Emma Mapson, a busy single mom, expects that the summer season will be a little crazy, with her teenage daughter, Penny, out of school and the touristy crowds flooding the American Hotel where she works. But to Emma's shock, this summer becomes wildly different from any other Sag Harbor, N.Y., summer. First, celebrated artist Henry Wyatt, who had been helping Penny with her dreams of writing a graphic novel, dies in the lobby of the American Hotel. Then, Emma discovers that Henry left his vast beachside mansion to her daughter.
But Henry's business partner and friend of decades, Bea Winstead, turns up, claiming that Penny and Emma must have tricked Henry into leaving the house to them, because he'd always planned to have it turned into a museum for his artwork after his death. Bea battles Emma for the house, and Emma worries about Penny, whose OCD has gotten markedly worse in the wake of Henry's death. In the background, the idyllic Sag Harbor setting provides the perfect relaxing counterpoint to the tension in Emma's life.
Readers of Elin Hilderbrand or Nancy Thayer are sure to love Drawing Home, a charming entry in the heartwarming beach read canon. Jamie Brenner (The Forever Summer, The Husband Hour) has created a slew of likable, flawed characters, all struggling to handle their grief at Henry's death and figure out his apparently conflicting final wishes. Emma, Bea and Penny end up learning surprising lessons about themselves and each other as the summer unfolds. --Jessica Howard, bookseller at Bookmans, Tucson, Ariz.