[Note from Frolic: Today, we welcome author Wendy Francis to the site. She’s dreaming of summer, and so are we. Take it away, Wendy!]
There’s a saying that you can take a girl out of her hometown, but you can’t take the hometown out of a girl. I would argue that the same goes for summer – no matter how far away summer gets from us, you can never completely take summer out of us. Or at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself these past twelve months while I’ve been trapped inside my house and dreaming of sun-splashed days at the beach.
Because let’s face it: last year was the summer that never was. Gone were the backyard barbecues and late-night gatherings around the bonfire. Missing was the annual packing of the car to the rafters with tubes and floaties and ice coolers for the beach. Absent were the lackadaisical days in the hammock, each swing signifying not a care in the world.
Instead, our doors closed behind us; we grew extra vigilant about handwashing and mask-wearing. We drifted apart, and many of us suffered tremendous loss. There were times when it felt as if the world was trying to wring the last drops of summer, of hope, from our souls.
But now that the days are growing longer, I’m aware of that flicker again, a sense that the trees are turning back on, their pointy buds promising green soon enough. The crocuses and daffodils are daring to poke through the dark earth once more. You get the feeling that nature is ready to brush itself off to usher in not only springtime but also a full-on, griddle-hot summer.
And isn’t that what we’ve all been craving? A chance to begin fresh. A restart. Renewal. As the vaccine whips its way across the country, it feels as if it might be safe to nurture a kernel of joy again. To imagine hugging our nearest and dearest. To anticipate a summer of pleasure and soul-soothing.
Which is what I hope my new novel, Summertime Guests, will offer you – a chance to revisit those carefree days like the ones we knew before the world went slightly off kilter. An opportunity to, well, frolic.
The book takes place at a fictitious grand hotel, The Seafarer, located in Boston’s Seaport District. Think oysters on the half shell, inventive cocktails, croquet on the lawn, and lounge chairs scattered about a refreshing pool. This is where my mind wandered during the darkest days of isolation, when my tween boy bemoaned the frustrations of homeschooling (oftentimes directly in my ear). Because who doesn’t crave warm sunshine and sea breezes and ambling along the harborside? I wanted the summertime that lives inside me to walk right over and take me out on the town, away from never-ending anxiety.
And that’s what we did, summertime and I. We became something like best friends over the last twelve months. Whenever life seemed overwhelming, I dove back into writing, back to the Seafarer Hotel where I suspected new friends awaited.
And while Summertime Guests is partly a mystery (a guest dies unexpectedly at the hotel), it’s really more of a love story. A love story about four very different couples. There’s a young couple, newly enchanted and recently engaged. There’s a married pair with a baby at home, a baby who has significantly altered the contours of their relationship. Then there’s a couple who’s together — but maybe shouldn’t be – and finally, a woman, recently widowed, who has come to town with intentions of rekindling an old college romance.
I hope you’ll be able to reach out and grab summer from these pages. That you’ll rediscover the zest for good times and fun (should you need to) by transporting yourself to one of the colorful lounge chairs at the Seafarer. And may your Summer 2021 be filled with real gatherings big and small, overflowing with beloved friends and family ‒ and so much laughter that your sides ache. Remember what that feels like? Enjoy!
About the Author:
Wendy Francis is a former book editor and the author of the novels The Summer Sail, The Summer of Good Intentions, Three Good Things, and Best Behavior. Her essays have appeared in Good Housekeeping, The Washington Post, Yahoo Parenting, The Huffington Post, and WBUR’s Cognoscenti. A proud stepmom of two grown-up children, she lives outside Boston with her husband and eleven-year-old son.
The Summertime Guests by Wendy Francis, out April 6!
The Seafarer is the place to see and be seen in the summer…
With its rich history and famous guests, the glamorous Boston hotel is no stranger to drama. But the bustle at the iconic property reaches new heights one weekend in mid-June when someone falls tragically to her death, the event rippling through the lives of four very different people.
Bride-to-be Riley is at the hotel to plan her wedding. She would have preferred a smaller, more intimate celebration, but her bossy mother-in-law has taken charge and her fiancé hasn’t seemed to notice. Jean-Paul, the hotel’s manager, is struggling to keep his marriage and new family afloat, but now he must devote all his energy to this latest scandal at work. Claire, recently widowed, comes to town to connect with a long-lost love, but has too much changed in the last thirty years? And then there’s Jason, whose romantic getaway with his girlfriend has not exactly gone the way he’d hoped and instead has him facing questions he can’t bring himself to answer.
Over three sun-drenched days, as the truth about the woman who died—and the secret she was hiding—is uncovered, these four strangers become linked in the most unexpected of ways. Together, they just might find the strength they need to turn their own lives around.