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Summer Islandby Kristin Hannah
Synopses & Reviews
An early evening rain had fallen. In the encroaching darkness, the streets of Seattle lay like mirrored strips between the glittering gray high-rises.
The dot-com revolution had changed this once quiet city, and even after the sun had set, the clattering, hammering sounds of construction beat a constant rhythm. Buildings sprouted overnight, it seemed, reaching higher and higher into the soggy sky. Purple-haired kids with nose rings and ragged clothes zipped through downtown in brand-new, bright-red Ferraris.
On a corner lot in the newly fashionable neighborhood of Belltown, there was a squat, wooden-sided structure that used to sit alone. It had been built almost one hundred years earlier, when few people had wanted to live so far from the heart of the city.
The owners of radio station KJZZ didn't care that they no longer fit in this trendy area. For fifty years they had broadcast from this lot. They had grown from a scrappy local station to Washington's largest.
Part of the reason for their current wave of success was Nora Bridge, the newest sensation in talk radio.
Although her show, Spiritual Healing with Nora, had been in syndication for less than a year, it was already a bona fide hit. Advertisers and affiliates couldn't write checks fast enough, and her weekly newspaper advice column, "Nora Knows Best," had never been more popular. It appeared in more than 2,600 papers nationwide.
Nora had started her career as a household hints adviser for a small-town newspaper, but hard work and a strong vision had moved her up the food chain. The women of Seattle had been the first to discover her unique blend of passion and morality; the rest of the country had soon followed.
Reviewers claimed that she could see a way through any emotional conflict; more often than not, they mentioned the purity of her heart.
But they were wrong. It was the impurity in her heart that made her successful. She was an ordinary woman who'd made extraordinary mistakes. She understood every nuance of need and loss.
There was never a time in her life, barely even a moment, when she didn't remember what she'd lost. What she'd thrown away. Each night she brought her own regrets to the microphone, and from that wellspring of sorrow, she found compassion.
She had managed her career with laserlike focus, carefully feeding the press a palatable past. Even the previous week when People magazine had featured her on the cover, there had been no investigative story on her life. She had covered her tracks well. Her fans knew she'd been divorced and that she had grown daughters. The hows and whys of her family's destruction remained-thankfully-private.
Tonight, Nora was on the air. She scooted her wheeled chair closer to the microphone and adjusted her headphones. A computer screen showed her the list of callers on hold. She pushed line two, which read: Marge/mother-daughter probs.
"Hello and welcome, Marge, you're on the air with Nora Bridge. What's on your mind this evening?"
"Hello . . . Nora?" The caller sounded hesitant, a little startled at actually hearing her voice on the air after waiting on hold for nearly an hour.
Nora smiled, although only her producer could see it. Her fans, she'd learned, were often anxious. She lowered her voice, gentled it. "How can I help you, my friend?"
The bestselling author of "On Mystic Lake" and "Angel Falls" turns her eye to another kind of love and reconciliation--that of an estranged mother and daughter. In "Summer Island" the secrets of the past lead to a renewal of love and healing.
Talk-show host Nora Bridge insists that her estranged daughter Ruby, a struggling comedienne, come to her childhood home in the San Juan islands while Nora convalesces. Ruby has her own agenda, including writing a tell-all biography of her famous mother.
The author of the cherished bestsellerOn Mystic Lakereturns with a poignant, funny, luminous novel about a mother and daughter--the complex ties that bind them, the past that separates them, and the healing that comes with forgiveness. Years ago, Nora Bridge walked out on her marriage and left her daughters behind. She has since become a famous radio talk-show host and newspaper columnist beloved for her moral advice. Her youngest daughter, Ruby, is a struggling comedienne who uses her famous mother as fuel for her bitter, cynical humor. When the tabloids unearth a scandalous secret from Nora's past, their estrangement suddenly becomes dramatic: Nora is injured in an accident and a glossy magazine offers Ruby a fortune to write a tell-all about her mother. Under false pretenses, Ruby returns home to take care of the woman she hasn't spoken to for almost a decade. Nora insists they retreat to Summer Island in the San Juans, to the lovely old house on the water where Ruby grew up, a place filled with childhood memories of love and joy and belonging. There Ruby is also reunited with her first love and his brother. Once, the three of them had been best friends, inseparable. Until the summer that Nora had left and everyone's hearts had been broken. . . . What began as an expose evolves, as Ruby writes, into an exploration of her family's past. Nora is not the woman Ruby has hated all these years. Witty, wise, and vulnerable, she is desperate to reconcile with her daughter. As the magazine deadline draws near and Ruby finishes what has begun to seem to her an act of brutal betrayal, she is forced to grow up and at last to look at her mother--and herself--through the eyes of a woman. And she must, finally, allow herself to love. Summer Islandis a beautiful novel, funny, tender, sad, and ultimately triumphant.
About the Author
Kristin Hannah is the bestselling author of On Mystic Lake and Angel Falls. She lives with her husband and son on an island in the Pacific Northwest.
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