This summer’s vacation house dramas are starting to roll in. The ones about the vacation home/rental where family/friends reunite to resolve conflicts/remake lives/find romance. This year, we devised a beach umbrella rating system. In “The Island House” by Mary Kay Andrews, a college prof joins her best friend’s family to summer at their island retreat. Key elements include a fashionable location, reunions, conflict resolution and romance. Five umbrellas. “The Weekenders” by Mary Kay Andrews involves a marriage on the rocks and a contested title to a summer home. Points for fashionable locale, quirky regional characters, family crisis, and light mystery plot. Four umbrellas. In “All Summer Long” by Dorthea Benton Frank, a New York couple plans their retirement to the Carolina low country, but first entertain business clients around the world. Four (!) fashionable beach locales and soul searching. Two umbrellas. Finally, in “Flight Patterns” by Karen White, a single woman re-unites with her estranged family on the Florida Coast. Points for conflict resolution, and an oyster shortage. The locale? Not so fashionable. Two and a half umbrellas.
Quotable"No place is as totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest." - Lady Bird Johnson