From the New York Times bestselling author of Moon Shell Beach—a moving new novel about an unexpectedly magical summer for three generations of women.
At thirty, Charlotte Wheelwright remains the dreamer she’s always been. But when she begins an organic garden on a portion of her grandmother’s land, Charlotte learns to plant her feet in solid ground and begins to build a new life.
More often than not, ninety-year-old Nona Wheelwright contentedly spends her time reminiscing about days gone by. But with her family’s annual reunion and financial meeting looming, Nona must give up her days of quiet solitude to soothe her easily riled up family.
For decades Charlotte’s mother, Helen, who married into the illustrious Wheelwright family, has been pressured to adhere to their way of life. But when, during the course of the family’s annual summer retreat, she discovers her husband’s betrayal, Helen wonders if she sacrificed her dreams for the wrong reasons.
Artfully written and set on the glorious island of Nantucket, Nancy Thayer’s Summer House is a vibrant and stirring novel about family, love, and daily choices that affect entire lives.
"Summer House" is the story of a family told from the viewpoints of three different women (all members of the family of course). Nona is the 90 year old grandmother and matriarch of the family, Helen is her 50-something daughter-in-law and Charlotte is her 30-year old granddaughter (Helen's daughter). The Wheelwright family gathers at their summer house in Nantucket, where Charlotte is currently residing with Nona, to have a "family meeting" where they discuss various issues and hopefully squeeze in a little vacation time.
Throughout the chapters, the narrative protagonist switches between these three women letting the reader get a little insight into each of their lives & concerns.
Charlotte is focused on her pride & joy -- her organic garden. She started the garden on a portion of her grandmother's land a few years before and turned it into a successful business. She is the "dreamer" of the family, but she's realizing that investing so much time & energy into her garden has made her much more grounded than she ever was.
Helen probably carries the biggest burden of the family. She has been molded into being the perfect wife and Wheelwright. However, the price for being the perfect wife -- giving up her own dreams & aspirations. This was a summer of secrets revealed for her. She learns of her husband's infidelities which makes her question the decisions she's made over the course of her life. Such as, has she been a good wife? a good mother? Charlotte is still unmarried with no prospects for a husband or children. Oliver, the middle child, is living in San Fran with his partner Owen and her youngest is an alcoholic and drug addict who makes an appearance at the summer house with a new pregnant wife in tow.
Nona is getting up in years and spends much of her time reminiscing of her past in the 1940's. She lost her beloved husband, Herb several years before which left her as the head of the family. And even though she is far from her youthful days, the family still respects her. With the family gathered at her home, she has given up her peaceful daily routine and has accepted that she might have to be the one to reign in her crazy family.
No family is perfect or without its share of drama and this book is about how each member of the family affects another and how to deal with their issues. With the story written from the viewpoint of three women all in different phases of their lives, it illustrates how age affects perspective...the same event has three different sides!
This is a perfect summer read :)