Review of THE BRIGHTER THE LIGHT by Mary Ellen Taylor

Told in a dual timeline with multiple points of view, this book included one revelation after another about family secrets, heritage and friendships. Ivy is the granddaughter featured in the present (2022) and her grandmother Ruth is the narrator for the part of the story set in the 1950’s. In her story, Ruth was a pre-teen, helping her mom Edna run the Seaside Resort, a beach inn on the OBX. When Ruth dies, Ivy returns home from NYC to sort through her things and to sell her cottage. All of the gamut of emotions are part of the storyline, beginning when Ivy reflects back on her leaving Nags Head and her return to say farewell again. My favorite was Talley, a no-nonsense cousin who counts it a blessing to be working at the beach alongside Ruth. Of course, I enjoyed all of the characters and how well-rounded they were. As a child of the 50’s, I could relate to the small town feel and how Edna, Ruth’s mother, had so much influence in the little beach town. The relationships were complicated, with a lot of forgiveness necessary in order for the people to move on in their lives. Ruth, the most interesting character, was multi-layered, hiding secrets from the people closest to her and dealing with a secret past of her own. I enjoyed this character-driven story set in an idyllic place, perfect for a vacation read to let your mind imagine those characters living where you are staying. My mind was actively engaged from beginning to end, engrossed in the lives of each character and invested in their making good decisions for the future. Oh, and the puppies! Ivy found a mama dog, named her Libby and adopted her. This is a wonderful story to read, enjoy and discuss in a book group.

Disclaimer: Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, part 255, “Guidelines Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

Gorgeous cover, isn’t it?
A lovely escape! I would rate this book a PG-16 due to mature subject matter and content. There is nothing controversial or objectionable, just topics that would require a mature reader, in my opinion.
Information about the author and her photo are from her website at

Available on July 1st and available for preorders now. Purchase Links:



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Contemporary fiction with an historical edge that is guaranteed to entertain! I loved it and I think that you will, too.

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