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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Beach House series comes a heartwarming and evocative novel about the bonds and new beginnings that are born from natural disasters and how, even during the worst of circumstances—or perhaps because of them—we discover what is most important in life.
Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast—the peach trees are ripe, the ocean is warm, and the sweet tea is icy. A perfect time to enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm surface bubbles a threat: it’s also peak hurricane season.
When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends Grace and Charles Phillips in North Carolina: the Phillips’s daughter Moira and her rescue dogs, famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz, makeup artist Hannah McLain, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and island resident Cara Rutledge. They bring with them only the few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but the Phillips, they must ride out the storm together.
During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn’t what they brought with them to the mountains. Rather, it’s what they’ll take with them once they leave.
With Mary Alice Monroe’s “usual resplendent storytelling” (Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author), The Summer Guests is a poignant and compelling story of self-discovery, love, and redemption.
About the Author
Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-seven books, including the bestselling The Beach House series. Monroe also writes children’s picture books, and a new middle grade fiction series called The Islanders. She is a member of the South Carolina Academy of Authors’ Hall of Fame, and her books have received numerous awards, including the South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing; the South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence; the SW Florida Author of Distinction Award; the RT Lifetime Achievement Award; the International Book Award for Green Fiction; the Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award; and her novel, A Lowcountry Christmas, won the prestigious Southern Prize for Fiction. The Beach House is a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, starring Andie MacDowell. Several of her novels have been optioned for film. She is the cocreator and cohost of the weekly web show and podcast Friends & Fiction. Monroe is also an active conservationist and serves on several boards. She lives on the South Carolina coast, which is a source of inspiration for many of her books.
“Following the dramatic arc of the hurricane’s progress, from buildup to landfall to dispersal, The Summer Guests escalates to a satisfying resolution. Loyal readers will recognize Monroe’s signature love of animals, while fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Wendy Wax will enjoy the picturesque setting and heartwarmingly intertwined character arcs.”
"Authentic, generous, and heartfelt!"
— New York Times bestselling author Mary Kay Andrews
"Fast-paced and fluid, with heartache as well as joy make this a most enjoyable read."
— New York Journal of Books
"Mary Alice Monroe writes gorgeously, with authority and tenderness, about the natural world and its power to inspire, transport, and to heal."
— #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs
“The Summer Guests in an intimate and wise novel about what matters most in our lives. Mary Alice Monroe writes with great wit and wisdom about what happens when both human nature and the natural world collide. A fierce hurricane bears down on the southeastern coast sending five people evacuating to one friend’s farm in the North Carolina mountains. As the storm gathers force so do the emotions, confrontations and decisions of the summer guests. In the end, they will each leave as altered as the coast they escaped. Mary Alice Monroe writes a story that will make you both feel and understand—a rare combination. Transformational and poignant, this page-turner is your summer’s must-read!”
— Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis
A "favorite beach read of 2019"
— Southern Living Magazine
"You might pick up her books for escapism, but you'll be more environmentally aware by its end."
— Chattanooga Times Free Press
"The Summer Guests is the story of mothers and daughters, a love story or two, and the mystical connection that happens between a rider and a horse."
— Belle Magazine
"A whirlwind of fascinating personal storylines propels soul searching, forgiveness, and second chances."
— Christian Science Monitor
"It's a wonderful book about family and friendship, love of others and learning to love yourself and self-discovery of goals for the future. Mary Alice has done it again and provided her readers with a book full of unforgettable characters and a fantastic storyline."
— Girl Who Reads
"This is a poignant and compelling story of self-discovery, love and redemption."
— JACKSONVILLE JOURNAL COURIER