by Kristin Hannah
Since we’re in the midst of an early heat wave, I thought it would be appropriate to review a good beach read for you. As always, the author tells us a story of a family who has their share of “issues” (like most families) and their desire to heal and to love each other again. No one does feelings and emotions better than Kristin Hannah.
The story begins with Nora Bridge, “the newest sensation in talk radio” on the air with her show Spiritual Healing with Nora. Some reviewers mention the purity of her heart. But, to Nora it’s more the impurity of her heart that makes her successful. You see, the public doesn’t know the real story of her past, the fact that she walked out on her husband and two daughters’ years ago.
Nora’s youngest daughter, Ruby, is a struggling comedian who often uses her famous mother as material for her cynical humor. She has never forgiven her mother for leaving them and hasn’t seen Nora in almost a decade. So, when a scandalous secret is discovered about Nora’s past, Ruby is offered an opportunity to write a tell-all story about her mother.
When Nora’s career blows up from the negative tabloid coverage of her indiscretion, she is involved in a very serious car accident. Since she needs a care taker during her recovery the most unlikely person, Ruby, reluctantly takes on the job and Nora insists they spend the time on Summer Island in the lovely old house where Ruby grew up. What a bitter sweet time filled with memories of love and joy before she was abandoned.
As time passes Ruby discovers that Nora is not the woman she has hated all these years. She is forced to grow up and to understand that there were circumstances she had never known about that caused her mother to leave and that she desperately wanted to reconcile with her daughter.
Summer Island is a lovely novel that is filled with other side stories like Ruby’s teenage love who has never found anyone like her, and a young man with terminal cancer who lives on the island and is like a son to Nora for instance.
The surprising thing to me was the humor that Ms. Hannah includes in these emotional story lines. It makes the story lighter and not at all like a soap opera of family problems. I’ve read many of her books and have always admired her ability to make you feel that you know her characters on a very personal level.