The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry

The Bookshop at Water's End

Patti Callahan Henry

A powerful new novel written in lush, lyrical prose that will pull you in and keep you turning until the last page.  

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The women who spent their childhood summers in a small southern town discover it harbors secrets as lush as the marshes that surround it...
Bonny Blankenship’s most treasured memories are of idyllic summers spent in Watersend, South Carolina, with her best friend, Lainey McKay. Amid the sand dunes and oak trees draped with Spanish moss, they swam and wished for happy-ever-afters, then escaped to the local bookshop to read and whisper in the glorious cool silence. Until the night that changed everything, the night that Lainey’s mother disappeared.

Now, in her early fifties, Bonny is desperate to clear her head after a tragic mistake threatens her career as an emergency room doctor, and her marriage crumbles around her. With her troubled teenage daughter, Piper, in tow, she goes back to the beloved river house, where she is soon joined by Lainey and her two young children. During lazy summer days and magical nights, they reunite with bookshop owner Mimi, who is tangled with the past and its mysteries. As the three women cling to a fragile peace, buried secrets and long ago loves return like the tide.


Advance Galley Reviews

A good book with excellent plot line and beautiful characters.

This was a fabulous book! I have recommended it to multiple friends over the past month. An absolutely delightful story with endearing characters.

The Bookshop at Water's End is a beautiful story of the friendship between three women, Bonny, Lainey and Mimi. All three women are trying to find peace with their lives, but the night that hangs over their heads is the night from their youth when Lainey's mother disappeared. This a great and well written summer read. I would definitely recommend.

The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry was a delightful summer beach read with strong female characters. Bonny and Lainey became friends at the river house, Sea la Vie, in Watersend, South Carolina when they were children and experienced a tragedy together. Now, many years later, Bonny is in a loveless marriage and a mistake is threatening her career, she decides to go back to Sea la Vie and invites Lainey to join her. Lainey has a lot of reserves going back to Watersend but she will do anything for her best friend who needs her, so she packs up her children and hopes to find out the truth of the terrible tragedy so long ago. Piper, Bonny's daughter, is also brought out to the house as babysitter and to work out her own problems of alcoholism and failing her first year of college. With other lovely characters involved in the story, Henry creates a wonderful, realistic story that any one can connect to. Definitely enjoyed and will check out the author's other work.

I read this book through First to Read in exchange for an honest review. The Bookshop at Water's End is a lovely story of friendship and women trying to make their way through all the challenges of life. Bonny and Lainey have been friends since they were children and come together in Water's End to deal with current and past problems. The last time they were there, Lainey's mother disappeared and has not been heard from since then. I really enjoyed the story and will seek out other books by Patti Callahan Henri.

The Bookshop at Water's End is a wonderful story of women and families who return to Watersend to try to make sense of their lives, lives that are starting to spin out of control. Bonny and Lainey were best friends and they come together that summer to support each other. They are both looking for answers and direction. They want to make changes in their lives and along the way they learn about themselves, and each other. "We were all doing the very best we could: as women, as mothers and as daughters. We hurt each other; we heal each other; we mend and we break and we try again, until we can't and the headstone has its final say. And yet still our hearts reach out for both love and forgiveness, granted and accepted." I love this kind of story where women friends are there for each other, supporting and loving, no matter what. The Bookshop at Water's End is an engaging, beautiful story full of memorable characters that I just savored to the end.

THE BOOKSHOP AT WATER'S END is an engaging story about two fifty-something friends at a crossroads in life who return to their childhood vacation home to face the ghosts of their past. This was a beautifully written, character driven novel, and the descriptions of time an place were gorgeous. The characters were real and easy to empathize with. Even when obstacles seemed insurmountable, they did the best they could and persevered. Woven throughout the book is the mystery of Lainey's mother's disappearance which kept me intrigued, though the conclusion left me with mixed feelings. I'm not sure I accept the reasoning behind it. Maybe. THE BOOKSHOP AT WATER'S END is a lovely story of friendship, forgiveness, and starting over, and a great choice for summer reading. 4 stars!

A Penguin First to Read ARC e-book in exchange for an honest review. The title was a little misleading. The story was excellent though. A family and their secrets. Women trying to find their purpose and direction in their lives. This is the perfect summer read.

I am sorry to report that I've had issues opening this ebook after downloading. :( Unfortunately I haven't been able to read this one.

Patti Callahan Henry is a fantastic author. I have always loved her books, and this one is no exception. This book is very well written and the characters meld together wonderfully. I was hooked from the very first page. Loved it!!

I received this book from the First to Read program free in exchange for an honest review. This isn't my typical genre to read but I found the characters to be well written and the story to be interesting.

I have been reading Patti Callahan Henry's books for several years now and I always really like them. The Book Shop at Water's End was no exception. It was a deeply felt read about love, loss, and what it truly means to be a family. It had an air of mystery (as most of her books do) and kept me reading late into the night a couple of nights in a row. This is a perfect summer read! *Thank you to First to Read for the free digital copy in exchange for my honest review.

This novel is what I would deem to be a quick enjoyable weekend read. The characters were engaging and realistic. The setting was ideal for a vacation at the beach read. I really enjoyed this novel and will recommend it to some of my friends.

This is the quintessential beach read or just vacation read. Easy to read, fast moving and enough interesting characters with real true to life problems to keep it a page turner. The back drop of the little town sounds relaxing and serene. A small mystery, a few problems to be resolved, a young girl needing to find her niche, friends reconnecting, romance, it has it all! I recommend this book and will look for others by Henry!

For a book with "bookshop" and "water's end" in the title, the story has little to do with either. What the book does have are many elements for a story about women, family, secrets, small town life, and finding direction in life. The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry is a book to be read on a casual afternoon at the water's edge. In other words, it is a nice easy summer beach read. Read my complete review at Reviewed for Penguin First to Read program.

Henry's story, while written with perceptive analogies and likeable characters, is a bit too neat and tidy. Expect strong and subtle plot flows - not dramatic explosions - in what would make a good read for a weekend holiday.

A great summer read that has great characters, a wonderful setting, and enough mystery to keep the pages turning!

Patti Callahan Henry weaved an amazing story through the characterizations she brought to life in Bee, Lainey and Piper, carefully exploring the bonds they share and the emotional connections that created a bond over decades. Despite very different personalities and lifestyles, the artist and the doctor who were the "Summer Sisters" come back to the Waters Edge and a past that was wonderful and terrible at the same time. Add a bookstore with an owner that can always find the book you need to read and you can't put down this engaging story. Loved it!

I adore a book that is character driven, one that lets me see in to a life and helps me understand what makes that person tick. This book did just that for me. I came to love the characters in this book, especially Bonny, Lainey and Piper. As the story unfolded and I came to understand why each one made the choices they did and what drove them, I just loved them even more. The setting of WatersEnd was pure perfection, and a little town I'd love to live in myself. I can see why it was special to each of them and even when I understood what drove Bonny and Lainey away, I was so glad they came back. I think my heart really loved Piper the most. I loved watching her grow and search for herself and find acceptance and love in WatersEnd. I highly recommend this one to everyone who loves fabulously written characters that you can identify with and come to cherish. This was a beautiful book!

I enjoyed this book and the story about two people returning home. The story was just what I needed for some down time and was able to enjoy it. I hope that others get a chance to pick it up too. Thanks for the opportunity!

Sweet summer chick lit involving family secrets and redemption

"The Bookshop at Water's End" tells the story of two women coming back to their summer home for the first time since a terrible tragedy fortysome years before. Bonny and Lainey became best friends at a young age when their parents shared their vacations at the summer home of Bonnys parents. When Lainey's mother disappears one night it forever changes their lives. As they come back to the house to help Bonny cope with an accidental death at work secrets begin to unfold. The story jumps back and forth from both Lainey and Bonnie's views between present day and their summers when they were young. Also, we here from Bonnys 20 something daughter. I enjoyed the book immensely. The plot was strong and I liked having the story from three different perspectives. Three strong woman looking for answers and using each other for support. Thank you to firsttoread for the opportunity to read an advanced copy. Two thumbs up????

What a good summertime beach read!. Great book about relationships, I especially liked the relationship between Bonnie and her daughter Piper. Thanks for the chance to read this early copy.

I couldn't get into this book. The first chapter was too slow and lost my interest. I also had a lot of other books to read at the time so chose to read those. Ill try to stick with my next books longer but it's hard to read a book that starts out so slow. Maybe if the author had put something suspenseful in the first chapter to hock the reader I'd have kept reading. I really enjoyed the last book I read from this web page so maybe it's just this authors style.

I found the story engaging. All of the characters had hardships of varying degrees that they needed to learn from and move beyond to find hope. I found the mother daughter relationship of Bobby and Piper the most interesting and relatable. There were some characters such as Owen that I just didn't feel added to the story but I understand they were needed to move the story along. I feel there might have been better catalysts that would have tightened the story up a little better. Over all a good read.

This was a nice, quick read, perfect for a day in the shade. It was hard to put down as I got tangled in the stories of Bonnie, Piper, and the others. It was a very good book and I would definitely recommend it to others.

Thank you First to Read for giving me the opportunity to read The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry. I absolutely loved this book and the story of Bonny, Lainey and their families. I enjoyed their stories and seeing how each of them made the decisions they made and how it benefited them. You got to see each of the characters grow over time and also that no matter how far apart they lived, they still made time for their friendship and helping each other. I highly recommend this book as a good summer read.

I really enjoyed this book. I was really pulled in by the writing and ended up loving the characters. The story was a little bit different than I had thought it would be based on the title but it ended up being a good surprise. Once I started reading this book, I found myself picking up this book every free moment I had until I reached the last page. I am really glad that I decided to give this book a try. Bonny and Lainey called themselves the Summer Sisters when they were children. Their families would spend the summer together at a little house on the water in Watersend every year. They both looked forward to those summers and became lifelong friends even after a tragedy ended their summers together. When Bonny hits a difficult time in her life, Lainey suggests that she spend some time at the summer house and they end up returning together. This story is told from three points of view. Bonny is an emergency room doctor that is forced into taking a leave of absence. She is in the process of leaving her husband and all of her plans seem to be going wrong. Piper is Bonny's 19 year old daughter who seems to be having a difficult time. Her first year of college has not went well and she feels somewhat trapped at the house with her mom. Lainey is an artist that is happily married with two young children. I really liked each of the three voices and thought all of their stories were unique and well developed. I think that thing that really made this book hard to put down was the quality of the writing. The book had such a nice flow and I always wanted to read just a bit more. I thought that the story had a very realistic quality to it. I feel like all of the events in this story could happen anywhere. I really enjoyed the way that the past and present came together for Bonny and Lainey. There were a few scenes that were really filled with emotion and I felt myself really empathizing with these characters. I would recommend this book to others. I enjoyed this story of three women really discovering who they are and what they want out of life. This was the first book by Patti Callahan Henry that I have read but I would love to read more of her work in the future. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via First to Read.

Just as each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, so too are writers verbose in their own way. So many words in THE BOOKSHOP AT WATER'S END. So much description, so much inner dialogue and lengthy ponderings. For some readers, this is the sort of thing they can get lost in, while the rest of us cut through the verbosity with a machete. The story at the heart of this novel centers on the relationship between two women who became BFFs over the course of three summers, one BFF's brother, and the other's daughter. They are all exploring life issues and going through a period of personal growth, hence the need for a lot of words. Yes, there is a well-developed tale in THE BOOKSHOP AT WATER'S END. The author just takes her time in telling it. While this is not my preferred style, those who are fans of "lyrical prose" will find a narrative that keeps them engaged throughout. Bonny returns to a childhood summer home after a crisis, and calls in BFF Lainey to join her in a farewell to the house that Bonny plans to sell. Ah sure but the old ghosts of a long-ago summer return and the ladies are dealing with harsh memories of the night Lainey's mother went missing after a drunken spree. Then there's daughter Piper, teen in search of herself, and Lainey's older brother who has long loved Bonny from afar. They come together, they hash out their problems, the mystery of the mother's disappearance is revealed, and the strings are all neatly tied together in the conclusion. For those who like a lot of prose in their summer reads, when the story is thin so the words are used to plump things up, this latest offering from Patti Callahan Henry will be welcome. But if you want your author to come to the point, you'd best find a different writer.

Loved the book. Excellent characters and story was easy to follow. It is a good beach read. This could be made into a series and if it was I would buy the series.

This was a different style of book for me to read, normally read deadly mysteries or thrillers. Being a reader of printed books I expected the bookstore to be a major part of the story, but to me this was not the case and I felt like someone left me out of a previous story about the bookstore that I was left to wonder about. Don't get me wrong on the story I read. This tale kept me coming back chapter after chapter to discover the outcome. This is a very good read with a great ending. The store was excellent in showing us how our action and the actions of others can have far reaching effects on not only our lives but the lives of those we touch on our journey.

This is a good summer beach read. Not too intense. There is some drama between friends, between spouses, and between mother/daughter, but nothing overwhelming. I'd characterize this book as being about relationships.

In The Bookshop at the Watersend Patti Callahan Henry paints a picture with words through her vivid descriptions. I loved this book as the narration moves among the main characters as they share their friendship, experiences, tragedies, and the mysteries surrounding their lives. Bonny wants to end her loveless marriage and escape from her current life while she awaits the decision of losing her license as an emergency room doctor for inadvertently causing the death of a patient. Piper, Bonny's daughter, has flunked out of college and has to deal with a boyfriend who has left her for another. Bonny takes Piper and retreats to her beloved childhood cottage in Watersend, South Carolina to build something new in her life. She persuades her best friend Lainey with her two children to join them. Mimi, the bookshop owner, holds the key to past mysteries which need to be solved. Will Owen, Lainey's older brother and Bonny's first love, reappear after twenty years? What has happened to Lainey's and Owen's mother when she mysteriously vanished from Watersend? Will Piper find herself and discover a new love? How will Bonny deal with the possible termination of her medical license and the fact that she may have caused a patient's death? As these characters rediscover relationships and new meanings for their lives the mysteries of the past begin to unfold. I thoroughly enjoyed this well written book with its endearing characters and elements of suspense.

Great read. Good for summer free time. Written for all who have had to overcome or live with major obstacles in their lives by realizing they had more strenghth than they thought.

The Bookshop at waters end is a story about friendship,missed connections and discovering who you are. Bonny is an ER physician who loves her job but struggles with her not so perfect home life. She's fallen out of love with her husband and her daughter is constantly getting in trouble at school. A life changing accident with one of Bonny's patients forces her to get out of town and visit her childhood home with her daughter Piper and her best friend Lainey. So many wonderful memories come back to her, and for Lainey, all the terrible memories of when her mother abandoned her and her brother Owen have to be faced. Old friendships are revisited, and old romance's are rekindled. Bonny makes the decision to leave her marriage, and decides to move on from her career at the hospital. Piper finally feels grounded and at home in the small river town, especially at the little bookshop. Lainey finally gets some answers about where her mother has been all these years, and she's able to find forgiveness and put the past behind her. The bookshop at waters end is well written, with characters we can all relate to. I really enjoyed reading it, and I'm hoping the author will countinue the story with a second book, I want to find out what happens with Bonny and Owen.

What I loved most about this book was the "we do the best we can" theme. So simple but worth repeating over and over because as mothers, wives, daughters, and friends we tend to forget and are our harshest critic. All of the female characters were strong whether they believed in themselves or not. My only criticism of the book is I wasn't a big fan of some of the dialogue between Bonny and Owen, and Bonny and her husband. There were a few lines that felt like they belonged in a cheesy romance novel. Other than that though, this is a great summer read!

A beach read should go down like a glass of ice tea with mint, and in The Bookshop at Water's End, Patti Callahan Henry gives us just that: a blend of secrets, nostalgia, mystery and the lifelong friendships of women shaken up by a summer house, a tidewater river and the sea. Although the book pulsates with nervous breakdown, broken hearts, medical malpractice and a great deal of foreboding, nothing really threatens the peace of reading. We know everything will turn out all right and we'll get some nice homegrown philosophy thrown in. Although I would have liked to see much more character development and differentiation, and a great deal more of the book store, I read this book with enjoyment.

Patti Callahan Henry is a new author for me but shall stay on my must read list after reading her latest book, The Bookshop at Water's End. Her writing style has an appealing freshness about it, drawing you into the story: about two women who have remained friends from their early years at Water's End through the tragedies in their lives only to find solace in a "last" trip back to their summer home. The story is based in the lowountry of South Carolina, where I have lived for the past 38 years, so it was fun to imagine being there as a spectator as the narrative unfolds. Each character has her own story to tell and her own place in the revealing events. Mimi, the bookshop owner, plays a minor role, but her wisdom, in the end, becomes a structure for the message the reader takes away from the experience. This would make a great Book Club selection creating a lively discussion. Treat yourself to a great read!

I absolutely loved this book! The setting was so descriptive in the book I could close my eyes and picture it. The book touches on friendships, relationships, the ups and downs of raising children and redemption. I could not put this book down. If you love a good read based in the south I highly recommend this book. I loved the narratives and how well written this book was. I'd definitely read another book by this author. Thank you First To Read!

Loved this book. The beach setting, the small town neighborhood, friendships and family bond made this one to not want to put down! Summer sisters, being there in time of crisis, a long lost love that cannot commit...the daughter that grows up...the dr that finds her way thru bad times, not believing in herself, trusting herself whether to continue being a dr...but not a wife.. It's a great book...I couldn't put it down. This was a free first to read....great choice!

I received a copy of this book free of charge from First to Read in exchange for my honest opinion. I loved this book. It was so easy to get into it and feel like you knew the characters and could understand why they did what they did. This quote summed up the book for me. "We were all doing the very best we could: As women, as mothers, as daughters." Bonny is an ER doctor that makes a tragic mistake. Trying to get her life back she and her daughter go back to where Bonny had vacationed as a kid. Her childhood best friend, Lainey and her kids join them. Mimi is the owner of a local bookstore who always seems to know what book her customers need. Some secrets form the past come back and need to be addressed. Each of the women are trying to make the best life choices they could. This was a great story about the bonds between mothers and daughters and friends.

The Bookshop at Watersend by Patti Callahan Henry was very much my favorite type of reading. Southern womens fiction with a low country setting can only get better with a tidal river and nearby ocean thrown in. I enjoyed getting to know the women in this book through their weaknesses to finding their strength. I am glad they all stood their ground and found their "begin again". The men were a little one dimensional especially Ryan, Lucas and even Owen. Thanks for the opportunity to read this galley. Everyone will want a copy to take to the beach.

I really enjoyed this book. Two summer sisters spend three glorious summers together and become best friends in the process. Their last summer results in Lainey's mother disappearing. When Bonny's life takes a turn for the worst, they return to their beach with their children and each other. They unite and gain strength from each other. The characters in this book were well written and I loved that the book was told from the different viewpoints. I will look for more books from this author.

I really enjoyed this book. First, it was set in my favorite location, South Carolina Lowcountry. The book is about life events of two women who have had a friendship that has lasted from girlhood to adulthood. Memories from summers at the river house; both good and bad. Events that bring them back to the house. Things we learn along life's path; are we waiting for someone or some event that we think will make us happy before we start to really live. How far will we go to find someone we love. Can we forgive ourselves for our mistakes and move forward. Great characters; great setting and great story!


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