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Best Beach Reads for a Tybee Island Beach Day

By: Brittany Howard

If you're like many of us, after a cool ocean dip and building a sandcastle or two, you're ready to relax under the shade of your beach umbrella with your lunch cooler, a refreshing drink in one hand and a good book in the other. Fact, fiction, mystery or history, our coastal location has been the topic of discussion for writers.

It's time to dig your beach chair in the sand a little deeper and add that third coat of sunscreen because once you start this literary journey, you'll be here for a while.


Photo courtesy of @nomadi.adventures on Instagram

"Hello Summer"

"Hello Summer" by Mary Kay Andrews is but one of 30 novels written by one of our local favorites and follows the story of Conley Hawkins. Conley Hawkins returns to her small-town roots after her career plans go awry. She finds herself uncovering secrets in her hometown, from local scandals to a dangerous congressman with a shady past. As she navigates her way through the gossip column she oversees and reconnects with old hearts and new flames, finding herself amid a summer of big-time secrets.


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"The Last Song"

A story that we're sure needs no introduction but would make our list seem incomplete is "The Last Song" by Nicholas Sparks. Most of us have seen the film and recognize the location as Tybee Island, but the book takes a more in-depth dive into the characters' lives we are so familiar with. Veronica "Ronnie" Miller's life was chaotic when her parents divorced, and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Despite the distance, Ronnie remained angry and estranged from her parents. In an attempt to mend their relationship, Ronnie's mother sends her to Wilmington to spend the summer with her father. There, Veronica encounters a new world, one of a former concert pianist and teacher (her father), living a quiet life with a newfound passion for creating a work of art for a local church. Ronnie discovers the healing power of love as she rekindles her relationship with her father and experiences the joys of first love.


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"Terror on Tybee Island"

Dun, dun, dun! Trixie Montgomery's relaxing vacation is disturbed by a gruesome discovery on the beach one moonlit evening. A homeless cat, a diamond bracelet, and a corpse buried in the dunes lead Trixie and her best friend, Dee Dee Lamont, on a thrilling adventure to uncover the killer. When Trixie's beloved aunt Nana gets taken, they must act fast to save her in Deborah Malone's "Terror on Tybee Island," a thrilling cozy mystery set on the seaside.


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"Forever Across The Marsh"

Unofficial but official Savannah "native" Jeff Pearson will take you on a coming-of-age journey as you relax by the water. A story of perseverance, mystery and yearning, "Forever Across The Marsh" is about Melvin Scott, a family man, and how expectancy and understanding of what matters most can help him confront the dark forces that haunt his past. After an unexpected encounter with a bully from childhood, Scott must confront that same enemy as an adult. He must face the harsh dormant fear and discover the power of what truly matters.


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"Double-Crossed Bones"

The Bucket List Mysteries by S.C. Merritt, "Double-Crossed Bones" (book 3 of 3), introduces us to besties Maisie and Dot. Maisie and Dot can hardly contain their excitement as they set off on their vacation to Tybee Island. But their plans for a yo-ho-ho good time at the local pirate festival quickly turn sour when they stumble upon the lifeless body of the newly-crowned Pirate King. This unexpected discovery puts a damper on their vacation plans as they must now take on the task of finding the murderer and saving their friend and her husband from jail time. Join the ladies as they try to find out who killed Not-So-Jolly Roger and prove that finding a dead pirate is a surefire way to ruin a good vacation.


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"The Camellia Thief & Other Tales: Savannah Sideways Vol. 2"

This new collection of essays from award-winning columnist Jessica Leigh Lebos is a captivating read that follows her spirited storytelling several years after the first Savannah Sideways book. With her unique perspective as an adopted Southerner and camellia thief, in "The Camellia Thief & Other Tales: Savannah Sideways Vol. 2," Lebos explores post-pandemic life in a charming city that is quickly growing, leaving many to ponder if it is getting too big for its britches.


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"Fallin in Love"

We couldn't leave you without a great romance, right? But with a bit of "entanglements" mixed in. Hey, it's only fair! As part of the Secrets of Savannah series written by Belle Calhoun, book five of six, "Fallin in Love," is the journey of six best friends, inseparable since childhood (but not without strife), who reunite to renovate an old Bed & Breakfast on Tybee Island. Each woman discovers a unique talent while finding romance with an unexpected martyr. From the prestigious Duvall family of Savannah, Charlotte Duvall suffers from low self-confidence. She grudges Marc Cabron, who came between her brother and his fiancée. Marc returns to Savannah after an exile and is brought back into the public eye to help the ladies of Savannah House. Despite their shaky history, Charlotte and Marc begin to develop a relationship, but their past issues, secrets and deceptions must be dealt with to find true love.


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"The Memory of Glass"

Wealth, mystery, family secrets and unrequited love. Oh, yes! Savannah local Brenna Lauren will have you glued to each page of "The Memory of Glass." Whitney, the heir to a glass family, returns to her eccentric family's home after her grandfather's mysterious death. She discovers that she is part of an arranged marriage and must solve a series of spooky puzzles with Ephraim (the one that got away) while trapped in her family's haunted mansion to uncover a dark family secret, a century-old murder mystery and an Egyptian diamond. If they find the diamond, it could save the Darling family's legacy and grant Whitney and Ephraim a second chance at love.


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"Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"

We know you know the movie, and you've traced the steps of each filming location - but have you read the book? A beach day is an ideal chance to engross yourself in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," John Berendt's non-fictional narrative about a shooting that occurred in one of Savannah's most elegant mansions in 1981, The Mercer-Williams House. The crime and its aftermath gripped the city known for its moss-hung oaks magnetic charm and shaded squares, as it was unclear -was murder or self-defense? The story is populated with unforgettable characters, from the societal ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club and poisonous carrying recluse to the biting and pretentious antique dealer (Jim Williams) and the voodoo priestess Minerva. Berendt reveals the various alliances and conspiracies within the city where everyone knows each other and there's no escaping the unpredictable twists and turns of the case.


Photo courtesy of @cbarrick312 on Instagram

"Savannah From Savannah"

And because we love a good series, here's another one for you. In book one of three, Denise Hildreth Jones introduces us to headstrong Savannah. Yes, "Savannah From Savannah." Savannah Phillip is a 24-year-old determined to prove she doesn't need her mother's stinking help to make a name for herself and forge her own dreams. After discovering her mother was behind her literary win (the shame!), Savannah rejects the publishing offer and returns to her hometown of Savannah, Georgia. She gets a job at the local paper and aims to uncover the truth behind a rigged beauty pageant. Along the way, she learns to accept her calling and carves her own path to success.

Did any of these summer reads peak your interest? Drop by Seaside Sisters on Tybee Island or E. Shaver Booksellers in Savannah for these and other literary works that are just as smitten with our coastal cities. See ya on the sand!

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