Summer Island (Nova Audio Books)

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9781587883026: Summer Island (Nova Audio Books)
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Thirty-four year old Ruby Bridge is a not-too-successful comedienne who uses her mother, a nationally-syndicated "moral and spiritual counselor" as the main fodder for her cynical, rather bitter humor. Her mother Nora, long divorced from Ruby's father, is a woman whose past is just about to catch up with her - in the form of blackmail by a former lover. After an accident (an attempted suicide?) Ruby returns to care for her stricken mother - bitterly resenting the fact that once again her mother's life has colonized hers. When she is approached by a publisher to write a biography of her mother, Ruby is desperate for the princely sum offered. Yet her research into her mother's past reveals a woman very different from the one Ruby expected. And what began as "mommy dearest" ends as a love story - not only between mother and daughter, but involving two very different men who play a key role in linking the past to the present.

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Review:

Few authors dare to truly analyze the complex natures of mother-daughter relationships. In her novel Summer Island, author Kristin Hannah perfectly captures the bittersweet, inspiring, disappointing, tragic, and human aspects of such a relationship. Set in the tranquil, present-day San Juan Islands, Summer Island presents itself as a deep investigation of the ramifications of a mother's abandonment of her two daughters. Unlike many similar novels, this one delivers the goods.

When Nora Bridge left her husband and her two daughters 10 years ago, she took the only route she could see, and assumed she still had her daughters' love. Now, though she is distant from her own daughters, Nora is the hostess of a radio advice show, where she advises listeners that "family comes first." When a scandal breaks and Nora hits rock bottom, she finds she has to rely on the two people she has betrayed most deeply: her daughters, Ruby and Caroline.

As an aspiring and failing comedian, Ruby's life in Los Angeles has shrunk into a directionless morass. She says when she dismisses superstition, "As if she needed magic to tell her that she was stuck in the spin cycle of her life." Though neither she nor Caroline are inclined to help their mother, Ruby finally agrees when a magazine offers to pay her for a tell-all exposé.

With a masterful balance of cutting wit, realistic dialogue, and lyrical description, Summer Island is by far Hannah's greatest work. Mothers, daughters, and sisters are sure to mark the passages and lend this novel to each other. If this is the standard for future Hannah novels, her fan base is sure to grow.--Nancy R.E. O'Brien

From the Inside Flap:

The author of the cherished bestseller On Mystic Lake returns with a poignant, funny, luminous novel about a mother and daughter--the complex ties that bind them, the past that separates them, and the healing that comes with forgiveness.

Years ago, Nora Bridge walked out on her marriage and left her daughters behind. She has since become a famous radio talk-show host and newspaper columnist beloved for her moral advice. Her youngest daughter, Ruby, is a struggling comedienne who uses her famous mother as fuel for her bitter, cynical humor. When the tabloids unearth a scandalous secret from Nora's past, their estrangement suddenly becomes dramatic: Nora is injured in an accident and a glossy magazine offers Ruby a fortune to write a tell-all about her mother. Under false pretenses, Ruby returns home to take care of the woman she hasn't spoken to for almost a decade.

Nora insists they retreat to Summer Island in the San Juans, to the lovely old house on the water where Ruby grew up, a place filled with childhood memories of love and joy and belonging. There Ruby is also reunited with her first love and his brother. Once, the three of them had been best friends, inseparable. Until the summer that Nora had left and everyone's hearts had been broken. . . .

What began as an expose evolves, as Ruby writes, into an exploration of her family's past. Nora is not the woman Ruby has hated all these years. Witty, wise, and vulnerable, she is desperate to reconcile with her daughter. As the magazine deadline draws near and Ruby finishes what has begun to seem to her an act of brutal betrayal, she is forced to grow up and at last to look at her mother--and herself--through the eyes of a woman. And she must, finally, allow herself to love.

Summer Island is a beautiful novel, funny, tender, sad, and ultimately triumphant.

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