The Myth of Perpetual Summer (Paperback)
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From the national bestselling author of Whistling Past the Graveyard comes a moving coming-of-age tale set in the tumultuous sixties that harkens to both Ordinary Grace and The Secret Life of Bees.
Tallulah James’s parents’ volatile relationship, erratic behavior, and hands-off approach to child rearing set tongues to wagging in their staid Mississippi town, complicating her already uncertain life. She takes the responsibility of shielding her family’s reputation and raising her younger twin siblings onto her youthful shoulders.
If not for the emotional constants of her older brother, Griff, and her old guard Southern grandmother, she would be lost. When betrayal and death arrive hand in hand, she takes to the road, headed to what turns out to be the not-so-promised land of Southern California. The dysfunction of her childhood still echoes throughout her scattered family, sending her brother on a disastrous path and drawing her home again. There she uncovers the secrets and lies that set her family on the road to destruction.
About the Author
Susan Crandall is a critically acclaimed author of women’s fiction, romance, and suspense. She has written several award-winning novels including her first book, Back Roads, which won the RITA award for best first book, as well as Whistling Past the Graveyard, which won the SIBA 2014 Book Award for Fiction. Susan lives in Noblesville, Indiana, with her family.
Praise for The Myth of Perpetual Summer
"In The Myth of Perpetual Summer, Susan Crandall introduces us to Tallulah James, a woman who fled her the tragedies of her Southern childhood only to be drawn back to save the brother she left behind. Crandall, long known as a master for her works such as Whistling Past the Graveyard, blends with virtuoso skill the themes of loss and redemption, love and hope, while answering the question we all ask ourselves: Can we indeed go home again? Fans of Joshilyn Jackson should run for this stunner of a book."
— Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan's Tale
“Beneath the boiling sun of small-town Mississippi, the remarkable life of Tallulah James unravels to expose profound family dysfunction, lies, and long-buried secrets. A coming-of-age story filled with heartbreak and hope that proves the only way into the future is to face the past.”
— Beth Hoffman, New York Times and internationally best-selling author of Looking for Me
"Beautifully written and deeply satisfying. A heartfelt story of love, loss, and the twists and turns a life can take. Susan Crandall once again delivers a character you’ll root for on a journey you won’t soon forget."
— Wendy Wax, USA Today bestselling author of Best Beach Ever
“The Myth of Perpetual Summer is a fully imagined coming-of-age novel both heartbreaking and inspiring. Tallulah James is as endearing as she is indelible, a worthy heroine to anchor this story of family dysfunction, social unrest, and a girl's journey to womanhood. Susan Crandall has done it again, and this stunning book is sure to attract fans of The Glass Castle as well as readers everywhere looking for a remarkable story of hope, perseverance, and the enduring power of family.
— Karen White, New York Times Bestselling author of Dreams of Falling
“The Myth of Perpetual Summer is a wonderfully crafted, poignant,and absorbing novel.”
— Mary Ellen Taylor, author of The Union Street Bakery
"A gorgeously-crafted story of a young women caught between the old South and new, her bohemian upbringing and the old guard, and finally between the lies that destroyed a family and the truth that will stitch them back together. The Myth of Perpetual Summer is the kind of luminous, immersive book that will haunt you days after you've finished reading."
— Emily Carpenter, author of Burying the Honeysuckle Girls
"Family secrets, town gossip, and a glass of sweet tea make for the most delicious of Southern tales! Susan Crandall takes us on another spell-binding ride to small-town Mississippi and straight into the heart of Talulah James who loves her family no matter how flawed or broken."
— Susan Gregg Gilmore, author of Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen
"Crandall explores both the long-lasting effects of family dysfunction and the strength it takes to move beyond childhood trauma in this compelling, atmospheric coming-of-age story ideal for fans of southern women’s fiction by Sue Monk Kidd and Karen White."
— Booklist (Starred Review)
“Susan Crandall weaves a compelling, heartbreaking saga and a sensitive portrait of mental illness… Laced with sweet tea and pimento cheese, Crandall's novel is as Southern as it is satisfying.”
— Katie Noah Gibson, Shelf Awareness
Praise for Whistling Past the Graveyard
"A coming-of-age story as well as a luminous portrait of courage and the bonds of friendship. . . Susan Crandall tells young Starla’s story with pitch-perfect tone, evoking 1963 Mississippi and its struggles with a deft hand. I laughed and cried at Starla’s keen observances of life and family and the sometimes blurred edges of justice. Like Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, Whistling Past the Graveyard is destined to become a classic.”
— New York Times bestselling author Karen White
“Crandall delivers big with a coming-of-age story set in Mississippi in 1963 and narrated by a precocious 9-year-old…Young Starla is an endearing character whose spirited observations propel this nicely crafted story.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Starla’s fiery independence makes her a likable narrator.”
— Publishers Weekly
"A delightfully complex story about defying the odds to find the gifts we have tucked inside us."
— Shelf Awareness
"This is a work of imagination in the mind of a 9-year-old child that might remind you of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird or Kathryn Stockett's The Help... It's a real winner!"
— Liz Smith, The Chicago Tribune
“A luminous portrait of courage and the bonds of friendship, this coming of age story is as endearing and spirited as they come.”
— Shape Magazine
"It’s not easy to keep such a young narrator convincing for more than 300 pages... Readers will take to Starla and be caught up in her story."
— Mary Ellen Quinn, Booklist
“Crandall threads historical detail throughout the book as the struggles of the civil rights movement are vividly portrayed…Crandall’s young narrator captures the reader’s heart.”
— Library Journal
"WHISTLING PAST THE GRAVEYARD is a multi-layered saga that can be enjoyed by teens and adults alike. It has a cinematic quality that will make readers wish for a screen version. And you can’t say better than that."
Praise for The Flying Circus
"Susan Crandall’s The Flying Circus is a fascinating story of love and loss set against the colorful background of barnstorming 1920s America. Every detail sings, and every character will touch your heart in this rip-roaring tale of three daredevils on the run, each with something to hide, drawn together by a desire to conquer the skies as well as their own demons. Romance, suspense, aerial thrills and spills—what more is there to ask for?”
— Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of THE AVIATOR'S WIFE
"The Flying Circus is Susan Crandall at her best—a colorful, rich and historical tale of the early years of flight. Heroes and villains and an achingly sweet romance will pull at the reader's heart long after the last page is turned. I loved this book!"
— New York Times bestselling author Karen White
"An exhilarating, memorable flight into the world of barnstorming in the 1920's, with all the twists and turns of an aerial acrobat. Compelling characters and a fascinating setting make this journey a sheer joyride. Satisfying and delightful!"
— Lynn Cullen, national bestselling author of MRS. POE
“Exciting adventures abound when three unlikely misfits take to the skies. Friendships are challenged, lives are risked, and dark secrets threaten to tear the trio apart as they barnstorm across America’s heartland. A spirited, big-hearted tale.”
— Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of LOOKING FOR ME
"Deeply moving. A richly drawn story of love, loss, and redemption with characters as finely tuned as the planes they fly."
— Wendy Wax, USA Today bestselling author of A WEEK AT THE LAKE
“An engaging road saga."
— Kirkus Reviews
“An entertaining surprise… this old-fashioned novel plays like a refreshed mash-up of William Faulkner’s Pylon and the 1970s Robert Redford vehicle The Great Waldo Pepper.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Historical fiction with appeal to both romance and adventure fans.”
"Crandall has crafted a wonderfully charming, memorable and thought-provoking read."
— RT Book Reviews
“Crandall has written an absorbing and frequently touching story that reminds us of the challenges of forming new communities with different people—and the rewards.”
— USA Today
'Beautiful, stark and heartbreaking, The Myth of Perpetual Summer by Susan Crandall dares to examine the idea of what happens from one generation to another when family members keep secrets to themselves rather than sharing them with others, and the consequences are tragic in terms of effects on family members as they each begin to wrestle with their own fears and desires in realistic ways."
— Fresh Fiction