While we try our best to compile a thorough Summer Reading List each year, a few books still manage to slip by us. Here are five late summer reads to get you through the dog days and help usher you into fall.
The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio
While not set in the South, this garden mystery’s famous camellia hails from Charleston. In Jio’s plot, the last surviving specimen of a camellia known as the Middlebury Pink is hidden away on an English country estate. Two American women separated by more than 50 years are linked by their search for the bloom and threatened by their discovery of long-lost secrets and ghastly crimes.
Tampa by Alissa Nutting
One of the summer’s most controversial novels about a Florida middle-school teacher who seduces a student, “Tampa” has been called “a scorching literary debut.” Twenty-six-year-old teacher Celeste Price unrepentantly recounts how she lured 14-year-old Jack Patrick into her web of deception and desire.
Weaving the Unraveling by Heidi A. Eckert
Set in Mobile, Alabama, Eckert’s first novel is about lost love and the courage to rebuild a life after divorce. Main character Anna returns to the Gulf Coast to try and make sense of her crumbling marriage and the teenage love of her life who still haunts her dreams. On the beaches of Fort Morgan, she meets a widower, and together they help each other heal and come to terms with the choices they’ve made in life.
Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall
The summer of 1963 begins like any other for 9-year-old Starla Claudelle, who is being raised by her strict paternal grandmother. When Starla is grounded on the Fourth of July, she sneaks out to see the parade but gets caught and decides to run away from home. Once out in the country, Starla is offered a ride by a black woman traveling with a white baby. She happily accepts a ride, with the ultimate goal of reaching her mother in Nashville.
The Year of the Storm by John Mantooth
Described as having hints of Tom Franklin’s “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter,” this debut novel is set in rural Alabama, where secrets are buried deep and a violent storm has broken up a family. When Danny was 14, his mother and sister disappeared after a storm with no clues to their whereabouts. Months later, a disheveled war vet shows up at Danny’s door claiming to know what happened to them and telling a story that’s almost unbelievable.