By: Mary Alice Monroe, NY Times Bestselling Author
Summertime is reading time! When we are on vacation, we have time to put up our feet and dive into a good story. What we call a “beach read” isn’t necessarily light reading. It’s simply what we read when we have time to read.
Still, when sitting on a beach, many find it’s especially nice to read a book set on that location. So, to begin my summer recommendations, I’m going to start with my favorite Southern beach authors (and friends). Many of whom have been guest authors at the Wild Dunes Author Events held every January.
Southern Beach Books
The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe. I know it appears self-serving to recommend my own book, but there’s a reason. I was out on the beach just last week with the turtle team for a turtle nest inventory and I heard the same questions about sea turtles and nesting that I’d heard 18 years ago that inspired me to write The Beach House. People are still curious about sea turtles, and they’d never read this book. We’re all about turtle here! I recommend The Beach House to anyone who is interested in a poignant mother-daughter novel set in Charleston/Isle of Palms against the loggerhead nesting season.
The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry. (PCH was our Wild Dunes Author) Patti writes lyrically and with insight that always draws me into her story. The Favorite Daughter is about a family struggling with their father’s Alzheimer’s disease. As it slowly steals their father’s memories, the siblings rush to preserve his life in stories and photographs. They learn his secret past that sends the heroine on a journey of self- discovery.
Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews. (MKA was our Wild Dunes Author) I always love to read Mary Kay’s newest summer book. Her wit and wisdom create a page turning read. For Sunset Beach, an office romance builds, a decades-old missing persons case is re-opened, and there’s a cottage in rehab (I love that twist).
Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank. (DBF was our Wild Dunes Author) Dottie Frank writes a heartfelt and funny book with quirky characters we love. Beekeeper Holly McNee Jensen quietly lives in a world of her own on Sullivan’s Island tending her hives, till her daughters create havoc and humor in her life. Current issues of transgender and bees offer a strong backdrop to the story.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Set on the coast of North Carolina, I loved the description of the natural world (no surprise there); but what surprised me was how her descriptive details were fascinating. This book is one of the best books I’ve read…ever. ‘Nuff said. It’s an ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder.
Off Beach Books
Beyond Words by Carl Safina Carl is an eloquent writer and thinker. I’ve read all of his books and recommend his newest especially. Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina's landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animal. You will feel the connections he makes.
The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah A beautiful writer, Kristen pushed herself and the story to the limits in this harrowing story of a modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska.
Favorite Books of Authors Coming to the Wild Dunes “Conversation with Mary Alice Monroe” Event January 19, 2020. Women of Influence and Power Throughout the Ages
The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg (Contemporary) Elizabeth writes luminously about the everyday occurrences that shine in our lives. The Pull of the Moon explores a woman's experience, the uniqueness of living in our skin, and also about aging. Your husband should read this, too!
The Huntress by Kate Quinn. (WWII) Following The Alice Network, Kate keeps us on the edge of our seats in this story of a Nazi hunter. One target eludes him: a vicious predator known as the Huntress. To find her, the fierce, disciplined investigator joins forces with the only witness to escape the Huntress alive: the brazen, cocksure Nina.
The Lost Queen by Signe Pike. (Medieval) I’ve known this story since its inception so I can’t say enough about how Signe brilliantly brought to life this amazing historical tale. Compared to Outlander and The Mists of Avalon, this thrilling first novel of a debut trilogy reveals the untold story of Languoreth—a forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legend of Merlin.
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