Honestly, beach reading is really more about a state of mind than the tangible location. Whether you’re actually sitting surfside or lounging near your condo pool or simply taking a long lunch break or passing time on MARTA, these titles from local authors promise an escape from workaday reality.
1. A Long Time Gone
by Karen White (New American Library)
Billed as a “touching story about the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters,” this novel set in the Mississippi Delta features a matriarch named Bootsie, atmospheric cotton fields, and a dramatically revealed corpse. Atlanta resident White says she was inspired to become a writer after skipping school to read Gone with the Wind.
2. The One and Only
by Emilly Giffin (Ballantine)
In her bestselling debut Something Borrowed, Giffin’s protagonist was a glamorous Manhattan attorney. Her sixth novel, Where We Belong, starred a glamorous Manhattan TV producer. You detect a pattern. One and Only shifts venue thanks to Shea Rigsby, small-town Texas gal. Or, as Giffin’s publisher puts it, “Think Friday Night Lights meets When Harry Met Sally.”
3. The House on Mermaid Point
by Wendy Wax (Berkley)
Bestselling Atlanta author Wendy Wax’s most recent book, While We Were Watching Downton Abbey, was a novel about friendship cultivated over a shared obsession with the PBS drama. Mermaid Point also combines sisterhood and vicarious wish fulfillment: A trio of gal pals who met while restoring a beachfront mansion now try to turn a rock star’s private island into a B&B.
4. Moonlight on My Mind
by Jennifer McQuiston (Avon)
By day, McQuiston works as a veterinarian and infectious diseases specialist for the Centers for Disease Control. That job influences her second career as a romance novelist: The hero in Moonlight is a vet, and he and the heroine first become attracted to each other when he performs an emergency amputation on a dog.
5. Save the Date
by Mary Kay Andrews (St. Martin’s)
Cara, the heroine of the latest from Andrews (aka veteran Atlanta journalist Kathy Hogan Trochek), is a feisty Savannah-based wedding florist who is forced into the role of sleuth when a bride goes missing, thus jeopardizing Cara’s chance at breaking into the big-time bridal leagues. Along the way, she is compelled to reevaluate her own anti-romance stance.
This article originally appeared in our July 2014 issue under the headline “Beach Books.”