Friday, June 25, 2010

"Summer Shift"

Lynn Kiele Bonasia is the author of two novels set on Cape Cod, the latest of which, Summer Shift (Touchstone, Simon & Schuster), came out June 1, 2010. A former advertising copywriter, Lynn now lives and writes on the Cape full time. She also just sold her first teen novel, Countess Nobody, which will be released next summer with Egmont USA.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Summer Shift and reported the following:
From page 69:
…But as a young child, she imagined that she could not possibly drown, and even that she could breathe underwater. Relaxing her whole body, she could go what seemed like minutes without air. Rather than clench the breath in her lungs, she held it softly so that she could barely tell where the air stopped and the water began. Now she imagined what it might be like to let the water in through her mouth and nose, how the salt water might fill every orifice, bloating her like a water balloon, smoothing out the wrinkles, plumping her flesh, and restoring her pale ivory skin for one last time. It might be a fitting end, surrendering herself to the sea to honor all the unsuspecting fish, mollusks, and crustaceans that had been plucked from their homes, only to end up on a blue plate, in a basket or on a bed of kale.
Forty-four year old Mary Hopkins is the long-time owner of a successful clam bar on Cape Cod. By page 69, she has learned that one of her servers, a young mother, has died in a drunk driving accident. By page 69, Mary is recalling the events surrounding her own husband’s accidental death fourteen years earlier. By page 69, Mary has learned that her great aunt believes someone is breaking into her apartment to use her pots and pans. By page 69, Mary has discovered a secret tryst between two kitchen workers. And by page 69, Mary suspects an old flame that had broken her heart what feels like a lifetime ago may have finally resurfaced.

By page 69, Mary is feeling old, out of touch, lonely, rueful and lost. She stands at the water’s edge now and contemplates what it might be like to drown. Mary has hit bottom. And things are about to get worse.

I must admit I was relieved to see that page 69 of Summer Shift contained a significant moment in the book, that instant where a woman who has been just going through the motions season after season suddenly stops to consider the relevance of her life. That very next morning (also on page 69) she is visited by a dream that gives her hope that she is worthy of being loved.

Everything in our lives is in a continual state of flux. One moment we feel forlorn, the next, something happens to provide comfort and impel us forward. Finding grace is all about learning how to ride the waves, something Cape Codders learn to do at an early age.
Read an excerpt from Summer Shift, and learn more about the book and author at Lynn Kiele Bonasia's website and blog.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue