The Summer Wind
By Mary Alice Monroe
Simon and Shuster
This is the second installment in the Low country Summer trilogy. In Last year’s opening edition The Summer Girls, Monroe introduced us to MeeMaw and her best friend Lucille and MeeMaw’s three disparate granddaughters–half sisters who seem to be living life as a crash course. MeeMaw brings them back to her Pawley’s Island home where they can spend the summer with her, as they did when they were children. It is her hope that before she sells the house to move to an assisted living, the idyllic life of the Island and her love for all of them can bring the sisters together again and restore their sense of adventure and belief in themselves. Dora, the eldest suffers from an unhappy marriage and is working hard to raise her autistic son, Nate without much input from his father. Harper, the youngest, is out of a job and Carson, struggling against alcoholism has also lost hers.
In the first book we meet Delphine the dolphin and are introduced to the damage human relationships can bring to wild dolphins. In this, the second book, all of the family is working at various ways to help Delphine recover and how to heal their own wounds. Lucille takes a greater role in this book, providing direct counseling to Carson and we see the depth of her relationship to MeeMaw.
In this, the middle book of the trilogy, Dora finds that although her family has rallied around her, she must find the power to heal within herself. Harper is challenged when an unexpected visitor causes her to rethink the direction of her life. Carson, who took the lead in the first book and has been prime in the work to save Delphine, returns from the Dolphin rehabilitation Center in Florida to face a critical, life changing decision.
I loved how each incident, each new character and every conversation in the book move the story along. Monroe’s writing is as lean and elegant as the lovely young women who grace the beach. If you did not read the first book, it’s not a problem. Monroe skillfully provides enough back story in this one so that a new reader can enjoy it and old readers are lightly reminded without being bore, of events key to the lives of the main characters and that will be key to the plot of this book.
Like the Summer Wind of title, this book is a cool, refreshing breeze of a read, geared for the beach blanket season but with thoughtful issues, such as dolphin and turtle preservation introduced in just enough detail to give us substance in the story.
There is only one small problem with this book–I didn’t want it to end! I have to wait an entire year now to find out what happens to the Muir sisters and their grandmother.