The Goo Goo Dolls once sang: “Scars are souvenirs you never lose; the past is never far.” This summer, there are two brand-new beach reads that encompass the exact notion that the memories of a painful past will always haunt you, no matter how far you run.
In her latest book, New York Times best-selling author Karen White explores the effects of a family’s buried history. In The Sound of Glass (New American Library), White introduces the reader to Merritt Heyward, a woman still reeling from guilt over her husband’s sudden death and the pain of her mother’s tragic passing.
When Merritt learns that her husband Cal’s late grandmother has bequeathed her home to her deceased grandson, she sees it as an opportunity for a fresh start. Merritt uproots her life in Maine and moves into Cal’s childhood home in South Carolina, but what she finds when she gets there is the exact opposite of what she wants: company. With the intrusion of her too-young stepmother and 10-year-old half-brother, Cal’s mysterious legacy (including a handsome brother), and a suitcase full of secrets, Merritt finds anything but peace. While she might not find what she was originally looking for, she discovers what she ultimately needs to heal. White’s story – which was inspired by the 1955 crash of United Airlines Flight 629 – is a touching tale of forgiveness, friendship and taking chances on love.
Summer Secrets (St. Martin’s Press) is the new novel by acclaimed author Jane Green, who hits a homerun with her tale of a recovering alcoholic who can’t seem to shake the sins of her past. In this emotionally charged novel, Green tells the story of Cat, a journalist living in London who has struggled with fitting in and maintaining sobriety throughout her life. At 29, she learns her recently deceased – and unloving – dad is not her real father, and she is introduced to a new biological family in Nantucket. (Her mother, stuck in an unhappy marriage, had a summer fling while visiting her aunt on the Massachusetts island). Cat finally feels like she has found her place in the world among her new family – until she ruins it with her drinking. After years of struggling with alcoholism, laced with bouts of sobriety and relapses, she finally hits rock bottom, losing her husband, her daughter and her job. She realizes that she must make amends with those she has hurt in the past. Her journey through sobriety brings her back to Nantucket nearly 15 years after the incident that changed her life and the lives of her half-sisters. What follows is an honest and very real account of the courage it takes to face one’s past, accept one’s flaws and embrace love and forgiveness when you least expect it.
Reader bonus: Jane Green will participate in a literary luncheon and book signing on July 9 at Where the Sidewalk Ends bookstore in Harwich. For more information, visit booksonthecape.com.
By Kimberly Dunbar