I featured this book as a New Release Spotlight when it came out but I just had to bring it back as the first in my new Great Escapes Series because I loved it so much! I hope you’ll love it too.
A longtime Nantucket resident is trying to make the best of a lonely summer. Her spirited granddaughter is learning what she wants out of life. Unforgettable surprises await them both in this magical, multigenerational novel from New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer.
Eleanor Sunderland loves living on Nantucket, in a gorgeous cliffside home that has been in her family for decades. Yet this year she can’t help but feel a bit isolated, even as the island begins to come alive with summer tourists and travelers. Her best friend has skipped town on a last-minute cruise, leaving Eleanor feeling lonely and nostalgic about her family’s weekend trips to the island, made less frequently in the years since her husband’s passing. Now, her money-driven children contact her mostly to complain and to beg her to sell her beloved home for a steep payout. Hoping to kick the season off on a good note, Eleanor decides her seventieth birthday may be the perfect occasion for a much-needed reunion.
Fresh off the heels of her college graduation, Eleanor’s dear granddaughter, Ari, has just ended an engagement that felt less like true love and more like a chore. She longs for a change of scenery and to venture far from her parents’ snobbish expectations. Taking advantage of her newfound freedom, she heads to Nantucket to clear her head before graduate school, moving in with her grandmother and taking a job at the local beach camp. As she watches Eleanor begin to form a bond with an old acquaintance, Ari herself becomes completely smitten with a friend’s charming older brother. But just as grandmother and granddaughter fall into a carefree routine, a few shocking discoveries throw them off course, and their ideas of the future seem suddenly uncertain.
Eleanor and Ari make exciting connections, old and new, over the course of an unpredictable, life-changing few months, and learn to lean on each other through every new challenge they face in life and love, in this tale filled with Nancy Thayer’s signature Nantucket magic.
I’m a huge fan of Nancy Thayer but she has outdone herself with this book. I read it in less than 24 hours. It usually takes me a week to get through a book. From page one I was captivated by the characters and enchanted by the Nantucket setting (Disclaimer: I have visited Nantucket a few times, even honeymooned there. I love this island!)
The relationship between Eleanor and Ari was so precious, so real, that I immediately started rooting for both of them. Alicia (Eleanor’s daughter/Ari’s mother) was distasteful and hard; I disliked her immensely, although she was somewhat redeemed in the end.
I must admit I found Ari’s preoccupation with finding a new guy so soon after breaking off her engagement (and other stressful situations, no spoilers) a bit disappointing. Why is it that every woman has to have a man? Sigh…. It is women’s fiction so I guess it fits the mold, but, still, I’d wished she was less distracted by Beck. A little summer romance is fun but looking for a lifelong commitment after just two months and a breakup from a years-long relationship? Dreaming. (My reasons why would give it away and I promised no spoilers.) However, I loved Eleanor’s little dalliance. I also loved the descriptions of Eleanor in her seventies, no holds barred. She was so authentic. No glitz or glamour. A woman we all would know.
Ari’s work with the children at the beach camp was sweet and I appreciated her following her heart to do something good with her summer, even though she could have earned more money in another summer job. Seeing the working side of Nantucket was also welcome as so often books set there tend to focus on the rich and pampered. Someone has to do the work to keep them pampered and happy and I was glad to see the island folk behind the scenes played a part in the story. That was refreshing.
To say that the book was well written and tied up tight at the end is superfluous. It is Nancy Thayer after all, and she has never disappointed me. Now, if she could only write two releases each summer…
Everything was delicious, including the meals.
It’s unlikely I’ll make it to Nantucket this summer, but I already feel like I’ve been there.
About the Author
I grew up in Kansas, surrounded by prairie, but thirty-five years ago I came to Nantucket to visit a friend who introduced me to the love of my life. Charley and I have now lived on Nantucket for 33 years–year-round, as we say, so I have a special feeling for this island and for the people who come here. I love the island most in the winter when the waves crash dramatically on the shore.
I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English literature from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and I still go to KC often to visit my darling baby sister, who inspires many of the characters in my book. Yes, she is blond, and yes, she is 9 years younger than I am. I still love her.
For a few years, I taught freshman English in several states, and had short stories published in literary reviews. My first novel, Stepping, was published by Doubleday in 1980, and started me off on the career I’ve always wanted. I was a Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 1980 and in 2015, I received the RT Career Achievement Award.
I’ve published 30 novels–all available on Amazon–including Secrets in Summer, The Island House, The Guest Cottage, Nantucket Sisters, and Island Girls. A Nantucket Wedding was my 30th. The upcoming Surfside Sisters will be out July, 2019! Champagne for everyone!
When I’m not writing novels–all 30 are available on Amazon–I’m walking the beach with my husband or entertaining our 4 grandchildren & their parents & our friends. All my novels are about family and friendships, which I believe are the foundation of a happy, if complicated, life.
Connect with Nancy Thayer
Throughout the summer I’ll be featuring my favorite reads as Great Escapes, perfect for the beach, the pool, camping, whatever you do or wherever you go to enjoy the summer months. Most of these will be women’s fiction, my favorite genre, but you’ll never know what you’ll find because I’m an eclectic reader. Wishing you many happy escapes this summer!