Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews: Book Review

Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews Book Cover

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Cover of Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews4 Stars

Old friends Ellis, Julia, and Dorie have rented a beach house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a month. They’ve realized that their lives are moving along quickly and they want to spend some time together again. Ellis makes the arrangements and they all show up for a lazy vacation for the month of August.

But they’re all in tough places in their lives. Ellis was recently downsized, Julia’s disenchanted with her modeling career, and Dorie’s just not her normal perky self. With Ellis and Dorie worried about money, Dorie seizes on the opportunity to rent out the extra bedroom on the top floor of the house to a perfect stranger she meets in a diner one day, Madison. But Madison has troubles of her own.

So this wasn’t one of my favorite MKA novels (that would have to be one of the Savannah books), but it was still a fun little escape. It was wonderful to hear about August on the Outer Banks as I drove around in the last gray days of winter, wondering if there was really a sun up there somewhere.

I loved Ellis, Julia, and Dorie–from a distance. Ellis is a control freak and she was pushing my buttons at the beginning. Julia is pushy in her own way and too nosy for her own good. Dorie is a sweetheart though. And Madison is so bristly and quiet that I even felt like she was pushing me away–and we find out her story very early on. But they felt like a real group of old friends in the way that they laughed and fought and told it to each other straight.

Ty, the next-door neighbor, is a dreamboat of a man. He’s not perfect either, being entirely too stubborn for his own good, but I was happy to “watch” him from afar.

This is the second book I’ve listened to that was narrated by Isabel Keating and I really like her. She doesn’t go overboard with the voices but I can always tell who’s talking. She just has a great speaking voice.

There were a couple of things that I didn’t like though. The first is the big romance. It just happened waaaaay too fast. Don’t get me wrong–I do love my happily-ever-afters, but this was faster than the speed of light! The other thing is that the author didn’t quite capture the feel of the Outer Banks for me the way that she captures the feel of Savannah. The women could be on any Southern beach. The Outer Banks are a special place but I couldn’t tell it from this book. Or maybe it’s just that I’m a North Carolina girl and overly sensitive!

Those two things aside, this was a perfect escapist read that will have you ready to grab your girlfriends and head to the beach.

Read or listen to an excerpt.

Find author Mary Kay Andrews on her website, her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Buy Summer Rental at

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.

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  1. I didn't like this one as much as her others that I've read either. I really liked Hissy Fit and the first Savannah book (haven't read the rest yet) and I loved Spring Fever. This felt more like a Nancy Thayer or Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel to me. You are right that the setting didn't quite come alive like in some of her other books.

  2. The Outer Banks ARE a very special place – we used to have Beach Week there during college.

    I listened to one of MKA's books for the first time late last year and liked it – it had the same narrator so I think I will check this one out too!

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