cover image Summer Stage

Summer Stage

Meg Mitchell Moore. Morrow, $30 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-302616-2

Moore (Vacationland) brings summer theatre to life in her sparkling latest. When movie star Timothy Fleming’s ex-wife, Gertie, asks him to help find a location to stage Much Ado About Nothing, Timothy is eager to oblige. His career is at a crossroads, and he knows losing Gertie, also an actor, was his “biggest mistake,” so he books a theater on Block Island, where he grew up, on the condition that he be the director. Timothy’s sister, Amy, a married mother of two who has put her own dreams of being a playwright on the back burner, is made production manager. Home for the summer is Amy’s 19-year-old daughter, Sam, a child actor whose recent work won her TikTok fame but ended in scandal. Soon they’re all working on the island, where old resentments are brought to light regarding Timothy and Amy’s mother as well as Sam’s childhood spent pursuing acting in Los Angeles. Pulling the reader through is the unlikely production, with its backstage dramas and lackluster ticket sales. The relationships feel real and engaging, and the dialogue is sharp and snappy, with smart writing that examines familial relationships with insight and aplomb. This one’s equally charming and satisfying. Agent: Elisabeth Weed, Book Group. (May)