06/28/2013 06:01 pm ET Updated Aug 28, 2013

THE SUMMER GIRLS Is a Story About Three Women and a Dolphin

Book Review Jackie K Cooper
THE SUMMER GIRLS by Mary Alice Monroe

When you read a Mary Alice Monroe book you know you are going to get a compelling story plus a lesson in the protection of the environment. In her new novel THE SUMMER GIRLS, Monroe tells the story of three sisters and one attentive dolphin. As the story of the sisters expands so does the information about the way dolphins should be treated and protected. This makes for another wonderful Monroe book that is absorbing and informative.

The "summer girls" are Dora, Carson and Harper Muir. They each have different mothers but share the same father, Parker Muir. Parker was raised well to do and privileged by his parents who doted on him. He was an aspiring writer who never polished his talent with hard work. Although he meant well by his family he was a hopeless alcoholic who married three times, and each union produced a daughter. There were also two divorces and one wife died in a tragic accident.

During their younger years the three Muir girls spent the summers at Sea Breeze, the summer home of their Mamaw (Parker's mother) which was located outside Charleston in the low country. Marietta "Mamaw" Parker is getting up in age and wants to get the three women back together one more time. She hopes that being at Sea Breeze will make them close again.

Carson is the "summer girl" who is the main focus of this book. She lived in California with her father and took care of him up until the time of his death. She is a talented photographer and also worked in the entertainment industry. Lately it seems she is having a hard time staying employed. Perhaps it could be due to her own alcohol intake.

When she comes to Sea Breeze she is unemployed and is more than willing to take up her grandmother's offer of spending the summer there. She gets a part time job as a waitress and spends most of her time in and on the water. It is here that she meets the dolphin she names Delphine. There is an almost mystical bond between them and Carson comes to think of the dolphin as a "pet".

This book contains drama, humor and romance which any good summer read does. Plus it has the message about the care and treatment of dolphins. Monroe is an expert at making this blend and THE SUMMER GIRLS is one of her most successful efforts.

THE SUMMER GIRLS is the first book in a trilogy about the low country which is a welcome notice for Monroe's many, many fans. If the next two stories are as good as this first one then bring them on. But be advised THE SUMMER GIRLS is a book complete within itself. Monroe does not leave her readers up in the air about this story.

THE SUMMER GIRLS is published by Gallery Books. It contains 385 pages and sells for $16.00.

Jackie K Cooper