The swimsuits and summer gear may have already been supplanted on store shelves by back-to-school items and other mellow-harshing signifiers of autumn’s advance, but at River Road Books in Fair Haven, the season of the “summer read” remains very much in effect, with more than enough sun-dappled and seabreeze-kissed titles to fuel a thousand oceanfront excursions.
The last bastion of independently owned bookstores on the Greater Red Bank Green continues its decade-plus history of guest-author appearances when best-selling novelist Patti Callahan Henry drops by Wednesday evening with something of an affirmation that summer, and its literary contents, remain alive and well.
Just out from Penguin Random House, Callahan Henry’s The Bookshop at Water’s End is the latest in a series of popular novels and e-stories from the Philadelphia native, most all of them set in the coastal communities of her adopted Southern homeland, and many of them (as in this case) inspired by incidents and impressions from the “aimless and sublime” summer vacations of her youth.
With the South Carolina “lowcountry” substituting for those northeastern shores from years past, the author of such New York Times listers as Driftwood Summer and Between the Tides spins a story of two longtime friends who reconnect with each other, and with a bookshop owner, during a time of family troubles and career crises.
“As the three women cling to a fragile peace, buried secrets and long ago loves return like the tide” — and fans are gifted with such elements as oak trees draped with Spanish moss, lazy days on duned beaches, and the joys of escaping to a book-filled place where one can “read and whisper in the glorious cool silence.”
Callahan Henry will read from and autograph her latest at the 7 p.m. event, with signing copies available for purchase. Reserve one by calling (732) 747-9455.