Books of My Life: Patti Callahan Henry

patti-callahan-henry-author-624x610I’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.


The-Bookshop-at-Waters-End_209x320_acf_croppedI 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?

The Nightingale

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?

The Stand

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:

Patti Callahan Henry Website

Patti on FaceBook

Patti on Twitter

Patti on Intsagram

Patti on Pinterest

Patti on GoodReads

17 thoughts on “Books of My Life: Patti Callahan Henry”

  1. Hi Allie. Although I am not too familiar with this author I have to give her a high five for reading (several times) ‘The Screwtape Letters’. If you ever have the time please give it a read.


  2. I was reading and all of a sudden saw my name. I will most definitely send you my address and so excited to read Beach House for Rent now. Oh and loved this week’s book review and interview. I am definitely checking out Patti’s most recent. Plus, Patti and I have a few things in common it would appear from her interview as The Catcher in the Rye is still my favorite from my high school days and I wish I would have written The Nightingale, too. Thanks Allie for sharing Patti and her latest here today with me 🙂

    1. Hi Janine! I can’t imagine writing The Nightingale – what brutal process that must have been. Kristin Hannah finally has a new book coming out this winter. Can’t wait.

  3. Sooo….Allie, you did tell me to read the Paris Wife and perhaps even gifted it to me.

    Patti, 2 for 2…. The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe and Catcher in the Rye; I couldn’t agree more. Maybe what I told Barbi is right. Maybe I am the long lost sister😉

    Great job, Allison.


  4. I’m so happy to see The Stand mentioned! I was a little obsessed with that book growing up after the miniseries came out. It got me hooked on actually reading Stephen King instead of just watching the movie/TV adaptations. And I loved The Paris Wife too. Patti’s new book sounds great — thank you for sharing Allie and Patti!

    1. Hey Caryn! I never read The Stand, but I do remember the miniseries (didn’t watch , though) – it was huge rating bonanza if I recall correctly. I adored the Paris Wife. Guess what I’m reading right now? Multiples Illuminated – the toddler version:).

  5. Now I want to read The Stand. Also, I had no luck with “All the Light We Cannot See” and I’m really starting to get a complex about it. Most people had much better luck.

  6. OMG thank you, Allie! I need to read this. I love that you’re friends. The Stand is one of my favorites, and because of that, my husband is now listening to it on audio books. But that The Nightingale is one she/you wish written? YES!!!! And I almost don’t trust anybody who did NOT read “Hello, God, it’s Me, Margaret…” Just saying.

    1. The Stand! Goodness, everyone’s read it but me. You know, I just tried to find Hello God it’s Me Margaret for Audrey and B&N didn’t have it! I was shocked. They had ALL her books but that one and Forever.

  7. I loved The Stand! Patti seems to have such diverse tastes in books, just like me. My favorite sentence of this whole post? “If it’s a book, I want it!” Truth.

  8. So as always, I need to get more books after reading your post. LOL

    And how did I MISS THIS ONE? I swear I have checked in here several times this summer and did NOT see this!

    Thank you for introducing me to Patti and her books! I’m anxious to check them out! And I need to go get Brave at the library. I can’t believe I haven’t read (listened) to it yet!

Comments are closed.