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Likely Stories – Summer Island by Kirstin Hannah

Admired journalist finds herself in a scandal

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Kristen Hannah is the best-selling author of Summer Island.  According to the Washington Post Book World, “Hannah is superb at delving into the characters’ psyches and delineating nuance of feeling.”

The story begins. “An early evening rain had fallen. In the encroaching darkness, the streets of Seattle lay like mirrored strips between the glittering gray high-rises. // Purpled-haired kids with nose rings and ragged clothes zipped through downtown in brand-new, bright Ferraris. [ ] Part of the reason for their current of success was Nora Bridge, the newest sensation in talk radio. (3).

Nora discovers a scandal, which “broke with gale force. Those humiliating photographs were every where, and the newspapers and television stations that didn’t own the pictures described them in excruciating detail. // Nora sat huddled in her own living room, refusing to go anywhere. The thought of being seen terrified her. // Her assistant, Dee Langhor, had shone up bright and early in the morning—I came the minute I heard—and Nora felt pathetically grateful. Now Dee was in Nora’s home office, fielding phone calls. // With everything on Nora’s mind, one thing kept rising to the surface; she should have called Caroline the day before, to warn her about the coming media storm. // [ ]

In the end, Nora had chosen to handle the impending disaster as she handled all difficult things: she’d taken two sleeping pills and turned off the phone. In the morning, she’d had a short respite…then she turned on the television. The story had been picked up by every morning show” (34).

Nora had to make a call. “She reaches for the phone, accessed the second line, and pushed number one on the speed-dial list. Her heart was pounding so heard she couldn’t hear the ringing on the other end. // “Hello?” // It took Nora a moment to respond—God, she wanted to hang up the phone. ‘Cara? It’s me. Mom’ // There was a pause that seemed to strip away a layer of Nora’s tender flesh. ‘Well. I hope you are going to tell me you were kidnapped yesterday, and the FBI just freed you from prison in the back of some psycho fans trunk’ // ‘I wasn’t kidnapped’ // ‘I found out this morning when I dropped Jenny off at preschool.’ She laughed sharply. ‘Mona Carlson asked me how it felt to see pictures [ ] like that. [ ] Nora didn’t know how to respond. Defending herself was pointless; worse, it was offensive. ‘I’m sorry. I couldn’t call’” (34-35).

Summer Island is a novel I stumbled upon several years ago, and it is finally out of my TBR pile. 5 Stars!

Likely Stories is a production of KWBU.  I’m Jim McKeown.  Join me again next time for Likely Stories, and happy reading!