Book Review: Summer Rental

Summer Rental
Narrated By: Isabel Keating
Published By: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: June 2011
Audio Length: 14 hours, 46 minutes
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Adult - Contemporary, Chick Lit

On the Story & Writing:

This is a perfect summer read if you're in the mood for some Chick Lit. The story follows three women who have been friends since childhood as they spend the month of August at a beach house in Nags Head, North Carolina. Like most stories that feature friends, these women are as different as night and day. Ellis is the practical one, but life hasn't been kind to her lately. She has just been laid off at work and once the month ends, she will have to face the stress of job hunting. Julia is the beautiful one. She spends her time living in London and working as a model, but she has some long buried secrets that could keep her from having a happily ever after. Dorie is the sweet, cute one. She's dealing with her own set of issues and tries to keep it hidden from her friends. As the three women converge on the Outer Banks, they will try to keep their worries and stresses hidden, but as friends always seem to do - things rise to the surface.

I loved the friendship between these three. It was realistic, hilarious, and heart warming. I found myself wanting to stay at Ebb Tide with them. I could easily see myself fitting into this little trio. All of the women would make amazing friends - flaws and all. This story also made me wish that I could afford the expense and time to spend an entire month at the beach with my friends. I envied the luxury and freedom of Ellis, Julia, and Dorie.

An additional plot strand follows Ty Bazemore, the owner of Ebb Tide, who is working his fingers to the bone to keep the old house. Financial troubles and a snobby ex wife plague Ty. Not only did I enjoy his parts of the story, but I loved the romance between him and one of the ladies. I appreciated that it wasn't insta-love. Like the friendships in this novel, the romance rang true.

Finally, there is another plot strand that focuses on Madison. She's running from a corrupt, abusive husband. She's come to Nag's Head on a whim, hoping that her husband won't find her. A chance encounter with Dorie brings her into Ebb Tide; her story becomes intertwined with the others.

There was certainly a lot going on in this novel, but it never seemed overwhelming. I did enjoy the parts with the friendship and romance took center stage. Madison's segments were not as enjoyable for me; I found myself wishing for these parts to end quickly so I could get back to the good stuff.

On the Audio:

Isabel Keating did a nice job with this one. She even managed to pull off the Southern accents in a passable manner. I'd listen to her other work without hesitation.

One Last Gripe: I want to know what happened next. I wasn't quite ready to leave the beach.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The summery southern beach setting

First Sentence: It was not an auspicious beginning for a vacation, let alone for a new life.

Favorite Character: Ellis

Least Favorite Character: Kendra

Sometimes, when you need a change in your life, the tide just happens to pull you in the right direction…

Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves, in their mid-thirties, at the crossroads of life and love. Ellis, recently fired from a job she gave everything to, is rudderless and now beginning to question the choices she's made over the past decade of her life. Julia--whose caustic wit covers up her wounds--has a man who loves her and is offering her the world, but she can't hide from how deeply insecure she feels about her looks, her brains, her life. And Dorie has just been shockingly betrayed by the man she loved and trusted the most in the world…though this is just the tip of the iceberg of her problems and secrets. A month in North Carolina's Outer Banks is just what they each of them needs.

Ty Bazemore is their landlord, though he's hanging on to the rambling old beach house by a thin thread. After an inauspicious first meeting with Ellis, the two find themselves disturbingly attracted to one another, even as Ty is about to lose everything he's ever cared about.

Maryn Shackleford is a stranger, and a woman on the run. Maryn needs just a few things in life: no questions, a good hiding place, and a new identity. Ellis, Julia, and Dorie can provide what Maryn wants; can they also provide what she needs?

Mary Kay Andrews' novel is the story of five people questioning everything they ever thought they knew about life. Five people on a journey that will uncover their secrets and point them on the path to forgiveness. Five people who each need a sea change, and one month in a summer rental that might just give it to them.