Summer Island: A Novel
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Years ago, Nora Bridge walked out on her marriage and left her daughters behind. Now she is a famous talk show host. Her daughter Ruby is a struggling comedienne. The two haven’t spoken in more than a decade. Then a scandal from Nora’s past is exposed, and Ruby is offered a fortune to write a tell-all about her mother. Reluctantly, she returns to the family house on Summer Island, a home filled with frayed memories of joy and heartache. Confronting a past that includes a never-forgotten love, a sick best friend, and a mother who has harbored terrible family secrets, Ruby finally begins to understand the complex ties that bind a mother and daughter—and the healing that comes with forgiveness.
From the Paperback edition.
nicely squared yard around the farmhouse. Inside it, the garden was in full, riotous bloom. Obviously Caroline had paid a gardener to keep the place up. It looked as if the Bridge family had been gone a season instead of more than a decade. With a tired sigh, Ruby got out of the car. The tide made a low, snoring sound. Birds chattered overhead, surprised and dismayed by their unexpected guests. But no city sounds lived this far north, no horns or squealing tires or jets flying overhead. There
second ring. There was a moment of silence at the other end, the sound of a match flaring. “Hello?” “Hi, Leo. It’s me, Nora.” He inhaled, blew the smoke from his cigarette into the phone. It came through in a whooshing sound. “How are you?” “I’m fine,” she said, wondering if he could hear the lies in the same way that he could see them on her face. “You asked me to call when we arrived, so …” “You don’t sound fine.” “Well … Ruby and I are crowded in with a lot of old ghosts.” She tried to
they felt they’d lost. On Sundays, the sisters opened their small wooden chapel to their friends and neighbors. A priest from the monastery on a nearby island conducted quiet services in Latin. It was a humble church, where no one minded the cries of bored babies or the emptiness of a collection plate when times turned hard. Theirs was still the only store on the island. Ruby pulled the minivan into the gravel parking lot behind the “He Will Provide” grocery store and parked beside a rusty
and it reminded her of exactly how far apart they’d drifted. “I could never forget that.” “I don’t know. You’re good at forgetting the people who love you. The story starts in nineteen sixty-seven, just a few years before the whole damn world exploded. I was at the University of Washington; I’d just finished my senior year, and I was certain I’d get drafted into the NFL. So certain I never bothered to get a degree. I barely studied. Hell, they paid someone to take tests for me. Things were crazy
shimmering gold fabric and topped by a layer of opalescent silk. The china at each place setting was white with platinum trim. Four or five couples sat at each table, making idle conversation. The women were expensively, beautifully gowned and the men wore tuxedos. The party’s hostess, a local socialite, had hand-chosen the guest list from among the wealthiest of San Francisco’s families. Tonight’s charity was the opera, and it would benefit mightily, although Dean wondered how many of the guests