Several months ago, I was offered an Advanced Reader Copy of The Summer Guests, the latest novel written by one of my favorite authors, Mary Alice Monroe. It was such an honor, but after I got over the shock and thrill of the offer, I immediately accepted. Now I’m so excited to share my thoughts on Monroe’s latest book (totally fan-girling over here).
The Summer Guests has officially been been released as of today, and you can buy your copy here.
If you live or have ever lived near the East Coast, you’re probably familiar with the threat of hurricanes. You may have evacuated from one or two of them in your lifetime (we’ve evacuated twice in the three years I’ve lived here), and you know that underlying dread you feel as you gather the items that are most valuable to you, pack your car, and drive away, wondering if your home will still be standing when you return after the storm. What do you take? What’s most important to you? Your jewelry? Your photographs? Your animals?
For the characters in The Summer Guests, the world of equine sports is what brings six guests to Freehold Farm, a few of them bringing their beloved horses and dogs. In addition to the hastily packed suitcases, each guest brings some additional baggage—but not the kind you can see or hold. Monroe explores all types of relationships in The Summer Guests—relationships between married couples, mothers and daughters, and friends. Every dynamic that she writes is so relatable and realistic, and I felt as if I was reading about people I knew.
The Summer Guests feels like a bit of a departure from Monroe’s usual work, but I didn’t mind that. Instead of the South Carolina Lowcountry, this book is set in the mountains of North Carolina. Instead of sea turtles or dolphins or shorebirds, Monroe focuses on the horses in this book and the bond that horses and humans have. I think this book might be more geared towards an older audience (maybe 40+) but I still enjoyed it, and I think you will, too. The writing is so sophisticated and musical that you don’t realize how quickly you’re reading it and before you know it, you’ll reach the last page. And, once again, Monroe leaves you feeling as if you’ve just said goodbye to a group of your friends when you close the book.
If you need any other summer book recommendations, please let me know! I definitely recommend anything by Mary Alice Monroe, Mary Kay Andrews, Nancy Thayer, or Elin Hildebrand! Also, let me know if you have any books you think I should read!