Tuesday, July 25, 2023

The Summer of Songbirds by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Four women come together to save the summer camp that changed their lives and rediscover themselves in the process in this moving new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Veil and the Peachtree Bluff series.

Nearly thirty years ago, in the wake of a personal tragedy, June Moore bought Camp Holly Springs and turned it into a thriving summer haven for girls. But now, June is in danger of losing the place she has sacrificed everything for, and begins to realize how much she has used the camp to avoid facing difficulties in her life.

June’s niece, Daphne, met her two best friends, Lanier and Mary Stuart, during a fateful summer at camp. They’ve all helped each other through hard things, from heartbreak and loss to substance abuse and unplanned pregnancy, and the three are inseparable even in their thirties. But when attorney Daphne is confronted with a relationship from her past—and a confidential issue at work becomes personal—she is faced with an impossible choice.

Lanier, meanwhile, is struggling with tough decisions of her own. After a run-in with an old flame, she is torn between the commitment she made to her fiancĂ© and the one she made to her first love. And when a big secret comes to light, she finds herself at odds with her best friend…and risks losing the person she loves most.

But in spite of their personal problems, nothing is more important to these songbirds than Camp Holly Springs. When the women learn their childhood oasis is in danger of closing, they band together to save it, sending them on a journey that promises to open the next chapters in their lives.

From an author whose “writing coats your soul with heart” ( E! Online ), The Summer of Songbirds is a lyrical and unforgettable celebration of female friendship, summertime freedom, and enduring sisterhood—and a love letter to the places and people that make us who we are.

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published July 11, 2023
 by Gallery Books 
4.5/5 stars

The cover of this book immediately gives off a summery vibe, and let me tell you, it lives up to the hype. I haven't read many books by Kristy Woodson Harvey, but she has quickly become one of my go-to authors.

The Summer of Songbirds kicks off with three scared six-year-old girls meeting at Camp Holly Springs and becoming the best of friends. This story is all about friendship - the highs, the lows, the heartbreak, and the unbreakable bonds that hold them together. I could go into all the nitty-gritty details, but it's a story with many layers and quite capitvating.

The story is told from different perspectives and jumps between timelines, allowing me to really get to know these women. Despite staying in touch and remaining close over the next 30 or so years, they come together to save their beloved camp. There's a lot happening in this book - secrets, marriages, first loves, babies, family drama, and even more secrets. It's beautifully written and showcases how family isn't always about blood ties.  

The Summer of Songbirds has all the ingredients for a perfect summer read.

This book was part of my 2023 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge - #51

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