We begin with Adriana Trigiani's Kiss Carlo, set in South Philadelphia during 1949. Nicky Castone has a good job as a cab driver for his uncle's taxi and telegraph company and a lovely fiancee to boot. However, he's looking for something more fulfilling in his life and when he joins a local Shakespeare theater group, Nicky is in for changes that he never expected.
During a production of Twelfth Night, Nicky has to take the stage, along with Calla Borelli, who inherited the acting troupe from her father and is determined to make a go of it. As the two of them perform on stage, sparks of a more intimate nature start to fly, leading them both to a place they never intended to be at, especially not together.
Trigiani's old fashioned story telling skills and sly wit do suit a Shakespearean background, combined with some modern flair and page turning charm that should make for an enchanting summer read:
Now that she's seriously ill, her three daughters have found their way back to her. Nell is a strong single mother who was able to find the maternal affection she never received from someone else while middle sister Meredith still plays the peace maker.
Little sister Lizzy had her share of wild times but is now doing well in a more steady job as a pop-up restaurateur, Will this trio of siblings be able to work together to help their mother in her final days or can their relationship get even worse than before?
I'll be doing a full review of this book by next month but I can say that Jane Green is a thoughtful writer who knows how to make characters connect well with each other as well as the reader. This story of off beat women learning to love each other completely has a timeless theme that should resonate wonderfully for more than one generation:
After Ian Bledsoe realizes that the fortune that his father was supposed to leave him is nonexistent, he takes off for Greece and runs into Charlie, an old friend who is quick to offer him a place to stay on his island retreat. Things are going well for Ian as Charlie gets him a job at his yacht company and the party time never seems to end.
Yet, he can't help noticing the dubious companions that his old buddy has around him and when Charlie vanishes into thin air, Ian is the one searching for him in order not to be considered a suspect in his disappearance. What worries him the most is the nagging suspicion that Charlie may be playing a game from their childhood and using Ian as a pawn who could really be disposed of for good.
This premise does sound intriguing and I'm seeing a lot of comparisons to Patricia Highsmith in advance reviews for the book, so this may be the one to read before the movie comes out by next summer, folks:
Marianne has been in a miserable marriage for forty years and during a trip to Paris, decides to take a drastic measure to escape once and for all.
Upon fleeing Paris, she winds up at the title bistro in Brittany and instead of going through with her initial plan, becomes involved with the lives of the residents, including a young chef in love, a fisherman who introduces her to the flavor of fresh oysters and an artist seeking inspiration.
While Marianne rediscovers the joys of life, her past is threatening to catch up to her and than means making a firm decision to set her course for the future. George's previous novel, The Little Paris Bookshop, was quite the charmer and this new arrival seems to following in those delightful footsteps:
I hope this additional list of literary summer treats will offer more goodies to savor as the warm weather days approach. Granted, I'm not a beach goer but even I know that any extra source of shade from the sun is useful and why not have it be entertaining as well?: