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Summers at the Saint


Summers at the Saint

With her latest novel, SUMMERS AT THE SAINT, prolific New York Times bestselling author Mary Kay Andrews will delight fans and newcomers alike. It just might be her best novel yet. The story concerns an oceanside town, a monied seaside resort with a history, the summer residents versus the "townies," and Traci Eddings, the widow who is now running the St. Cecelia, which is known affectionately as "the Saint." Traci was a townie when she fell in love with the son of the resort's owner. They married, and he ran the place until his untimely death in a plane crash.

Traci's GM, Charlie Burroughs, has worked at the resort for decades. Traci's father-in-law doesn't like her, nor does her brother-in-law, Ric, both of whom are despicable men. But she adores Ric's daughter, Parrish, and it's Parrish's help she needs as the summer season is approaching and the hotel is hemorrhaging employees to new resorts opening up along the coast. Traci begs Parrish to put off her semester in Europe to work one last summer at the Saint, admitting that if she doesn't get Parrish's help, there might not be a Saint in the future. That's how bad business is.

"SUMMERS AT THE SAINT is the quintessential 'beach read' book. It provides plenty of intrigue, many beautifully delineated and likable characters, a protagonist we really come to empathize with and root for, and a soupçon of romance."

We love reading about the resort and the snooty members. Some stay in the hotel, while others have homes on the grounds. All expect the highest standard of living --- from the coffee at breakfast to the pillows they lay their carefully coiffed heads on at night, and every moment in between. We see how Parrish deals with the disgruntled customers, and Andrews cleverly lays out clues to alert us that all is not right at the Saint.

The narration alternates from different points of view that are clearly labeled at the beginning of the chapters. It's all in third person, and Andrews is a master at creating action and dialogue that move the story along at a breakneck pace. At over 400 pages, this is not a short novel, but I read it in one day because I really wanted to know how it all wrapped up. At the end, there was much that I had suspected, but there also was much that I had not. Andrews creates a plot in which there are several rogue actors, and while some of the villains are very good at what they do, others are so inept that the unfortunate results of their efforts are heartbreaking.

SUMMERS AT THE SAINT is the quintessential "beach read" book. It provides plenty of intrigue, many beautifully delineated and likable characters, a protagonist we really come to empathize with and root for, and a soupçon of romance. Andrews' clever use of the terms to describe the rich versus the townies, the "Saints" and the "Aints," is perhaps a wry look at the chasm that exists in many summer vacation spots (especially those in fiction) where the wealthy congregate and the not-so-wealthy cater to them. There are twists galore, some of which we predict and others of which are surprising.

The ending is quite satisfying and leaves us wishing that we could visit the Saint so we could sit under the pink and white striped umbrellas on the beach, watch the sun set to the west over the river, and dine in the elegant Verandah restaurant where the new chef is whipping up delicious seafood and scrumptious desserts. This is definitely a book you'll want to pack for your own seaside summer vacation.

Reviewed by Pamela Kramer on May 10, 2024

Summers at the Saint
by Mary Kay Andrews

  • Publication Date: May 7, 2024
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 1250278384
  • ISBN-13: 9781250278388