The Summer Getaway
Already a worldwide success in mass market and trade paperback formats, Susan Mallery’s newest hardcover is an emotional, witty, and heartfelt story about a woman who takes a trip to California to figure out her life and get a break from her family...only to be reminded that life--and your children--follow you wherever you go. With a powerful mother/daughter relationship at its core, fans of Elin Hilderbrand, Susan Wiggs, Mary Alice Monroe, and Nancy Thayer will love this book.
Robyn Caldwell’s family is driving her crazy. There’s Harlow, her daughter, who’s engaged to a man she’s only known a short time and is rapidly turning into bridezilla. And her son, Austin, who would rather work with his dad’s family charter boating business than go to college. Her friend, Mindy, who’s playing with fire by contemplating an affair with her tennis instructor. And let’s not forget her ex-husband whose bad behavior has just crossed the line yet again.
Robin needs some time to catch her breath and figure out what her next step should be. So, when her beloved aunt Lillian asks her to come to Santa Barbara for an overdue visit, Robyn jumps at the chance. Her aunt Lillian is working on settling her affairs and a distant relative is staying with her that stands to inherit the house. Trouble is the last thing Robyn needs, but she refuses to let her aunt be taken advantage of.
While staying in her aunt’s beautiful, quirky mansion and spending time in the Santa Barbara sunshine with the woman who’s like a mother to her, Robyn will see herself—and the people she loves most—with a bit more clarity. And it will push her to take chances she hadn’t dreamed of before.
But life has a funny way of following you wherever you go. What began as an escape soon becomes an unforgettable adventure…and Robyn is ready to dive in, feet first.
SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship and romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations," and readers seem to agree—forty million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.
Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She's passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two Ragdoll cats and an adorable poodle who think of her as Mom.
Author website: https://www.susanmallery.com/
Q & A with Author
Q: Tell us about your latest book, who is the main character(s) and what can we expect when we pick it up?
A: The Summer Getaway, which will be out on March 15, is the story of Robyn Caldwell, a mom who has one too many things on her plate—her daughter’s wedding demands, her son’s refusal to grow up, her best friend’s self-destructive behavior, and her ex-husband’s wildly inappropriate new girlfriend: their daughter’s soon-to-be sister-in-law. She’s been focusing on everyone else’s problems so much that she forgot to make a plan for her own future.
She needs a minute. So, Robyn hops on a plane to visit her beloved great-aunt Lillian in sunny Santa Barbara, to give herself time and space to figure out what she wants the rest of her life to look like. But she’s the heart of her family, and those family ties draw everyone she loves to follow her across the country, one by one.
I adore Robyn, a smart, nurturing mom who has given so much that she forgot about herself. I think a lot of us women are like that, and I think readers will be thrilled to go along on Robyn’s journey of self-discovery.
Q: Which of your characters would you want to share a campfire with, and why?
A: Oh, Robyn, for sure. First of all, because she’s the kind of woman I love to have as a friend—great sense of humor, good conversationalist, loving, loyal, smart. And secondly, because the woman knows how to cook. (That said, I would choose a fireside table at a nice restaurant. I don’t get the appeal of eating outside.)
Q: Where do you get your ideas for your books, characters, series?
A: Ideas come from everywhere – conversations, articles. Songs are a great source of inspiration for me. I’m convinced that there’s a book in every country music song, but you might be surprised at the idea that comes from a song. For me, it’s not about the lyrics or the story of the song, as much as it is about the emotions.
So yes, ideas are everywhere, but the idea is merely a spark. The tough part is fanning that spark into flames, into a full-length women’s fiction novel. I’ve had a lot of ideas that weren’t good enough to sustain a book. I either have to reassign it as a subplot, or let it go. (That is so hard sometimes!)
The spark that led to The Summer Getaway is something no one would ever, ever guess. I had an idea to write a story about a woman who has fallen in love with an oil painting and goes in search of the artist, sure that they will share a deep connection. Instead, she discovers that the painting means nothing to him. He paints the same scene over and over again because it sells.
But there’s no artist in The Summer Getaway. No contemporary oil painting. While brainstorming the book, the idea morphed beyond recognition from that initial spark. Inspiration is a funny, ineffable thing. You don’t know where it will lead. All you can do is loosen the reins on your mind and let it run.
I couldn’t be happier with the end result. The Summer Getaway is a heartfelt, emotion-filled story of one woman’s triumph over self-doubt. Robyn is nurturing and fiercely loyal, and I love her.
I might still write about that artist. . .
Q: Did you love books as a child, what age did you begin to read and devour books, and what is the first book that you remember that made a difference in your writing (as a child or later)?
A: Oh yes, I was a voracious reader for as long as I can remember. Every Saturday, my dad took me to the library, and the rule was that I was allowed to check out as many books as I could carry. We would go home, and I’d read them all that day, and then spend the week re-reading the ones I loved. When a librarian told me how many more books I could carry if I used a tote bag, she changed my life!
I didn’t start writing until I was in college (studying accounting). In addition to my full course load, I took an evening class titled How to Write a Romance Novel. By week six of the eight-week course, I knew I wanted to write books.
My goal, still, is to make each book better than the last, so I continue to study the craft of wring. I don’t remember the first book that made a difference in my writing, so I’ll tell you about a book that did so more recently—Save the Cat! It’s a book on screenwriting. Although I don’t have aspirations of writing screenplays, I like to study screenwriting because I find the story structure helpful. Save the Cat! talked about the importance of high stakes in a way that made me think differently when plotting my books. In my books, the stakes aren’t actual life and death, but they’re deeply emotional stories, and the stakes need to feel like emotional life and death to the characters and to the reader.
Q: Can you remember one or more early books that influenced you? What were they? Did you remain interested in the same type of stories over the decades or did your interests change?
A: When I was a teenager, I discovered my best friend’s mom’s stash of romance novels. She let me borrow them whenever I wanted. I still remember the feeling that came over me when reading that first one—that moment of catching my breath when the hero’s and heroine’s eyes met in the mirror—and that early reading experience continues to influence me today.
Q: Do you read the same genre you write or branch out to relax?
A: I still love reading women’s fiction and romance. I like stories that bring me deep inside characters’ heads and hearts, and I love happy endings.
Q: Do you write under another name or in other genres? If so...please share!
A: No, I only write under Susan Mallery. Early in my career, I wrote a few historicals as Susan Macias.
Q: How many books have you written?
A: 176 and counting… (including a few that haven’t been published yet—The Boardwalk Bookshop will be out in May, Home Sweet Christmas in October, and The Sister Effect next year, assuming the title doesn’t change.) And I’m working on more.
Q: Tell us about what you are reading at the moment or anticipate reading in the future? Any new books you are looking forward to?
A: Christina Dodd has a new one coming out this summer that I can’t wait to read—Point Last Seen (publishing June 21). She’s a master of romantic suspense, and I find myself holding my breath as I read.
I’m currently reading First Comes Baby by one of my favorite romance authors and one of my favorite people, Christine Rimmer.
The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery has Robyn Caldwell at a crossroads in her life. Her daughter, Harlow is engaged and living with her fiancé, Kip. Robyn’s son has just graduated from high school and his moving into his own apartment for the summer. Her best friend is about to do something that could ruin her marriage and her ex-husband is also making questionable decisions. Robyn has some choices to make and decides to take her great-aunt Lillian up on her invitation to visit. Robyn has happy memories of the unique home outside Santa Barbara. Lilliam is ninety-four with a quick mind and spirited attitude. Robyn instantly feels better just being with Lillian in her quirky home. She is unprepared, though, for Lillian’s handsome houseguest. Robyn’s peaceful getaway is disrupted as those she loves and cares about follow her across the country one by one. Problems do not seem as daunting in the unique home with the ocean view. Robyn along with the other guests must deal with their problems and decide what they want to do with their future.
The Summer Getaway is a family drama with romance thrown into the mix. I thought the story was well-written with steady pacing. The characters are realistic and developed. They seemed like real people with realistic problems. I liked that Robyn is a mature protagonist (in her 40s). All the activity kept the book moving forward. I wanted to see what choices each character would make especially Robyn. Lillian was my favorite character. I hope I am as lively and quick witted when I am that age. I would have loved to live in Lillian’s quirky home. The Summer Getaway is an emotional novel. There are some wonderful heartwarming moments as well as some devastating ones that cause pain. There are also some laughs along the way. I especially enjoyed people’s reactions to Lillian’s home. I appreciated the epilogue that nicely wrapped up the story. I do want to warn readers there is foul language and intimate situations (some of them steamy with a little too much detail). The Summer Getaway is an entertaining story (have the popcorn ready) with family drama, romance, humor, relationship angst, poor choices, financial woes, and helpful advice. It is a great book to read on a rainy afternoon or a sunny one laying by the pool. The Summer Getaway is a diverting tale with a self-centered sister, a Don Juan dad, a flirty friend, an affable aunt, stalwart son, an ex-military man, and an odd domicile.
“I’m going to sleep with Dimitri.”
Robyn Caldwell picked up her glass of white wine and briefly thought about swallowing the entire contents in one gulp. Mindy’s statement was certainly gulp-worthy. But she knew pacing herself through lunch was the responsible thing to do. A lesson her friend had yet to learn.
“You are not,” Robyn murmured, because shrieking wasn’t attractive. Especially at “the club,” where their friends and frenemies were also enjoying Thursday’s lobster salad. The dining room was filled with forty or so women, all dressed in Florida chic—diamonds sparkling, gold or platinum charm bracelets clinking, necklaces resting on tanned and toned skin.
“I might,” Mindy Krause said, picking up her champagne. “He’s gorgeous.”
“Of course. He’s a thirty-year-old tennis pro. What else would he be?”
Mindy, a petite brunette who was six months from turning forty, sighed. “I need a Dimitri in my life.”
“You have a great husband. Payne loves you and the kids, and never has eyes for another woman. Why would you screw that up?”
“Payne would never know.”
“There aren’t any secrets in this town. Not in our social circle.”
Something Robyn had learned the hard way herself. She’d been blissfully unaware of her ex-husband’s affairs until a “friend” had oh-so-sweetly informed her.
“Maybe just some kissing,” Mindy mused. “I want a little Dimitri action. The fantasies make me happy, so imagine what the real thing would do.”
“The fantasies are safe. The real thing could destroy everything you have. Knowing you’ve cheated would devastate Payne.”
Mindy’s mouth formed a pout. “I never see him anymore. All he does is work.”
Robyn stared at her friend-slash-boss. “You two talked about how that promotion would be more work for him but that it would be worth it. You wanted this for him.”
“I didn’t know how much he’d be gone.”
The unreasonable statement grated nearly as much as Mindy’s whine. “This isn’t a good look for you,” Robyn murmured. “You’re changing the rules without telling your husband. That never ends well.”
Mindy dismissed the warning with a quick shake of her head. “I’m not worried. Besides, if he does find out, I can just move in with you.” She laughed. “You’ll soon have that big house all to yourself.”
“You have four kids,” Robyn pointed out. “If things go south in your marriage, I’d rather have Payne move in.”
“Well, that would get people talking.” Mindy held up her empty glass to the server. “More, please.”
The server obliged.
Mindy took another sip. “My sister called, swears she found a Thomas Pister chest in a tiny shop in Wales. It’s dirt cheap, so I’m afraid it’s a fake. She’s looking for someone to prove authenticity. Wouldn’t that be a find?”
“It would. I’d love to see it.”
Thomas Pister had built beautiful chests and cabinets in the late 1600s and early 1700s. His intricate designs with stunning inlays sold quickly and for huge amounts. Depending on the condition and the materials, a good-sized chest of drawers could go for sixty or eighty thousand dollars.
The Summer Getaway is available from Amazon*, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org, Books-a-Million, Indie Bound, Google Play, Apple Books, Kobo, Walmart, and Target. You can find the Kindle version here and Nook version here. You can follow Susan Mallery on Amazon and receive an email when she has a new book release. Susan Mallery has The Boardwalk Bookshop publishing on May 31. Thank you for joining me today. I will return tomorrow with The Unveiling of Polly Forrest by Charlotte Whitney. I hope that you have a joyful day. We all need more happiness in our lives. Take care, stay safe, and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
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