Driftwood Summer and The Lovers
Driftwood Summer by Patti Callahan Henry
Among many other things, I’m a sucker for a story that deals with the strong and complicated relationships that exist within families. Probably because we all have them, it’s too easy to take them for granted, and we sometimes need to be reminded of their importance through books or TV/cinema. Driftwood Summer is one of those books. It takes place in a quaint Southern beach town and centers around a bookstore and the family that owns it; enter the typical crazy, controlling mother, Kitsy Sheffield, and her three daughters. With summer, comes secrets, resentment, love and, eventually, forgiveness.
Driftwood Summer is an engaging novel—although at times a bit clichéd—that isn’t too overly intense when it comes to the Sheffield sister’s drama. There’s a light, clean romance that isn’t the center of the story and the message of family being there for you through it all no matter what is strong. Overall, I say this is a worthy read for the end of summer.
The Lovers by John Connolly
Don’t let the title fool you—this is not a romance novel. If you’re familiar with the author at all, you’ll know it’s a crime thriller with a paranormal twist. My mom recommended this book to me, and I have to admit that after finishing The Lovers, I hurried over to my local library to see what other John Connolly books were available; more specifically, what other Charlie Parker novels were out. He is a fantastic writer, with in-depth plots so far from predictable that I eventually stopped trying to guess “who done it.”
Charlie’s first wife and daughter were murdered gruesomely, and although he caught and killed the guilty party (in a prior book), he’s still haunted—literally—by their ghosts and what happened. The Lovers brings in the history of his police officer father, who ended up killing two unarmed teens and ultimately committed suicide. Charlie knows there’s more to the story and he’s committed to finding out what. That’s when Charlie Parker gets more than he bargained for and more than he understands.
Although there is a paranormal element to the Charlie Parker series, it was watered down and still made the storyline believable, and at the end of the story, there was a real solution, not just a deus ex machina sort of ending, and I appreciated that. The book is at times a bit dark, dealing with some pretty gruesome murders and a few reincarnated demon-type characters, so I wouldn’t recommend it to the faint of heart. But if you like a good thriller and are a fan of the mysterious paranormal, this is right up your alley.