I’m super excited that today I get to share with you my review of Patti Callahan Henry’s latest novel, The Bookshop at Water’s End, as well as the Books of Her Life. Patti is a New York Times Bestselling Author! As most of my readers and all of my friends know, I adore Patti and have read (and loved) all of her books. It’s only fair that I also disclose that we’re friends. We met (ahem) years ago in a local writers group, when I had just two babies and she had three young children. I now have three teens, and a pre-teen and she has two in college and one gorgeous daughter who has flown the coop – all the way. As in graduated, living on her own and running her own business, and engaged.
My goodness, time flies.
So even though I’m extremely biased, I promise this is an incredible read, and one of my favorite PCH books.
The women who spent their childhood summers in a small Southern town discover it harbors secrets as lush as the marshes that surround it….
Bonny Blankenship’s most treasured memories are of idyllic summers spent in Watersend, South Carolina, with her best friend, Lainey McKay. Amid the sand dunes and oak trees draped with Spanish moss, they swam and wished for happy ever afters, then escaped to the local bookshop to read and whisper in the glorious cool silence. Until the night that changed everything, the night that Lainey’s mother disappeared.
Now in her early 50s, Bonny is desperate to clear her head after a tragic mistake threatens her career as an emergency room doctor, and her marriage crumbles around her. With her troubled teenage daughter, Piper, in tow, she goes back to the beloved river house, where she is soon joined by Lainey and her two young children. During lazy summer days and magical nights, they reunite with bookshop owner Mimi, who is tangled with the past and its mysteries. As the three women cling to a fragile peace, buried secrets and long ago loves return like the tide.
I love books about friendship, and this one depicts the bond that Bonny and Lianey have shared since childhood. When a friendship has lasted that long, there’s always a bit of troubled history and baggage. And then there’s the complicated issue of dating your friend’s brother and the questions of allegiances. There’s a little romance in the story, just enough to keep this girl happy. Actually, there’s two romances. The thrill and delight of young love and the complicated journey of a love that really never dies. This story also addresses how wounds from our childhood can a lifetime and affect everyone around us.
There’s little mystery, a sad one.
There’s also a bit of mother daughter turmoil, and Patti manged to make me squirm about my daughter’s looming teen years. But she also painted a hopeful picture that love and patience can ease the transition of mothering a daughter through adolescence into womanhood.
Patti is a master at describing her characters – with their backstories and through their hopes, dreams and fears. We get close to her characters because they’re flawed and vulnerable. We can clearly envision their personal styles from hair to clothes to home furnishing. I often felt like I was in the same room with Bonny and/or Lainey.
Those of you who read her last book will recognize the town of Watersend, which is still charming and blessed with a magical bookstore that’s owned and operated by the eccentric Mimi – one of my favorite characters.
In my honest and humble opinion, this book is another winner! You’ll love it!
To make up for my lost summer of blogging, I’m once again having a giveaway. Please read Patti’s BOML interview and comment below for a chance to win this book. (Janine if your reading this – you won last week’s giveaway, please send my your address). I’ll pick a random winner next Wednesday. You can also purchase a copy of the book by clicking here (unaffiliated link)
The Books of My Life
What was my favorite book as a child?
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
What was your favorite book that you read for school?
Catcher in the Rye
Is there a book that you’ve read over and over again?
The Screwtape Letters
What’s a classic you’re embarrassed to say you’ve never read?
All of Bronte ( know, I know, it’s horrible)
What’s a book you’ve pretended to read?
None. I just shrug and admit – missed that one but hope it’s next!
What’s a recent book you wish you’d written?
What’s a favorite movie adaptation of a book you loved?
The End of the Affair. Lordy, that book and movie slay me.
The books you read to your children:
Goodnight Moon. Make Way For Ducklings. All of Narnia, and on and on. We read four or five books a night. It was our favorite time of day!
What was an illicit book you had to read in secret as a child?
Hello God, It’s Me Margaret
What’s a book people might be surprised to learn that you loved?
Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine?
Aslan (I know, it’s not a person but…)
What fiction friends would you love to have?
Nancy Drew when I was young. Scarlett O’Hara when I was in college. And now – hmmm… maybe Sherlock Holmes (The Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock)
If there were only one genre that you could read for the rest of your life, what would it be?
AGHGH. No way I could choose. I’d change my mind every five minutes. But if forced I would have a tie between Contemporary women’s Fiction and ANYTHING historical.
Is there a book you’ve given multiple times as a gift?
The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield and Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed.
What author living or dead would you most like to meet, and what would you like to know?
C.S. Lewis and I want to know everything!!!!
What was the last book that made you cry?
All The Light We Cannot See
What was the last book that you told people they have to read?
The Paris Wife
Books or eReader?
Both!! If it’s a book, I want it!
Do you keep your books or pass them on?
Both. I keep them until there’s not space and then pass on.
Do you have a favorite place to read?
Nope. Anywhere and everywhere, but if I could choose, my back porch swing.
Thank you so much Patti. I loved The Paris Wife and remember nagging friends and family to read it, and then went on to read A Movable Feast and Mrs. Hemingway. I also just purchased a Hemingway biography. I’m fascinated – and all from The Paris Wife. I’ve also given Brave Enough as a gift a few times. And I’ve quoted the hell out of it!
If you’re interested in reading other Books of my Life Posts, you can review a full list with links by clicking here.
To learn more about Patti or follow her on social media, you can click on the following links: