Destination: Cape Cod
Book: Summer Shift (NEW July 2010)by Lynn Kiele Bonasia
Mmmmm, a basket of fried clams with some macaroni salad to carry down to the rocks along the shore sounds might good right now. The main drawback to reading this book on a Cape Cod Beach would be the constant temptation to stop reading and have a fried clam break.
You see, the book’s heroine owns a restaurant in a small town in Cape Cod (redundancy alert–are there any large towns on Cape Cod?). She has run the restaurant for 17 years, and her alcoholic husband wrapped his car around a tree a short time after they were married, so she’s discontentedly single.
As you may remember, I’m not crazy about romances, but this one has the virtue of presenting a few serious issues along the way. Her aunt has Alzheimer’s, her neighbor has Parkinson’s disease, and a cook at the restaurant has synesthesia–which isn’t as scary as it sounds–he feels shapes in things he tastes. Then there is the problem of letting go of the past, reconciling with an old love, and accepting her own maturing.
Sounds pretty interesting, and I love the setting, but I couldn’t warm up to the main character. That creates a real problem. I really didn’t like her very much. And she didn’t go out of her way to persuade me that I should like her.
As you may recall, I’m not crazy about romances, anyhow. But I’m trying not to over analyze a book that probably will be read with sand between the pages and grease marks from the fried clams on the pages. Here’s a nice description of the sea, that also tells us the main theme of the book. Time softens rough edges.
“She got out of the car and made her way down the narrow path that led from the house to the beach. When she got there, the horizon was defined by a deeper shade of black. Covered by a thin veil, the moon threw off enough light for Mary to see something blue near her foot, perhaps a dried jellyfish that had gotten tangled in a clump of eelgrass churned up in a recent storm. Somewhere out there, a baby winter flounder had lost its home. Mary bent down to examine the blue object, a shard of glass, Noxema blue, not officially sea glass yet, too clean and sharp at the edges. She picked it up and tossed it out into the water, where it, like everything else in time’s cauldron, would be sufficiently pulverized.”
Oh, yes, Bonasia includes some recipes from the clam shack at the back of the book. Although the clam shack is a fictional place, the recipes were developed at the very real Saltwater Grill in Orleans, Massachusetts.
Enormous thanks to Alexandra Grabbe for scurrying around the Cape and taking these nice photographs. If you’re heading to Cape Cod, I hope you’ll visit Alexandra’s web site about a green B & B in Wellfleet on Cape Cod that she and her husband own. When her customers want something to read, Alexandra supplies a collection of books which she talks about in her blog, Wellfleet Today.