This is a story about the estranged relationship between a mother and daughter. Nora Bridge is a well-known and respected advice columnist and radio talk show host who is always espousing the importance of family. In reality, Nora and her own daughter haven't spoken in years. Ruby Bridge is a struggling standup comic who's stand-up routine consists of telling stinging jokes about the mother who abandoned her.
Things change when Nora's fans turn against her after a secret in her past is made public by a would-be blackmailer. When Nora is hurt in a car accident, she flees to the family summer cottage to recover from her injuries and get away from the tabloid press. When Ruby surprisingly volunteers to come to the summer cottage to take care of her mother while she recovers, Nora is hopeful this will lead to a reconciliation with her daughter. What Nora doesn't know is that Ruby has accepted $50,000 to write a "tell all" magazine article about her mother.
This sounds like the makings of a good story (and I haven't even mentioned the rekindling of a childhood romance storyline, or the childhood friend who is now dying storyline). The book isn't bad, but it did fall a bit flat for me. It probably didn't help that Ruby isn't the most sympathetic character.
"Summer Island" was not nearly as compelling a story as Kristin Hannah's "The Nightingale", an historical fiction about two sisters during the Second World War. Nor was it as enjoyable a read as "Firefly Lane", about two best friends during the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties. I think this book deserves 3.5 stars, but I'm rounding up because of the goodwill left over from prior books I've read by this author. And because I look forward to reading another Kristin Hannah book soon.