10 new beach-read books (or new in paperback) tied to Cape Cod & the Islands and how to meet the authors – Cape Cod Times

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To people who love books and summer, sitting on the beach or by a pool — or on a deck or in the yard — with a good story is a perfect way to while away a sunny afternoon.

For most people grabbing that leisure time, something too weighty or focused on world problems isn’t the first choice for what to throw in a bag with the sunblock. While lighter fare, family stories and romance get an eye roll from some, they are a pleasure however guilty for so many others. That’s how “beach reads” came to be, right? And why certain titles are published, or relaunched in paperback, at this time of year.

Here are 10 books that are either new or new to paperback and connected in some way to our ultimate beach spots of Cape Cod & the Islands. Their authors live here, at least part-time, or the writers have chosen to set stories here — or both.

Some of the stories are set in the present, some in the past. All are about relationships, with some life-changing — and in some cases, world-changing — issues to consider. 

Big bonus: These authors are on tours with their new works, so you can meet the writers, often listen to them talk, and get signed copies, at local bookstores. Some opportunities are this weekend, others later in the summer. (And if you can’t get to the event, there are often signed books available for purchase before or after.)

Another idea: ‘Summer Love’: 7 questions for Nantucket author Nancy Thayer about her new beach read

So grab a beach chair, some sunglasses and consider these ideas:

New titles

“The Edge of Summer,” by Erica George

This young adult book by George, a regular summer resident, is a beach read, but, her publisher says, “so much more than that.” Just before starting college, as part of a dream to save the whales, Coriander takes on a marine biology internship on Cape Cod. What she hoped would be a summer of healing after a tragedy gets more complicated when she meets a local lifeguard. George worked with the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, a leader in whale conservation, on research for this book and checked facts with the center. George says she hopes the book will jump-start conversations about science and marine life conservation. An author’s note includes information about how readers can aid in the effort to save these creatures from entanglement.

Appearances include June 28 at Titcomb’s Bookshop in Sandwich.

“Gilt,” by Jamie Brenner

“Gilt” is best-selling author Brenner’s seventh book, and returns to the Cape Cod setting of her “The Forever Summer” and “Summer Longing.” This new story is partly set in Provincetown, and relates a family tale of the Pavlins, famed jewelers until three sisters are pitted against each other over a famous family diamond ring. A decade after a tragedy, one daughter, Gemma becomes determined to reclaim her heritage and her family, and confront mistakes of the past in what’s described as a “joyous story about shifting family dynamics, self-discovery, and the power of forgiveness.”

Appearances include June 18 at Brewster Book Store and East End Books in Provincetown, and June 20 at Where the Sidewalk Ends in Chatham (book release is June 21)

“The Hotel Nantucket,” by Elin Hilderbrand

The 28th novel for Nantucket author Hilderbrand, the “queen of the beach reads,” is again set on her home island, this time at a hotel described as “a once Gilded Age gem turned abandoned eyesore” — a spot inspired by the Nantucket Hotel + Resort. Lizbet Keaton, the new general manager hopes this job will be a second act for her after a bad breakup with a longtime boyfriend. The book offers shifting perspectives as it explores a lot of other drama, too, with the staff and guests, the new billionaire owner, an Instagram influencer and even the ghost of a young woman killed in a tragic fire a century ago.

Appearances include June 24 at Brewster Book Store; multiple dates during July and August at Mitchell’s Book Corner on Nantucket; and an Aug. 4 appearance that includes fashion show and talk at the Nantucket Hotel

Another YA choice: ‘Lightning’ strikes: Cape Cod author Lauren Wolk launches sequel to book ‘Wolf Hollow’

“Out of the Clear Blue Sky,” by Kristan Higgins

New York Times bestselling author Higgins set her 22nd novel, “Out of the Clear Blue Sky” on the Outer Cape, after being on the Cape every summer of her life and calling it “my heart’s home.” This story of reinvention focuses on Lillie Silva, who finds herself unceremoniously dumped by her husband the day their only child leaves for college. Lillie, a nurse-midwife, finds support and friendship from her older sister, her scallop-fisherman father’s first mate and the 12-year-old ward of the “other woman.”

Appearances include, after a few other Cape stops, June 17 at Brewster Book Store.

“The Summer Place,” by Jennifer Weiner

This latest beach read by Weiner, an acknowledged master of the genre, has already been near the top of the New York Times bestseller list since it was released last month. The book, described as “a love letter” to her stomping grounds of the Outer Cape and to “the power of home,” tells the story of a family after the 22-year-old daughter becomes engaged to her pandemic boyfriend and plans the wedding at the family’s Cape beach house. It’s a chance to bring the family together one last time before putting the big house on the market, but the road to the wedding day is bumpy, and there are confrontations and revelations that change everyone’s lives.

Appearances include Aug. 18 at Wequassett Resort in Harwich, Aug. 23 at Nantucket Atheneum and Aug. 25 at Sandwich Town Hall in connection with Titcomb’s Bookshop

“Vigil Harbor,” by Julia Glass

This is the seventh novel for Glass — a part-time Provincetown resident and leader for Twenty Summers cultural series who is also a best-selling author and National Book Award winner. And the setting for “Vigil Harbor” sounds familiar: “an insular coastal village.” When a stranded traveler and a widow seeking clues about her past arrive, they threaten the equilibrium of a community already confronting climate instability, political violence, and domestic upheavals. The setting is a decade from now and characters include a marine biologist who despairs at the state of the world, and a renowned architect building homes designed to withstand the escalating fury of relentless storms.

Appearances include July 13 at Falmouth Library, July 14 at Wequassett Inn in Harwich in connection with Where the Sidewalk Ends bookstore in Chatham.

This weekend: Nantucket Book Festival: Best-selling authors & the Rock Bottom Remainders band

New in paperback

“Painting the Light,” by Sally Cabot Gunning

Gunning, a Brewster author of historical fiction, set last year’s “Painting the Light” on Martha’s Vineyard, but in 1898, after fictional Ida Russell Pease, one of the first women to study at the Museum School in Boston, finds herself in a difficult marriage until her husband is lost at sea. In the novel, due in paperback June 28, Ida is left to run the family sheep farm and tidy up his affairs in a story that Gunning told the Times is another about “a historical woman who took control of her life.” And this one, she said, explored the theme of “how to find the light in life. Better yet, how to create the light.”

Signings include June 21 at Brewster Book Store; and July 29 at the Friends of Dennis Public Library’s Author Friday at The Sea View in Dennis Port.

“Songs in Ursa Major,” by Emma Brodie

Brodie, who has worked in publishing for over a decade, is a Martha’s Vineyard native and much of her 2021 “Songs in Ursa Major,” due out in paperback June 28, is set on a similar island called Bayleen. The book is described as “a transporting love story of music, stardom, heartbreak and a gifted young singer-songwriter who must find her own voice,” a story about a woman who gets her shot at fame after her band fills in for a singer injured in a motorcycle accident. The two meet and start a romance in this 1970s-set story, inspired by the love affair between real-life artists Joni Mitchell and the Vineyard’s own James Taylor, and the female singer runs up against the music industry’s sexism.

Appearances include July 1 at Edgartown Books

“Shoulder Season,” by Christina Clancy

Clancy has spent parts of many summers on Cape Cod since childhood and set previous books here, but the main settings for “Shoulder Season,” out in paperback July 12, are the Midwest and West Coast. When a Playboy resort opens in 1981 in the small town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, orphaned 19-year old Sherri Taylor becomes one of the bunnies and learns about sisterhood, financial independence, first love, sex, drugs and rock and roll. The tragedy associated with a romantic triangle haunts her for the next 40 years.

Appearances include July 11 at Wellfleet Public Library, July 12 at Brewster Book Store, and July 14 at Wequassett Inn in Harwich in connection with Where the Sidewalk Ends bookstore in Chatham

“The Sweetest Days,” by John Hough Jr.

New in paperback is the 2021 novel by Hough, a Martha’s Vineyard author who has written five previous books, about the long love story between Pete and Jackie Hatch. They married years after an explosive incident broke apart their first romance, and their love is tested again after they travel to their Cape hometown for Peter’s first book-signing and meet up with an old schoolmate. The book is described as “not simply a love story, but a story of illness, loyalty, and the limits of our vows to each other” as the couple’s only child is out on her own and there is alarming news about Jackie’s health.

Appearances include June 26 at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven and June 30 for Oak Bluffs Library.

Contact Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll at [email protected] Follow on Twitter: @KathiSDCCT.

Categories: books

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