink.’
“In lieu of rent we will ask our guests to make payment via words in this, the Book of Summer. We’ll do this so the memories will stick and so those who follow appreciate what came before.”
As with all my novels, I hope that THE BOOK OF SUMMER transports you and has you googling the real-life stories that made up the bones of my tale. Please enjoy this journey to Nantucket and the beautiful, magical Sconset.
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