Nancy Thayer

Photo of Nancy Thayer

Photo: © Kit Noble Photography

About the Author

Nancy Thayer is the New York Times bestselling author of Secrets in Summer, The Island House, The Guest Cottage, An Island Christmas, Nantucket Sisters, A Nantucket Christmas, Island Girls, Summer Breeze, Heat Wave, Beachcombers, Summer House, Moon Shell Beach, and The Hot Flash Club. She lives on Nantucket.

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Hot Flash Club

Author Essay

The Family of Summer House

As a child, I thought my mother was the most beautiful woman in the world. She’s 90 now, and I still think that.

I’ve kept the photo albums of her as a young woman with my father, an officer in the Army in WWII. Through the years I’ve read and reread Daddy’s letters to my mother, written to her from Germany, and Belgium, and secret places. My parents were just ordinary people, from Kansas, and yet they had a glamour that fascinated me.

I loved my family–my extended family of aunt and uncle and cousins, too, although they always seemed annoyingly perfect to me, never as messy as my own family. Yet, as I grew up, I longed to rebel, to escape from the definition of myself as part of any family. I wanted to be my own person. I wanted to make my own choices. And I made them. And believe me, I made a few mistakes.

When I was in my thirties, my parents confided a secret to my sister. Not to me, to my sister! Of course, she immediately phoned me to share the news. I was stunned. And hurt–why hadn’t my parents told me first? I was the older sister!

These events and emotions are the catalysts for Summer House, about three women in a large, close-knit family.

Charlotte is 30, rebelling against her family’s goals for her life, and privately atoning for a terrible mistake she made.

Helen, 60, has overheard a conversation that brings her agony–and a chance to understand her place in the family.

And Nona, at 90, knows the time has come to reveal the most profound secret of all.

The family gathers at Nona’s summer house on Nantucket, where the tranquil surface of the beautiful island can not hide the consequences of desire and betrayal, and also of forgiveness and love.

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