Y’all, I have been been a fan of Mary Kay Andrews for at least a decade. Each summer, I look forward to her latest release and tell myself I’ll read it slowly and really savor it this year. Yet each year, I find myself absolutely devouring it because it is just so good I can’t help myself. To say I was thrilled to get an advanced copy from Net Galley would be the understatement of the century. Once again, I found myself staying up too late reading and could not put it down.
Hello, Summer follows journalist Conley Hawkins as she unexpectedly finds herself back in her sleepy hometown. With ghosts from her past haunting her and a very real threat in her present, Conley is struggling with all kinds of family drama when she stumbles onto what could be the biggest story of her career. With a stalled career in a dying industry, Conley finds herself applying her big city journalism skills to crack this small town mystery with big picture ramifications.
This cast of characters may be my favorite yet. Conley is fierce and smart, but lacks the tact to deal with family drama. Her sister Grayson (who I am so hoping will get her own novella!) has shouldered the burden of caring for their aging grandmother and running the family weekly newspaper business, while their feisty grandmother Lorraine and her long term helper have their own issues to reckon with. Add in a DJ with a mysterious past of his own, a dead politician and his ensuing family drama and Conley suddenly has her hands full of small town drama.
While Andrews always provides a fun beach read with a colorful cast of memorable characters in a gorgeously described setting, her books also contain a little something extra. Sometimes the messaging is about personal growth or handling adversity, but there’s always a deeper message. This one adds in some timely messaging on the power of journalism and how we, as a society, need to support small town journalism as much as we do the big city papers.
I adored every word of this book. The mystery is well laid out, the pace is excellent, and the characters make even mundane activities, like grabbing a quick lunch, witty and full of banter. The setting is gorgeous and well described, with the beach, the town, and the rural areas all so vividly described I had to Google to find out if I could visit these charming places. The characters are all so interesting I find myself hoping for a series of novellas to find out more about their pasts and their futures.
Hello, Summer will be available on May 5, 2020, and is available for preorder from your favorite bookseller.