Mary Alice Monroe's new novel - The Summer Guests!
A hurricane is set to strike the Florida and North Carolina coasts. Grace Phillips lives inland and has offered a number of her diverse group of friends to take refuge at her inland farm. The one thing they have in common? Horses.
The weather mirrors the lives of the large character cast. As the hurricane threatens, the lives of the characters are facing stormy times. When the storm hits, lives change and as the storm eases up, new paths are set for almost everyone over the course of ten days. (And a lot happens!)
All types of relationships are explored - friendship, mother/daughter, romantic, working - and horses. I am completely in the dark about equine matters and I learned quite a bit from Monroe's descriptions and settings. Again, much of the equine situations mirror what's going on in the lives of the group.
It is a diverse group and readers will gravitate towards some players (I really liked Moira and her mother Grace - maybe we'll see them in a future book?). And dislike others. With so many characters, the narrative changed often and I felt like I didn't really get to 'know' them as much as I would have liked.
The Summer Guests takes inspiration from Munroe's own life and experiences through an evacuation, her knowledge of the horse community and of course, the Southern settings.
This was a first read of Mary Alice Monroe for me. The Summer Guests engaged me, the story was entertaining and it just seemed right for beach reading. See for yourself - here's an excerpt of The Summer Guests.
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