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Chapter 22 - The Summer Wind

Here it is the beginning of June and families are starting to spill into North Myrtle Beach for vacation. Summer is my favorite time of year and has always been. It is a time of picnics, relaxing at the beach, and, of course, reading. In North Myrtle there are so many things to do besides the beach. Some of my favorites include miniature golf (love Mutiny Bay, Mayday, and Black Pearl in Cherry Grove), shopping along Main Street or even in Calabash (great consignment shops there), and listening to the music on Main Street every Thursday evening. There is a beautiful hiking path through a nature preserve in Cherry Grove and Vereen Gardens in Little River is another delightful place to just be outside.

My idea of heaven, however, is to sit either by the pool or on the beach and read. Summer reading can take three different paths for me. Sometimes it is a time to read those very big books which I don't seem to be able to fit in during the year. Other times I pick very light beach oriented books which are highest in entertainment value. Then there are times when I will read a complete series of books during summer break. Here are a few books that I have read in summers past and which I recommend whatever your motivation.

Mary Queen of Scotland and The Isles: A Novel by Margaret George - For historical fiction there is no better author I think than Margaret George and this novel of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots is one of her most engaging. George makes her historical novels as accurate as she possibly can without losing the drama. If you ever wanted to learn about Mary but didn't know which book to pick (there are so many of them out there) this is a very good and very big one.

The Summer Girls by Mary Alice Monroe - This is the start of a series by southern author Mary Alice Monroe. Set in Sullivan's Island, the story is about three half-sisters scattered across the country and their grandmother who brings them all together. The Summer Wind, The Summer's End, and Lowcountry Wedding continue the series.

Sullivan's Island by Dorothea Benton Frank - Nobody can do southern sassy like Dottie Frank and she is as funny in person as she is in pen. Her very first novel, Sullivan's Island is a good way to find out whether you like her style. It takes place between Charleston and Sullivan's Island and is full of laugh-out-loud episodes as well as some heartbreak. It is an excellent beach read.

A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton - The late Sue Grafton was a very prolific writer stretching her Kinsey Millhone character from A to Y, which was the last book Grafton wrote before her death. Kinsey is a private investigator who, while she always gets her villain, gets into some scrapes along the way. Go through the alphabet this summer!

The Killing Floor by Lee Child - Ex-military Jack Reacher is a drifter, and, while drifting through Georgia gets arrested for murder. Jack knows he didn't kill anyone but he also knows that he'll have a heck of a time proving it in the small town he is in. The first of the whole exciting Jack Reacher series.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah - While Hannah has been writing for a long time, she most recently gained attention for her World War II book The Nightingale. The Great Alone is completely different than that but still with Hannah's wonderful writing. The story revolves around Ernt Albright, a former POW, who comes home from Vietnam a change man. Unable to keep a job, he moves his family to Alaska where he has decided they will live off the grid.

Do you have any great beach reads to share?

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