Thursday, July 25, 2013

Review: The Summer Girls

The Summer Girls
By Mary Alice Monroe
Published: June 25, 2013

Three granddaughters. Three months. One summer house. 

In this enchanting trilogy set on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe captures the complex relationships between three half sisters scattered across the country—and a grandmother determined to help them rediscover their family bonds. 

Set amid ancient live oaks and palmettos, overlooking the water, historic Sea Breeze is Marietta Muir’s ancestral summer home. Her granddaughters once adored vacations there, but it’s been years since they’ve visited. Mamaw fears once she is gone, the family bonds will fray. The Muir family is one of Charleston’s oldest and the blood of their pirate captain ancestor runs strong, so Marietta drops a subtle promise of loot—pearl necklaces, priceless antique furniture, even the house—to lure her “summer girls” back to the lowcountry. 

For years, Carson Muir has drifted, never really settling, certain only that a life without the ocean is a life half lived. Adrift and penniless in California, Carson is the first to return to Sea Breeze, wondering where things went wrong . . . until the sea she loves brings her a minor miracle. Her astonishing bond with a dolphin helps Carson renew her relationships with her sisters and face the haunting memories of her ill-fated father. As the rhythms of the island open her heart, Carson begins to imagine the next steps toward her future. 

In this heartwarming novel, three sisters discover the true treasures Sea Breeze offers as surprising truths are revealed, mistakes forgiven, and precious connections made that will endure long beyond one summer.

My review:

The Summer Girls tells the story of three sisters who share the same father, a man with many flaws. Carson lived with her father while Dora and Harper lived with their respective mothers. The only time they saw each other was during their childhood summers at their grandmother's home, Sea Breeze. Now years later they are not close at all but have returned to Sea Breeze for one final summer.

The book focuses on Carson although there are chapters from the POV of her sisters and Marietta too. It was nice to see the perspectives from Carson's sisters and how they each viewed things (and each other) differently. I found it more difficult to like Dora though I did feel bad for her as she is going through a divorce and dealing with raising a special needs child on her own. She was judgmental and pushy which made it harder to like her. Harper is more similar to Carson though she grew up with her wealthy (and controlling) mom. 

What I really liked about this book was the focus on the relationships of the three sisters and their misconceptions and the healing process that begins. I also liked Carson and admired the way she finally faced her personal demons to get the help she needed. The addition of a love interest for Carson was also a bonus and I appreciated the growth that Carson goes through when it comes to relationships and her ability to trust. 

Unfortunately one of the things about the book that I didn't like was the dolphin "Delphine". At first I enjoyed the way that Delphine interacted with Carson and seemed to help Dora's son but then I became annoyed by Carson's behavior towards the dolphin and the way she thinks she knows what is best rather than the experts. It is supposed to be a lesson for the reader but it just didn't work for me. I am sure that I will be in the minority and that most people will like the dolphin story line but I just didn't care for Carson's melodrama where the dolphin was concerned.

Overall I thought this was a good first book in this series. I liked the setting as well as the introduction to the sisters and their relationship to each other. Things aren't completely wrapped up as there is room for more growth and the other sisters get their own books. If you like books about sisterly bonds and family relationships and you are looking for a beach read, this might be one to pack in your bag. 

Note: I received an e-ARC for review purposes courtesy of Edelweiss and the publisher.


  1. I love that this book is about sisters (one of my favorite relationships to read) and the cover certainly makes it look like a beach read so sounds perfect for summer! Hope the rest of the series is also good :)

  2. I'm almost always a fan of sister books. I'm also almost always a fan of beach house/summer setting books. So I may have to check this one out. Great review!

  3. i really like books that focus on sisters--having 2 other sisters myself i can usually relate. it been a while since i read an adult novel like this though. i love beachy covers :)

  4. Looks like a good week. ENJOY!!

    I am reading The Husband's Secret. Pretty good so far.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Mailbox Monday

  5. A dolphin! I love dolphins, although I don't really like the sound of Carson's behavior around it. Still, this seems like a good story!

    Nice review :)


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