I’m honoured today to be joining the tour for Birdie and Jude which has been organised by Rachel from https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/ . I’m hosting a fabulous guest post about beach reads and the nostalgia they induce.
A moving novel of loss, regret, denial, and discovery on Galveston Island, from the author of Opal’s Story and The Ember Months.
Birdie has lived to regret many of her decisions, but she doesn’t regret offering a stranger, Jude, shelter from an approaching hurricane. Their serendipitous meeting will form a bond that will change their lives forever.
In a character driven story with memories of the protests and inequality plaguing the 1960’s, Birdie’s reached middle age and questions her life. Jude is striking out on her own, but has been derailed by a fatal accident claiming her only friend. Although their backgrounds and lives are vastly different, they recognize something in the other that forges a friendship.
As their relationship solidifies, they share glimpses of their pasts. Birdie is a product of the ’60’s, an aging hippie, with a series of resentments. She had a sheltered childhood in an upper class family. Her parents longed to see her make the Texas Dip at the Mardi Gras ball. Jude, however, entered foster care as an infant. Her parents, victims of a murder/suicide, left her and her siblings orphaned and separated.
There is something about their connection that strikes Birdie as familiar. Can souls know each other in different lives? Birdie struggles with the awareness that she has had regrets and hasn’t lived an authentic life, while Jude faces an uncomfortable truth about her own. It has all the feels.
Nostalgia the Best Beach Read
By Phyllis H. Moore
It’s a magical time on Galveston Island, the weather and ocean are warm. Summer days are long, and a sandy beach with clear water lapping at the ankles is on our minds. Colorful woven bags will be thrown over shoulders with sunscreen, towels, and “beach reads.”
What’s a beach read? According to a 2016 article in the Harvard Political Review, “…there’s no concrete definition of the category, making any conclusions about the market difficult to solidify.” For some it might be rereading a classic and taking the time to enjoy prose they previously skimmed for a literature class. While others might pick up a used paperback thriller in a thrift shop, holding it in one hand and a cold beer in the other. Whatever it is, for me, it’s a reminder of summers past, any summer.
I’m sixty-six, so that’s a lot of summers. If I see the title, Rebecca, my mind immediately goes back to a summer in my childhood when I read my first adult novel. It transported me to a dark cliff and mysterious house in another country. There was a beach, but it was a long drop. Because we didn’t have air-conditioning, and I was propped on a quilt on my bed or under a tree, I liked imagining the cool stormy setting. However, I don’t think very many would classify Daphne DuMaurier as a beach read.
Colorful, bright book covers could make a beach read. The book looks great among vibrant towels in a see-through beach bag. It’s best to count on someone asking, “What are you reading?” So maybe the cover should have great content to report. My latest novella, And Then There’s Us, is a quick, slightly romantic, read with a colorful cover. However, readers don’t always agree on what captures their attention. This is why I harken back to my own summers and the feelings evoked there to define a beach read.
I recall afternoons designated for naps, resting on my brother’s vacant twin bed on a Bates bedspread reading Classic Comics and Mad Magazine. Unless I had a ride to the library, there were no other choices. I loved reading the stories in the magazines over and over. Nancy Drew books were the first to capture my attention, so mysteries mean beach read for me. I also liked picking up my grandmother’s Reader’s Digest and reading condensed versions of novels. I consider myself well-rounded due to the Mad Magazine/Reader’s Digest experience. I know, it dates me. So, on my trips to the pool in my parents’ 1957 Chevy, either of these might be stuffed down in my bag.
Short stories in an anthology, especially ghost stories, appeal to me. They can be repeated around a campfire or recited on stormy summer nights at a slumber party. Virginia Wolff, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, and O’Henry were introduced to me in their short stories. I have an anthology of short stories with a spooky slant, all inspired by my summers in south Texas, The Bridge on Jackson Road. Boo! The cover reminds me of the “B” movies we watched on sultry Saturday afternoons at the downtown theatre.
So, here’s what I think a beach read is: any story that makes a connection for the reader with summer, vacation, and pleasure. Maybe it’s a reminder of eating homemade ice cream while reading The Thornbirds and longing to go to Australia. Or, it could be remembering a rainy Sunday in August while reading The Swiss Family Robinson. It’s a classic or a new release, a short story, a mystery series, a memoir, or a tale of an epic adventure, anything that transports the reader to memories of, longings for, or present summer days.
Nostalgia is the best beach read. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, until someone comes up with a better idea.
Whatever you choose to read, if it captures your imagination and transports you to another place, your time has been well-spent.
Author Bio – Phyllis H. Moore
Phyllis H. Moore wants to live life experiences more than once: doing it, writing about it, and reading about it. The atmosphere of the south draws her in and repels her. The characters are rich with dysfunction and redemption, real. She’s had two careers and two retirements. Both careers gave her inspiration for her novels: The Sabine Series, Sabine, Billy’s Story, Josephine’s Journals and Secrets of Dunn House, Opal’s Story, Tangled, a Southern Gothic Yarn, and The Bright Shawl, Colors of Tender Whispers, The Ember Months, Birdie & Jude, and an anthology of spooky short stories inspired by real places and events, The Bridge on Jackson Road. In 2018 she also released a new genre for her, A Dickens of a Crime, a Meg Miller Cozy Mystery. She has authored one nonfiction book, Retirement, Now What? Phyllis has been published by Caffeinated Press in the anthology, Brewed Awakenings 2, Fifteen Tales to Jolt Your Mind Awake. She blogs on her web site http://www.phyllishmoore.com. Follow her on Pinterest and Facebook.
Phyllis is a retired social worker and former owner/operator of a small bed and breakfast. She’s lived in the rural areas and cities of south Texas. She currently lives on Galveston Island with her husband, Richard.
Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/phyllishmooreAuthor/