Sunday, July 11, 2010

Driftwood Summer: A Novel

by Patti Callahan Henry

Dedication: "To my dearest friends, who just happen to be my sisters: Barbi Callahan Burris and Jeannie Callahan Cunnion"

First Paragraph: "Bookstore owner Riley Sheffield believed that even the most ordinary life was like a good novel, a tale to be told. Her own life was full of twists and turns, secrets and surprises, with narrative threads that intertwined with the fabric of other people's lives. Her story revolved around a two-hundred-year-old cottage on the beach--Driftwood Cottage Bookstore."

Review: I went on a reading hiatus in case you hadn't noticed. I don't know that my reading hiatus is over yet but I did manage to sneak in a book while on vacation. So here it goes.

Riley Sheffield has spent her life in a small tourist town located on the coast. Her past is riddled with missed opportunities, regret, and loss. She's resigned to her fate and now she is on the verge of losing her home and her life love - her family owned bookstore. In an attempt to save the bookstore her mother has organized a week long calendar of events to celebrate the two-hundredth birthday of the bookstore building. This event forces her sister, Maisy, to return home and begin to mend their distant relationship after thirteen years of absence. It's a book about healing, friendship, sisterhood, love, life, and dreams.

I'm obviously out of the reviewing groove so I'll do my best to express my thoughts on this book. I enjoyed it. It was entertaining. It was not, however, my favorite book. It was a good summer read. Something to do to pass the time. The story wasn't gripping but there was enough mystery to keep me interested.

At the beginning there was some very cheesy dialogue and as I read the reunion of long separated friends I was reminded of another horribly written reunion. Mostly for my own personal use, the reunion in this book went like this:

"She nodded, unable to find the words she'd stored up to say to him. 'Hey', she said.
'That's it?' He reached forwared and pulled her into a hug.
'Hey? that's all I get after thirteen years?'"

I think my biggest complaint about this book was the reason for Maisy's separation from her family for 13 years. I guess, in real life, people have left for dumber reasons. Possibly. But it seemed so unrealistic to me that I had a hard time immersing myself into the rest of the story since so much of the story is centered around this "betrayal".

Now that I've told you the things I hated, I suppose I should share some of the things I enjoyed. The idea of the life Riley lived, while not ideal, was realistic. She had struggles but she realized that her life was still wonderful despite those things. There was a great moral/message behind the overall story and if nothing else, it was uplifting to be reminded that there are more important things to life than how much money you're making.

So in the end: would I suggest this book to you? Probably not. However, if you found this book on a bookshelf at a family reunion and were considering reading it, I wouldn't say it would be a complete waste of time. I would probably give it around three stars.

Click here for Patti Callahan Henry's official website.

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