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What more could they need to accomplish before settling the estate? Reading her frustration, Bellows continued in a conciliatory tone. However, to put it bluntly, Michael MacKenzie left behind a mess. No one, least of all family, understood the extent of his holdings. We are doing our best to put together the pieces of his myriad dealings, but some critical bits of information are still missing. Nora felt like the prey of an owl. She paled, yet steadfastly returned his gaze with the wide eyes of innocence.

You bet they're missing, she thought from behind her mask. There wasn't a man or a woman at this table who hadn't rifled through every nook and cranny she and Mike possessed. Who hadn't read every personal letter they could find. Who had bothered to ask her permission.

There was a frenzy to their search that raised her suspicions and her ire. Even the break-in at her New York apartment disturbed her less than their blatant disregard. Nothing had been stolen, but Mike's desk had been ripped apart. Nora had heeded his words and hidden every paper she could find on his desk.

Bellows cleared his throat again with a frustrated staccato, glancing at the papers on the table. When he looked up again, his gray eyes were as cold as the rainy sky outside the windows. Nora leaned forward, focused on his lips. For all that we loved Mike, he did a stupid thing. He made himself personally liable for his debts. She was fighting to maintain her composure.

Suddenly she loathed the alcoholic nose that Bellows peered over. MacKenzie put up his personal estate as collateral for loans," contributed a young clean-shaven accountant. His voice shook and he fingered his papers nervously. Mike was so deep in hock he was unable to make the repayment schedule.

There was only her. She had a name. Nora remained rigid in her chair and continued to stare at Bellows. Nora wasn't fooled for a moment. Bellows had nothing to lose by offering kindness now. Worse than nothing, actually.

The Long Road Home: Mary Alice Monroe: Books

We have paid back as many of the loans as possible, but you still owe a great deal of money. If everything is gone, how will I pay it? Your goods will be auctioned off in October by a reputable house. Fortunately, your antiques and art collections are quite rare. Properly managed, the auction should bring in a satisfactory amount. With enough left over to give you a start. These are estimates," he said, opening up the collection of papers in front of him.

Immediately, the dozen other people opened their packets. With dread, Nora followed suit. It was less than she had imagined, and she had imagined a scant amount. Surely there was an error somewhere. She scanned the other fourteen pages of notes carefully, ignoring the impatient sighs and tapping fingers. The report listed, with astonishing accuracy, her personal possessions and their estimated worth: Her feelings lay somewhere between anguish and anger.

They made her breath come short. Calm yourself, she told herself. Get through this last step and you will be free from the lot of them forever. How did it get this bad? That she had left Mike. How, their eyes accused, could she expect to know about Mike's finances after she walked out on him? Left him in his hour of need? Nora knew they saw her as the New York socialite who collected antiques and art.

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A pretty blonde who couldn't be bothered with bank balances. Nora looked at the accusing eyes and despite her vow, shrank inward. Guilt was an unwelcome shroud for a widow to bear. It kept one mourning without resolved grief. Deserved or not, it was a heavy burden. If Mike had died naturally, perhaps she could have escaped it. He had chosen suicide, however, and with that final act he had completed his seven-year campaign of verbal abuse. Nora's hand moved to rub her brow, but she arrested the gesture in her lap.

She tightened her fists and raised her chin. Bellows raised his brows. The purpose of today's meeting is only to explain the status of your estate prior to settlement. Nora still focused on Bellows. Always work at the top, Mike had said. She sensed a new appreciation in Bellows's eyes. Up until now, her encounters with him had been purely social. Despite his gentlemanly facade, his hand always seemed to find a way to her waist. In what might have appeared a mindless motion, the broad expanse of his palm would caress her ribs while his long thumb would nudge upward toward her breast. Beneath his fastidious apparel, Nora always found him dirty.

His rheumy eyes spoke of another project he had in mind, and to emphasize his intent, he presented her with a magnanimous smile. Be good to me, the smile said, and I'll be good to you. I plan to leave town as soon as possible. To where, my dear? Truth was, she didn't know. Anywhere but here, Nora thought, her gaze traveling across the impassive faces surrounding her.

She'd had enough of false friendship. She'd had her fill of dismissal and rejection, of sympathy with strings attached. Somewhere along the line, she'd lost sight of her values. Looking back, she couldn't remember what it was she had hoped to achieve by thirty. This was a turning point. Nora wanted to go somewhere she could work hard, earn her own living, and reevaluate her values.

Somewhere, she wanted to build a life that mattered. Nora's hand stilled in her lap. An entry from the report came to mind with a flash. Such a place existed, she realized, a smile escaping from her rigid control. She knew exactly where that place was. Leaving Bellows's question hanging, Nora dove into the report and began flipping quickly through the pages.

She remembered the blonde from the "attack" team.

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Nora ran her finger along the listed property, unconsciously holding her breath. When she spotted what she was looking for, her breath exhaled with a satisfying gasp. The estimated value was fairly low. Grabbing a pencil she made notations, referring back to page three. Always facile with numbers, Nora reviewed the estimated values, made a few more notations, and calculated an alternative plan. When she looked up again, the twelve lawyers and accountants were slouched in their chairs in exaggerated poses of boredom.

Their noses seemed to have grown inches, the way they peered down at her from behind them. Nora coughed back a laugh. Only Bellows viewed her with intense interest. Twelve chairs creaked as the men and women snapped to attention and shuffled through their papers. Bellows seemed both amused and curious. It is a small operation, risky at best. Its only purpose for Mike was as a tax write-off. Have you and Mike ever lived there? His eyes never left her. That should give me enough to eke out a living. As he went through her figures, adding a few of his own, Nora maintained her icy composure.

She could not let on how much this meant to her. I assume your calculations are correct? Nora focused only on Bellows. This was between the two of them, Mike's personal lawyer and his widow. She could sense the growing surprise and antagonism of the men and women around her.

These were Mike's people. She, his wife, was the outsider. And that was the way she wanted it. Her foot began tapping beneath the heavy table as she put together the pieces of her new, even radical plan. The verdant lushness of the Vermont mountains, the fat red raspberries hanging ripe on the bush, fields of oxeye daisies, Queen Anne's lace and clover sprouting up between rocks, dark woods with cool breezes, and the bucolic bleating of the lambs. It could all be hers. She could make something of her life there, she felt sure of it. A heady kind of enthusiasm raced through her no-longer-complacent veins.

An excitement that ran slipshod over her rational constraints, delivering a new confidence. The kind that in the past had inspired her to impulsively buy a piece of furniture, or a painting. Though based on knowledge, the decision was instinct. She was born with what some people called "a knack. And it was all she had to hold on to. Bellows cleared his throat, once again bringing his court into session.

Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Learn more about Amazon Prime. Her husband's suicide left Nora MacKenzie alone, and his shady Wall Street dealings left the Manhattan socialite penniless.

The property is Nora's one chance to wring some dignity out of the sham she's been living.

The Vermont locals think she's a city girl on a nature kick, but she's not afraid to get her hands dirty. Against the locals' skepticism, she has only one ally: Slowly she starts to believe she'll survive in her new life, even flourish. She might even be willing to open her heart again. Read more Read less. Prime Book Box for Kids.

Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Girl In The Mirror. Customers who bought this item also bought. Sponsored products related to this item What's this? A magical love story about destiny, family, healing, history, small town secrets, food, and men in kilts.

Five just isn't enough. Aug 13, Elizabeth rated it did not like it Shelves: ALL of the Southern stereotypes in one predictable plot. My face hurts from rolling my eyes. May 31, Cara rated it liked it Shelves: This one focuses on Dora, who I found least likable of the sisters. Also, no matter how many times the author mentioned Dora's beautiful blonde hair, the Dora in my mind persisted in having an ugly dark brown bowl cut. Specifically, I imagined her looking like Amy Bishop, the bio prof who shot up her department meeting at UAH a few years back.

I couldn't figure out why until I realized: Dora the Explorer has basically the same haircut. Anyway, in the first book, I found Dora almost entirely unrelatable, so I wasn't too excited that this book would focus on her. But, as I got to know her better through this book, I started to understand and like her better. Also, this one does a better job of bringing all three sisters into the story, rather than focusing almost exclusively on just one as the first one did. Things I wouldn't have predicted from the first one: It seems like Blake is really the wrong guy for her--too inflexible and quick to judge.

It will be interesting to see how that all shakes out in the final book. No, no, no, Mary Alice Monroe! You've committed the cardinal sin of beach books: This death also seemed really sudden and rushed as the book was wrapping up, as if she was originally going to live to see the third book, but then the author changed her mind at the last minute.

The Summer Wind

Kudos for all the personal growth. This one especially seemed kind of confused about exactly what it was about. Just look at the blurb--there's a storm, and Dora, and Lucille's illness, and Harper's mysterious visitor? Somehow, it all seems like a set of things that happen, rather than a cohesive story with one point or theme. But overall, I enjoyed reading both of these books, and I'm curious about what will happen in the third. Harper is my favorite, so I'm looking forward to a book that focuses on her. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance review copy in exchange for an honest review!

As these three half-sisters reunite in this alluring ecological setting of the Lowcountry of SC, at the historical Sea Breeze home, with stunning views and tranquil waters, filled with summer memories with their wise grandmother Mamaw and side kick, Lucille, African American housekeeper, which is at the center of the fun ; her utmost desire, is for her three granddaughters to rediscover their southern roots, family bonds, and connect with one another, even through life storms.

Picking up from Book One, MaMaw Marietta celebrated her eightieth birthday, alluring the girls home before putting the home on the market, in order to plan to go into an assisted living facility. She threatened to cut them of the will if they did not spend the entire summer with her. CARSON 33 living in California, a free spirit, surfer and water lover, runs at the mention of trouble or problems , recently lost her job, was pleased to spend the summer rent-free on the island. Carson, does not want to get too close to anyone, with the fear of getting hurt.

Even though she does meet Blake, an environmentalist and Taylor, a veteran helping others, Carson is worried she is becoming an alcoholic, so decides to give up the drink and focus her energies helping save Dolphins, and Nate, while trying to find her way. In this book, she is taking a road trip to the Florida Keys with Nate, to help him heal his guilt and hers , over the terrible accident involving the much loved dolphin, Delphine. She is still married to the awful Cal, we learned to despise in the first book. Dora is overwhelmed, uptight, and is experiencing heart problems.

For Dora, the winds of change force her to cope with the aftermath of a messy divorce. She is most sophisticated, well-traveled, having the best education, and is an heiress with plenty of money. However, not so happy, until she discovers she loves the Lowcountry and her southern roots, finding solace, quiet, and time fulfill her passion of writing. At the same time, she can relate to Nate with her computer knowledge less talking and socializing, more online interaction , as well as assisting her sister Dora with gardening, creating organization, and a new makeover.

She has lived a rigid life at the hands of her demanding mother, and loves spending time with MaMaw and being able to reflect through writing with freedom of expression. I related to Harper the most minus the wealth , as neat, organized, creative, reading, writing, and love of solitude. The theme of healing is dominant throughout the book, as Dora heals from her heart condition, and her miserable and unhappy life, while the dolphin Delphine heals from her injuries. There are many parallels of letting go of the past and moving on to new experiences.

Guilt also plays a huge role, as each character is suffering from some sort of guilt, whether it be the accident involving Delphine, the care of a specially challenged child, past family history, or a bad marriage, and how each one of them learns to accept. Each of the girls, plus Nate mature with transformations from the last book, which will forever change the course of their lives.

It is difficult to say which girl changed the most, possibly Dora, as her unhappiness was more apparent and the transformation was physical, as well as psychological. Unearthing the slave manacles is a great tie in, as the manacles represent how each of their lives has been shackled by different elements with the opportunity to reflect, let go, and move on past these obstacles which stand in their way of happiness.

Fans of southern writers: This book was very special to me, having lived in the Florida Keys Key Largo , for several years, while working with several real estate projects. I had the opportunity to visit the Dolphin Cove, a marine education and dolphin swim facility located in sunny Key Largo, Florida. Swimming with the dolphins at Dolphin Cove is like no other dolphin encounter, available to the public throughout the year and a great addition for families on their vacation- having referred many visitors to this beautiful natural lagoon.

I would also recommend if you are in the area for Dolphins Cove, travel a little further south to Islamorada, to the Theater of the Sea, which provides a wonderful home for animals while sharing them with in ways that inspire awareness and sensitivity towards animals, the environment, and conservation issues. Mamaw Marietta Muir is firm in her support, albeit still planning to sell the summer estate. A health crisis causes big changes in how she faces her life. Carson is instrumental in helping her nephew heal, by taking him to Florida to the treatment center where children and injured dolphins heal together.

But her own unexpected life change leads to moments of facing her fears. Harper plants a garden and deals with her own issues. Secretly she writes on her computer, but shares nothing with the girls or her grandmother. Like the summer winds that come along toward the end of the story, with a big storm that resembles their own challenges, the three women will move a little closer to their own resolutions.

I enjoyed The Summer Wind and reconnecting with the characters. The support and advice of Mamaw and their old maid Lillian felt like the kind of true strength offered by a close family. I also loved how the author painted a picture of the lowcountry, making me feel as if I were right there with them. There were sad moments, but also a stronger bond between the women.

I am looking forward to the final book in the trilogy. Jul 11, Marcee Feddersen rated it liked it Shelves: I've read one of Mary Alice Monroe's books before and I liked it enough to read the sequel. So I was excited to get this advanced copy from NetGalley because I remember her as being a great beach read. So I started the book with high hopes. After about 50 pages, I started getting confused. I felt like maybe I had read the book before. After 75 pages, I was convinced I had read this book.

Thank God for Goodreads. I went back and looked through my "rea http: I went back and looked through my "read" history and found the book I had read. It was "Swimming Lessons" and it was published in So now I knew this couldn't be the same book, but the entire time I read it, I was feeling a little bored, because I felt like I knew how it was going to end. All of the same story lines are present, just tweaked a little bit. That isn't to say that it isn't a good book. Both books are easy beach reads. But it just felt a little like re-reading the same book, when it wasn't a five star book worth re-reading, so I actually felt a little hoodwinked.

After a little research, I discovered this is the second book in a three book series. If I had nothing better to do, I might read the third book just to see how it all ends out, but I feel like there wouldn't be many surprises. Jun 17, Pam Jackson rated it it was amazing. Every summer when I read the new Mary Alice Monroe book, it is my new favorite.

My summer highlight is your book. I love the personalities and true lives of Dora, Carson, and Harper! Lucille is so much like my grandmother. I felt like I was at Sea Breeze with the girls. I loved the lessons learned about sibling relationships and the way their priorities in life cha I have no choice but to wait to read "The Summer's End" and I will cherish the readings of "The Summer Girls" and "The Summer Wind".

I loved the lessons learned about sibling relationships and the way their priorities in life changed for the betterment of each individually and as family. It was so nice to see Cara and Lovie included in the story. Some of my favorite quotes are "find yourself and you will find your way home. This is life, it's different. Sometimes the waves get choppy, sometimes they smooth. You just got to ride them Carson, same as you always done.

And then of course, " when the hard times come, just dance. You have given me the gift of a beautiful beginning to the summer of ! Jun 23, Joy rated it it was amazing. Mary AIice is a new author to me I'm totally enjoying this book, there's still a few chapters to read but I couldn't wait to write this, I've got several of my friends buying her books! This is book two in the series and the sisters are spending their last summer at Sea Breeze with Mamaw before she sells the place. Carson has lost her job. Dora is going through a divorce that's effecting her health.

Her son has Asperger's and with the stress of it all she h Mary AIice is a new author to me Her son has Asperger's and with the stress of it all she has a breakdown. The sisters rally around. Environmental issues are explored, a dolphin gets tangled in a fishing net and is severely injured. You get involved in her account as well. This is a wonderful story of hurt and healing, sisters coming together, family becoming important again. Monroe has written in such a way that makes you feel like part of the family.

I could smell the sea air, feel the sand between my toes.

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  • I would call this a relaxing read. I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Have you ever been drawn into a book? Even though this is book two of a trilogy, it really stands very well on its own, continuing the story of Marietta Muir Mamaw and her three adult granddaughters, half-sisters with the same father, Have you ever been drawn into a book?

    Even though this is book two of a trilogy, it really stands very well on its own, continuing the story of Marietta Muir Mamaw and her three adult granddaughters, half-sisters with the same father, who are just getting reacquainted. Mamaw has invited them to her home at the beach for the summer, knowing she will soon be moving, and hoping that Dora, Carson, and Harper will become friends. Romance, friendships, and family issues are woven together with storms, dolphins and sea turtles beautifully.

    A page turner which I just could not put down--highly recommended! May 27, Roxanne rated it it was amazing. I do love a book set in the beautiful low country. And this book thrilled me with descriptions of an island storm, pluff mud, beaches, dolphins and more. But there is so much more than the setting; the women in this book two of a trilogy were real and thought provoking. Their circumstances were those we have had or our dearest friends have had. Their feelings are our feelings. The main figure, the grandmother is loving and lovable and filled me tears and laughter as tries to rebuild old relation I do love a book set in the beautiful low country.

    The main figure, the grandmother is loving and lovable and filled me tears and laughter as tries to rebuild old relationships from years past. Relationships of such great importance that she is willing to risk what her granddaughters think of her so she can accomplish the greater good- rebuild family. This is not just a summer beach read, it has a backbone that depicts strength of characterization so the story sticks with you long after the last page is completed! Whether or not The Summer Wind is a good, lazy, beachy summer read is, I guess, a subjective question. Read more of this review at fefferbooks.

    Jul 09, Gail Strickland rated it liked it. A true beach read-three sisters, each with her own problems check , a wise grandmother check , and a domestic who's been in service forever who's also mighty wise check , a hunky real estate guy check , an awful husband and mother of one of the sisters check on Sullivan's Island for the summer. Could have been and should have been more, but I will say that Monroe hits all the cliches and then comes back and whacks them again.

    I was given an ARC in exchange for my honest review. What a great story! I finished this morning, yet the characters are still with me this evening as I suspect they will be for some time. This was a story that made me laugh, made me cry, made me hopeful and made me want to make life slow down.

    Back When Mary Alice Was Still a Blonde

    Jun 01, Belva rated it it was amazing. Love, love, love this book and all other Mary Alice Monroe books. I am always in awe of how much emotion is captured in her books. She makes you feel what the characters feel. She is such a talented story teller and one of my absolute favorite authors. I will recommend this one to anyone who knows how to read! I was provided an advance copy by Netgalley. Jun 27, Susannah Carleton rated it really liked it.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Very good book about family, love, and the various choices people must make in their lives. Dora realizes that her marriage is irreparable, and that she deserves a better relationship than she had with her husband.

    Is Dora ready for another relationship with a man? Her first love is ready and willing, but is she? Toward the end, Carson also faces some major changes, and she has some difficult decisions to make—especially for a woman who usually leaves when things get difficult. Will she know it when she sees it?

    Mamaw and Lucille also face difficult decisions and choices. Will the summer help them find their paths forward? A wonderful addition to the series. Apr 10, Gail rated it it was amazing. What a great book! It makes you feel like you are having an adventure on Sullivan Island. A story about real life problems of sibling problems, romance and finding your place in this world. A heartwarming story that will have you laughing and crying. Looking forward to the next book in the series! Jun 28, Carrie rated it liked it. I guess I didn't care for the first book, but I'm glad I stuck with the series because this one and the next were quite good.

    Sep 15, Judy Churchill rated it really liked it. This is a continuation of the first book in the series. Their relationship as sisters continues to grow as they deal with the complications of life.

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    Mar 18, Clara rated it it was amazing. I loved this book. The story line is so perfect. I can't wait to read the ending to this trilogy. What a summer this family has had. What an amazing relationship they have. I highly recommend this series!!! Sep 12, Julie rated it it was amazing Shelves: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I have not read the other book in this series and I am going out and immediately rectifying that gaff.

    Having said that, this book obviously can be read as a stand alone. Naturally, reading in order is always the best way to go, but you can dive right in with this and get the gist of the situation. I love stories like one. I was there on Sea Breeze, enjoying the stellar company and living through the transformation Dora goes through right along with her.

    There is a lot going on in this story and it's much deeper than what appears on the surface. I loved the dolphins and the emotional attachment Nate and Carson had to them. Animals are simply wonderful and I thought the dolphin story was a life lesson and cathartic as well. Dora and her marital home seem to be a parallel to one another.

    Her marriage is over and work has begun on dismantling all that remained of it. When Dora's beloved grandmother invites her three granddaughters to visit Sea Breeze for the summer it's more than just an invitation. Maw Maw is thinking of selling and this could be the last chance to spend time there.