Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Still Summer by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Yesterday's book giveaway winner was Joanne of Book Zombie for discovering the Title and Author of the giveaway. Congratulations Joanne.

The remaining four winner's will be selected by some random means from among the commentators expressing an interest in the posts for today through Friday. One winner per post comment pool. But I won't be selecting the winners until Saturday afternoon. That allows for individuals to make multiple entries and gives me time to promote the contest. Sorry but only US and Canadian non PO Box mailing addresses qualify.

Still Summer
by Jacquelyn Mitchard
(c) 2007
Warner Books
Hatchette Book Group USA

Twenty-five years ago Tracy, Olivia, Holly and Janis were inseparable. They called themselves The Godmothers and strove to distinguish themselves at St. Ursula High, a Catholic girls school, as 'unholy innocents' wearing fishnet stockings and leather jackets and pulling pranks like running a D cup bra up the flagpole. Nineteen years ago Olivia had married an Italian Count and moved to Italy the four had all been together only a handful of times since then. The other three had entwined their lives like macramé, acting as Godmothers and Aunts to each other's children, spending many holidays and vacations together. Now Olivia is returning to America after the death of her husband and the women have planned a very special reunion: A luxury sailboat cruise of the Caribbean.

The day they were to leave, Janis has to cancel due to a family emergency. Tracy's nineteen year-old daughter, Camille, takes her place. Tracy hopes they can use the opportunity to mend whatever has been fraying their relationship.

The first few days of the voyage are as paradisaical as they had imagined with the two man crew of the trimaran Opus, Captain Lenny and Co-captain Michel, serving them gourmet meals, entertaining them with tales of the sea, taking them scuba diving at reefs and shopping on exotic islands.

Then in a moment paradise dissolves. One tiny miscalculation leads to a series of unfortunate events and suddenly the four women are alone on the open sea. Opus' motor has quit, the sails are shredded, the electricity goes out, the radios receive but won't send, the GPS has been lost. Without electricity the perishable food quickly spoils.

The next couple of weeks are fraught with fear, frustration and frayed nerves. They fight hunger, thirst, fatigue, sunburn, modern day pirates, their own inner demons and each other. Limits of loyalty, friendship and love are tested. Each woman discovers just what her character is made of and what is truly important.

This story was a page turner and a hanky-honker with strong threads of humor woven into the the tapestry of horror.

I had only one minor problem with this book. Mitchard opted for a point-of-view technique that is very difficult to control. POV jumped from character to character throughout. Not just the major characters but minor and incidental ones as well. For the most part it was done gracefully and seamlessly. But there were a few times I was jarred out of the story-dream by confusion having not caught that POV had shifted. I cannot be sure though how much my problem with it was due to my own visual impairment or even just fatigue after reading through the wee hours and past dawn with my sleep deprivation meter in the blinking red zone.

Regardless, I would not wish Mitchard to have used a different POV scheme as it really was the best option for providing the reader with the necessary knowledge for understanding all the events as well as the currents of history that carried the various relationships and the undercurrents of emotion and misunderstanding that threaten to pull some of them under.

I was astounded to learn that Mitchard has seven children! A multiple bestseller writer who is raising seven children. I can't lift my jaw off the floor.

9 tell me a story:

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