This is a really good book. Same Time, Next Year is about love and friendship, unfulfilled dreams, and midlife marriage mania. It is loaded with Dorothea Benton Frank’s Southern humor, good manners, and hospitality.
Same Beach, Next Year is the story of two couples who meet, vacation together, and become very good friends. Each couple rents a summer vacation condo in a beachfront condominium complex on the Isle of Palms in South Carolina. It is told from the the viewpoint of Adam and Eliza Stanley over a time span of over twenty years.
When the two couples meet, they are young families with toddlers. Adam and Eliza Stanley are happily married and have twin boys. Carl and Eve Landers have one daughter and their marriage is a little rocky. Adam and Eve reveal that that they dated in high school and have not seen each other in years. The two couples have a good time together and begin to spend two weeks every summer vacationing together. Each year, sparks fly between Adam and Eve. Eliza and Carl begin to suspect that their spouses are falling back in love with each other. Life goes on and a middle age incident occurs that has the power to ruin their friendships and marriages. The incident spurs the personal growth and healing of the four friends. Childhood issues are resolved. But it may too late to heal the marriages of the two couples.
This novel has everything I like: the beach, romance, travel, cooking, family, quirky characters, and Southern humor. Middle age angst and marital problems were a bonus and very relatable. Eve and Eliza had self esteem problems and were unable to get their needs met. Adam had never gotten over his first love. Women often sacrifice their own dreams and needs and wants for the wellbeing of their families. Critical mothers sabotage self esteem. Male/female relationships can be confusing. It is very painful to find yourself unfulfilled and unsatisfied in midlife. Resolving these issues while maintaining a happy marriage can be daunting.
Dorothea Benton Frank is one of my favorite authors. I love her sense of humor and dialogue. It can be a little salty. She is currently a very excited grandmother-to-be. Check out her website and Facebook page.