This book marks the end of a fabulous trilogy by Mary Alice Monroe, which centers around three half-sister’s who have returned to the Carolina low country to spend one last summer together with their grandmother on Sullivan's Island at the much loved Sea Breeze cottage that holds so many wonderful memories.
As the story opens I immediately felt the palpable loss of Lucille, and the grief felt by Mamaw, who is now eighty years old, and is feeling alone and hopeless with the loss of her very close friend.
But, this story is all about Harper for the most part, although Carson and Delphine's future is also given a fair amount of attention. Harper is the youngest of the sisters, a young lady with a massive trust fund, but she is miserable because her selfish and manipulative mother holds the purse strings, which keeps Harper from pursuing her dream of writing a book.
But, once she is in the magical embrace of Sea Breeze with Mamaw and meets Taylor, a friend of Carson's, Harper begins to discover the path to achieving her goals and dreams, but as in real life, there are hurdles to jump and a few bumps and pot holes in the road which she will have to deal with.
We also touch base with Dora and Nate, but Dora's story seems to have completed itself and we find she is doing very well, sticking to her guns with Devlin and doing the best she can by Nate.
As for Carson, I wish I had better things to report. Carson is still the most self-absorbed person in the world! I had high hopes for her, and while I did see some improvement with her decision to finally deal with her alcohol issues and with the very emotional bond she has with Delphine, I hated the way she was so jealous of Harper, jealous of the happiness of others and the way she treated Blake. The best part of her story has been with the dolphin, Delphine, and I have to admit the conclusion of this thread did leave me with a lump in my throat. Delphine may have been the most inspiring character in the whole series.
“When Delphine looked at me, I didn't see forgiveness. For her the past was already forgotten. Delphine lives in the moment. All I saw in her was love. Acceptance. Joy. She was so happy to be back home. She showed me what release meant.”
While Dora and Carson saw slow gradual changes over the summer they spent at Sea Breeze, Harper arrived and saw her life change in a flash. She stands up to her mother, she meets the love of her life, writes a book, and buys a house, all in a matter of weeks! Whew! While in reality we would probably tell the girl she needs to think about all these major life changes, look before you leap, and all that, but in this case, we have to believe in the magic that floats in the air surrounding Sea Breeze and trust that it knows what is best for these ladies.
But, what about Mamaw? Have no fear, Mamaw has made friends with Harper's other grandmother, and she has a new 'special' friend that will see her through, knowing that Sea Breeze is in good hands and all those fabulous memories will stay alive and be passed on to future generations.
This is an outstanding women's fiction series and as the titles and book covers might suggest, they make perfect summer time “beach reads”, but it's a series I recommend for everyone, anytime. I have really enjoyed these novels and am so pleased with the conclusion. Sea Breeze is indeed a magical place.
In the powerful and heartwarming conclusion to her bestselling Lowcountry Summer trilogy, New York Times author Mary Alice Monroe brings her readers back to the charm and sultry beauty of Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, to reveal how the pull of family bonds and true love is as strong and steady as the tides.
It is summer’s end and Sea Breeze, the family’s beloved estate on Sullivan’s Island, must be sold. It is an emotional time of transition as Mamaw and the three sisters each must face loss and find a new place in the world.
Harper, the youngest sister, arrived at Sea Breeze intending to stay only a weekend, but a rift with her wealthy, influential mother left her without direction or a home. During this remarkable summer, free from her mother’s tyranny and with the help of her half sisters, Harper discovered her talents and independent spirit.
But summer is ending, and the fate of Sea Breeze hinges on Harper’s courage to decide the course of her own life. To do so she must release her insecurities and recognize her newfound strengths. She must accept love fully into her life—the love of Mamaw, Carson, and Dora, the love of Sea Breeze and the lowcountry, and most of all, the love of a Wounded Warrior who has claimed her heart.
The third book in Mary Alice Monroe’s trilogy that brims with “stories that touch the mind and heart of her readers” (Huffington Post), The Summer’s End follows three half sisters bound by love for their grandmother and the timeless beauty and traditions of the lowcountry.