Friday, June 27, 2014

If You're Craving the Ocean, These New Novels Offer Coastal Settings

Stuck inland this month and pining for water? Here's a stack of new fiction -- each one set so close to the ocean you can hear the waves crashing.

"It Comes in Waves" (Penguin, $15 original paperback) is the fourth novel of Charlotte's Erika
Marks. The novel concerns Claire, whose fiance left her for her best friend Jill. Now it's 18 years
later, Jill is a widow and raising a teenage son on Folly Beach, S.C., which is where ESPN happens to send Claire to  make a documentary about surfing. After a chance meeting, the two women open the old gritty bag of guilt, blame and, perhaps, forgiveness. If you want to attend the launch party at Fountainhead Books in Hendersonville on Tuesday, July 1, at 7 p.m., you can pre-buy a copy of the novel from Fountainhead for two tickets (828-697-1870).

Sullivans Island, S.C. native and bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank (who appears to have signed books everywhere in the Southeast but Charlotte) gives us three generations of Low Country women in "The Hurricane Sisters" (Morrow, $26.99), a novel of buried secrets, sexual electricity, domestic disturbance and teenage angst.  Real-life touchstones: Langdon's and Basil's on Mt. Pleasant, Donleavy's Pub on Sullivans and Martha Lou's in Charleston ("one of those places you only know if you were from Charleston or a local took you there.") Frank is also the author of "Sullivan's Island," "Porch Lights," "Pawley's Island" and "The Last Original Wife."

HarperCollins acquired the novel, "The Story of Land and Sea" ($26.99), in a ten-house, seven-bidder auction. Known in the trade as a "big buzz book," this debut novel is by Katy Simpson Smith, a Jackson, Miss., native, who earned her PhD in history at UNC Chapel Hill. Set in 1793 in Beaufort, the novel tells the story of a father desperate to save his 10-year-old daughter Tabitha from a yellow fever epidemic. Entwined is the long-ago story of Tabitha's mother as a child and her uneasy friendship with a young slave girl named Moll. "The Story," already hailed as a "striking achievement" by "an extraordinary writer," is due in August.

From the author of the prize-winning short story collection, "How to Escape from a Leper Colony," Tiphanie Yanique's first novel, "Land of Love and Drowning" (Riverhead Books, $27.95) is set on her native St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. The novel chronicles three generations of the Bradshaw family through the 20th Century. According to Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y., the novel weaves stories of "magic and lust" (read also incest), "unknown connections," "hidden mysteries," "family legacies," and "an island undergoing historical changes." Publisher's Weekly says: "Yanique offers an affecting narrative of the Virgin Islands that pulses with life, vitality and a haunting evocation of place."


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