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“The queen of beach books” (The Star-Ledger) returns to the shores of Nantucket in a novel about one memorable summer when flirtations flourish, family dramas play out, and scandalous secrets surface.
NAMED ONE OF TEN BEST SUMMER BOOKS TO READ ON THE BEACH BY SMARTERTRAVEL
Memorial Day weekend means that seasonal visitors have descended on the glamorous island of Nantucket. For year-round resident Darcy Cotterill, it means late-night stargazing in the backyard of the beautiful house she grew up in and inherited from her beloved grandmother. It’s also Darcy’s chance to hit the beach and meet her new summertime neighbors. But the last person the thirty-year-old librarian expects to see staying next door is her ex-husband, Boyz, along with his wife, Autumn, and stepdaughter, Willow.
Darcy must also navigate the highs and lows of a new romantic relationship with local carpenter Nash Forester even as she becomes smitten with handsome vacationer Clive Rush, a musicologist in town to write a book and visit family. And she finds herself pulled into the concerns of Boyz, Autumn, a charming elderly neighbor, and an at-risk teen.
As the season nears its end, Darcy must decide her next move: retreating to the comforts of her steady and secure island life, or risking it all for a chance at true happiness.
Praise for Secrets in Summer
“Full of rich details about life on Nantucket, this breezy tale is at once nostalgic and hopeful. . . . The story is filled with sweet moments of unlikely female connections. An easily digestible, warmhearted tale of eye-opening friendships.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[Nancy] Thayer’s latest is a lovely and heartwarming contemporary read with its blend of humor and emotion set against the beautiful backdrop of Nantucket Island. Her well-crafted plot is infused with warmth and heartfelt, tender moments. Darcy is a strong, independent yet vulnerable heroine who will appeal to readers. Thayer’s engaging storytelling and authentic, endearing characters will keep readers turning the pages.”—RT Book Reviews
“Thayer’s beachside novel brims with themes that women’s-fiction readers love, and the plot skims important issues—infidelity, fear of commitment, grief—while maintaining its focus on Darcy’s personal growth and the intergenerational friendship between the four women.”—Booklist (starred review)
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Nancy Thayer is the New York Times bestselling author of Secrets in Summer, The Island House, The Guest Cottage, An Island Christmas, Nantucket Sisters, A Nantucket Christmas, Island Girls, Summer Breeze, Heat Wave, Beachcombers, Summer House, Moon Shell Beach, and The Hot Flash Club. She lives on Nantucket.
Read an Excerpt
Excerpted from "Secrets in Summer"
Copyright © 2018 Nancy Thayer.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Reading Group Guide
I was one of the summer people once, years ago. I flew to Nantucket on a foggy November day to visit a wonderful friend. She introduced me to an extremely handsome, smart, witty, tall, blue-eyed man named Charley. Charley and I sat up and talked all night. (About books, of course. Our friend went to bed.)
Two years later, I married Charley and now I’ve been a year-rounder on Nantucket for thirty-three years. In that time I’ve become accustomed to the dramatic change between summer and winter on the island.
Islanders have categories for Nantucket’s residents. If you were born here, you’re a native—the finest kind, the natives call themselves. If you moved here as a child or as an older person, you’re a washed-ashore. If your permanent residence is on the island, you’re a year-rounder. If you come for the summer, you’re a summer person.
The twelve thousand (more or less) year-rounders feel a kind of gritty pride at making it through the challenging island winters. When winter hits we’re often isolated, as gale-force winds and blizzards prevent boats or planes from taking us to the mainland. The Atlantic dims without the brightness of the sun. The luxurious flowers, so abundant in the summer, disappear, leaving the gardens as gray as the sky. No chain stores or malls exist on the island. Most of our restaurants close for the season. The wind howls. There’s nowhere to go.
But summer is golden. The blue ocean sparkles and gourmet restaurants open and the seas get just enough wind for a good sail out to Great Point to watch the seals basking in the sun.
Then the summer people come to sail and swim and enjoy the long glorious beaches. They come because they’re fascinated by the island’s unique history and crafts. When they come, they bring a delicious slice of the “real” world with them. They shake us out of our lazy lives and surround us with fascinating gossip and fabulous fashion. They suggest books we should read, films we should see, museums we should visit, and mountains we should hike.
It’s tricky, living on an island with twelve thousand people in the winter and sixty thousand in the summer. But because of the summer people, the island enjoys the Nantucket Wine and Food festival, the Nantucket Book Festival, the Nantucket Film Festival, and the Nantucket Comedy Festival. In the summer, we might meet luminaries like Meryl Streep, Ruth Reichl, and Ben Stiller—or, some years, presidential candidates from both sides of the ticket. Drew Barrymore, Johnny Depp, Bill Belichick, and Vice President Biden stroll our streets and eat in our restaurants. Generous summer people throw fabulous parties to celebrate the island’s causes and organizations, including our small but essential hospital, arts groups, nature conservancies, and—never to be overlooked—Safe Harbor, our animal rescue shelter.
The summer people keep our island vibrant. Because of them, we have the opportunity to see world-class ballet and hear world-class music. Because of them, our children have jobs as lifeguards at Surfside or as sales clerks in ice cream shops on the wharf. Because of them, we writers are inspired with new ideas, as we learn—accidentally, of course!—summer secrets. And in June and September, because the summer people hold extraordinarily lavish and glamorous weddings, they remind us how unique and photo-worthy our beautiful island is. (That’s how I knew what I wanted to write my next book on: A Nantucket Wedding.)
Best of all are the returning summer people who brighten our small world with friendships that can last years. We watch their children grow up and they get to know our kids. We get together for lemonade and memories and laughter.
The truth is, by April, the year-rounders are longing for the summer people to return. Really, we’re not unlike the islanders who long ago walked on their widows’s walks to peer out into the horizon, looking for ships filled with loved ones and with silk and spices from distant worlds.
1. What are the main themes of the novel? Which do you find most thought-provoking?
2. Discuss the Darcy’s relationship with Penny, both before and after Penny passes away. Do you have someone like that in your life? How do they make you feel? How is that person similar to and different from Penny?
3. In chapter 2, it says Darcy “created her own home within books” (page 15). Does this remind you of any other famous characters in literature? What do they have in common in addition to a love of reading?
4. Compare and contrast Nash and Boyz. What do you think attracted Darcy to each of them? How might the story have been different if Darcy had met Nash first?
5. In chapter 4 it says, “Nantucket was a prime spot for people to invent themselves” (page 54). Do you think this is true? Why or why not? What is it about Nantucket that gives it this quality? What other places invoke this feeling?
6. Discuss the significance of the title as it pertains to each character.
7. Discuss Darcy’s evolution throughout the story. What lessons does she learn about love? About life?
8. Who would you cast to play each character in a movie adaptation of Secrets in Summer? Why?
9. Discuss Darcy’s relationship with her home on Nantucket. How does it add to her as a character? Is she different at home than she is at the library?
10. Discuss the parallels between Darcy’s relationship with Penny, and Willow’s relationship with Darcy.
11. What do you think Darcy means when she says, “If Nash wanted her, he could take her as she was, warts and all” (page 290), at the end of chapter 23?
12. In what ways would the story be different if it had taken place in a different town?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this lig ht hearted read.
Makes you want to go to Nantucket and never leave!!!
Secrets In Summer is the story of how one Summer can change everything! Darcy Cotterill is a Librarian on Nantucket Island and is about to spend the Summer with a new love, Nash and enjoying everything that Summer has to offer the Island or so she thinks! It's when her ex-husband shows up in the rental behind her house with his new wife and step-daughter that she realizes that this Summer might be anything but fun for her. With having neighbors on one side with a couple with three young boys and having a elderly woman with her grandson on the other side of her, Darcy soon realizes that this Summer is anything but boring! As Darcy forms a friendship with her ex's step-daughter, everything is not what it seems with her neighbors. It all comes down to Darcy having to make a decision of staying in her comfort zone or risking it all for true happiness as the Summer comes to an end. This truly is the perfect Summer read that you can get lost in for a couple of hours that so makes you wished that you lived on the coast or someplace with water close by! I absolutely loved the fact that Darcy was a Librarian in this story, the most perfect job to have as a book nerd in a book or at lest, I think so!! There was no real mystery on what was going on behind the scenes that made it hard to get into even though, I kinda had it figured out what was gonna happen in the end by the middle of the story. Nonetheless, it's a great book to read when you just need a break from all the Thrillers and sad books out there to put a smile on your face!! Thank You to Nancy Thayer for writing a great Summertime story that so gets you in that Summer kind of mood!! I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley!
The book was boring enough but using a memory of little girl eating chocolate to her mother having sex on the dining room table with the neighbor (i was in my zone) was too much. Lost respect for this author and i hope teenagers dont get the wrong ideas from this ridiculous analogy.
This book was not a favorite of mine. I found it to be slow and it never really had a climax. I kept reading to see if something interesting or "big" was going to happen, but sadly it never did. Skip this one and save yourself the disappointment.
"Secrets in Summer" is a wonderful summer, beach read. There are many endearing characters in the story that make it real. Darcy Cotterill is a year round resident of Nantucket. She works in the library in the children's area. She returned to Nantucket three years earlier when she became divorced and her grandmother died leaving her the house. She has been dating handsome carpenter Nash for the past three months and is quite happy in her life. The summer residents have begun to make and appearance and this summer they will change her life. To Darcy's surprise her neighbor behind her is none other that her ex-husband, Boyz and his new wife, Autumn, who also happens to be the woman Darcy caught him fooling around with, and his stepdaughter, Willow. On either side of Darcy there is a woman with her three rambunctious sons and on the other is an 89 year old woman with her handsome divorced grandson, Clive. As the story progresses we learn about Darcy's past as well as that of Nash. She becomes involved with Willow, and both her neighbours. To her surprise, she likes them and they become great friends. Of course they are not without problems. With drugs, sex, adultery, illness, bullying, unfulfulled lives and more, Darcy gets more than she bargained for. When her relationship with Nash goes off the rails, she needs to decide what she wants out of life. I enjoyed getting to know Darcy and seeing what life was like on Nantucket in the summer. The main characters were likable and I found myself rooting for them. I read this is one sitting, I did not want to stop. Can Darcy finally make a commitment to the man she loves? Read this one to find out whether love will overcome and if summer friendships are meant to last. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
Received an ARC from Net Galley for an honest review. I have been a long time fan of Nancy Thayer's books and I have to say that this book was the best one she has ever written. I loved the story of Darcy and how she found clarity in her life after a summer of new friendships and romance. The conflicts she faced felt very real. I loved all the characters especially Mimi and Willow. A definite beach read...deeper women's fiction then light chick lit.
I was a copy of this by from The Smitten Word giveaway. I was not required to give a favorable review. All thoughts are my own. This is a wonderful story. I have read another book from Nancy and I was impressed by her writing again. She touches on how someone can do second chances on love and to a job she love. Darcy has gone through a divorce and find out that the home she lived as a young woman was left to her from her grandmother who raised her. It is on Nantucket Island and it was home. She met an married her husband just before she finished her Masters degree in Library Sciences and is working. She enjoys where she lives, her friends and the ability to pretty much walk everywhere. She has spent the last 3 years getting her life together, she has a job as the Assistant Librarian at the Children's library, she has a wonderful set of friends, and but this summer things are about to change, the first one is her ex-husband and his new wife and step-daughter are renting the home behind her, and they don't realize she lives there. There is a family with 3 little boys next door on the right, and a grandmother and adult grandson living on the other side of her. She hears and is told so many secrets that she keeps to herself. She finally has found love again, but is afraid to say because she is waiting for him. This is will leave to wonderful and very adventures summer for everyone.
Nantucket becomes a tourist's heaven every summer. Beginning on Memorial Day they begin to show up. Darcy Cotterill calls Nantucket home. She loves the house she inherited and she even enjoys meeting the new neighbors. However, this year the new neighbors consist of her ex, Boyz, and his wife and stepdaughter. She is also looking at her own relationship with Nash Forester, and with Clive rush. Her life is pulled in many directions this summer. By the end of summer she has to make decisions whether to stay to to move on. This book, along with many of Nancy Thayer's other books, make a great summer read. It is nice to slip into the book and place yourself in Nantucket. Thayer has such a nice, easy writing style which makes her books very enjoyable. In this one, she created characters that are easy to relate to. I enjoyed this book. I was given this book by NetGalley and Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review.
While the covers of these summer-y reads are always similar, what's inside will differ quite a bit, and I liked how Thayer set the story of how Darcy becomes an islander, not just a summer person. With a job at the local library, in charge of children's programs, Darcy's life post-divorce is moving right along, complete with a budding romance with Nash. The drama, flirting and secrets begin as the summer people begin to inhabit nearby homes. While I did think it was a bit strange for Darcy to friend her ex-husband's step-daughter so quickly, I enjoyed how they wound up being neighbors. A boisterous family with three boys (and a beleaguered mom), and an elderly woman staying with her handsome grandson finish out the neighborhood for the season. This was a fun way to kick off the beginning of summer, lots of different storylines coming together nicely at the end.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Summer is here, grab your towel and head to the beach! Nancy Thayer does it again –plops us right into summertime on Nantucket with Darcy, a year-round resident of Nantucket who is content living in the only place that has ever truly felt like home to her. Darcy has established a fairly predictable and comfortable life there; she spends her days working as a librarian, has been dating a good looking guy for several months, and has a group of friends she hangs around with on the weekends. The summer vacation crowd that comes to the island turns that upside down – especially when her ex-husband his new wife move in next door. Darcy loves spending time in the backyard garden her grandmother spent hours tending to and growing, which leads to Darcy overhearing some of the conversations of the new neighborhood residents. She struggles with knowing when she should interfere and when she should stay out of people’s business…and does a little of both. I like that Darcy does not hide from confronting the people from her past, and that she does not prevent them from allowing her to forge a meaningful relationship with Willow, who really needs her friendship and guidance. I also like that she learns to let go of the past and find her way to the life she really wants. This book brings together just the right amount of romance, some scandal, and fun characters to make it a perfect summer beach read!
Such a heartwarming, sad, humorous, entertaining and enjoyable read. I really got into this book and could not put it down. Darcy lives in her childhood home which she inherited from her grandmother in Nantucket. She is a year round resident and she has done something she's never done before. She has become close to the summer renters. And, it just so happens, one of those renters is the stepdaughter of her ex-husband who is renting the property behind her. Of all the houses in Nantucket, he has to pick that one. Ha! This leads up to pretty interesting reading and is just one of the plots that is being told in this story. There are several plots and lots of quirky, endearing characters. You will definitely need tissues for this one as the summer ends. Thanks to Random House and Net Galley for approving and allowing me to read and review this book.
This is a light easy read that's perfect for your beach read list. I have always enjoyed Nancy Thayer's book and while this one is no exception, I did feel the story left me wanting a bit more. I'm not sure if it's because of my dislike for some of the characters in this one or the bad behavior of those characters but it just didn't leave me with that warm happy feeling I usually experience at the end of her other books. This is a great look at the relationships we have with people that come and go in our lives as well as those relationships that are important enough to really fight for. I would recommend this one.
Loved it! Couldn't put it down!