Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Same Beach, Next Year (Book Review)

Title: Same Beach, Next Year
Author: Dorothea Benton Frank
Publication: William Morrow, Trade Paperback, April 2018 (originally published 2017)
Genre: Fiction
Plot: New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank returns to the Lowcountry of South Carolina in a warm story of marriage, love, family, and friendship that is infused with humor.

One enchanted summer, two couples begin a friendship that will last more than twenty years and transform their lives.  A chance meeting on the Isle of Palms, one of Charleston’s most stunning barrier islands, brings former sweethearts, Adam Stanley and Eve Landers together again. Their respective spouses, Eliza and Carl, fight sparks of jealousy flaring from their imagined rekindling of old flames. As Adam and Eve get caught up on their lives, their partners strike up a deep friendship—and flirt with an unexpected attraction—of their own.

Year after year, Adam, Eliza, Eve, and Carl look forward to their reunion at Wild Dunes, a condominium complex at the island’s tip end, where they grow closer with each passing day, building a friendship that will withstand financial catastrophe, family tragedy, and devastating heartbreak. The devotion and love they share will help them weather the vagaries of time and enrich their lives as circumstances change, their children grow up and leave home, and their twilight years approach.

Full of the richness of Dorothea Benton Frank’s appealing Lowcountry—the sunshine, cool ocean breezes, icy cocktails, and velvet skies—Same Beach, Next Year is a celebration of the infrangible power of friendship, the enduring promise of summer, and the indelible bonds of love.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins * Amazon * Barnes & Noble * IndieBound

Audience: Readers who enjoy Luanne Rice, Nancy Thayer, Mary Kay Andrews, and Barbara Delinsky will like this book, made for summer or beach reading.
Interior of Saint Spyridon, Corfu
My Impressions: Dorothea Benton Frank is a New York Times bestselling author and has a big following but I had not read her myself until her recent All Summer Long.  I liked this book much more.  The author’s descriptions of food were especially enticing!  It has the appealing Lowcountry setting (how did I spend two years at Duke without exploring this part of the world?) and a character-driven feel-good story that makes you want to know what happens next.  The pace was perhaps a little too relaxing and lulled the reader into thinking little was happening, which is not the case, but I think the author was trying to show the passage of time as she follows two couples and their families for 20 years.

The most moving moment of the story occurs when Eliza visits Corfu, a place I have always found fascinating (maybe it's time to plan my next trip - no, I need to unpack from England first).  After her mother died when Eliza was 11, she lost touch with that side of her family and I found myself almost tearful when she is reunited with her mother’s sister. Eliza also visits the shrine of Saint Spyridon in a 16th century church in Corfu which reminded me of one of my favorite Mary Stewarts, This Rough Magic.   Her heroine, Lucy Waring, is staying with her sister on Corfu and also is affected by Saint Spyridon.  Stewart wrote:

The Holy Reliquary of Saint Spyridon, Corfu
"Palm Sunday . . . is one of the four occasions in the year when the island Saint, Spiridion, is brought out of the church where he lies the year round in a dim shrine all smoky with taperlight, and is carried through the streets in his golden palanquin.  It is not an image of the Saint, but his actual mummified body, which is carried in the procession, and this, somehow, makes him a very personal and homely kind of patron saint to have: the islanders believe he has Corfu and all its people in his personal and benevolent care, and has nothing to do but concern himself deeply in all their affairs, however trivial…”

When Eliza touches the Saint’s foot, she feels a sense of benediction (well, she is not religious so compares it to LSD), showing Saint Spyridon is still a powerful presence both in Corfu and closer to home.  Interestingly, there are two Greek Orthodox churches named for St. Spyridon near me, a cathedral in Worcester, MA and one in Newport, RI.  
Source: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and TLC Book Tours for review purposes. You can visit other stops on the tour and read the reviews by clicking below:

Review Stops
Tuesday, April 24th: A Soccer Mom’s Book Blog
Wednesday, April 25th: The Book Date
Thursday, April 26th: The Geeky Bibliophile
Friday, April 27th: Books and Bindings
Monday, April 30th: Instagram: @prose_and_palate
Tuesday, May 1st: Instagram: @booeneticsThursday, May 3rd: Time 2 Read
Monday, May 7th: Wining Wife
Tuesday, May 8: Jessicamap Reviews
Wednesday, May 9th: Bibliotica
Thursday, May 10th: A Bookish Affair
Monday, May 14th: bookchickdi
Tuesday, May 15th: Instagram: @Novelmombooks
Wednesday, May 16th: Broken Teepee
Thursday, May 17th: Always With a Book

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

This sounds like the perfect book to help get me in the mood for summer vacation!

Thanks for being a part of the tour!