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Everything about Peter Nichols’s epic and Odyssean The Rocks reminds us of Jess Walter’s 2012 best seller, Beautiful Ruins--right down to the idyllic Mediterranean vista on the cover.

Don’t worry, that’s a good thing.

Much like Beautiful Ruins, The Rocks tells the story of a decades-old love affair in a European resort town. And much like its predecessor, it’s basically beach-vacation candy for the smarty-pants NPR set.

The story starts in 2005, when Lulu Davenport and Gerald Rutledge, both in their nineties, meet on Majorca’s cliffs. Even though these two used to be married, it’s the first time they’ve seen each other in more than 50 years, and a violent argument breaks out, resulting in… well, we won’t spoil it.

From there, the novel jumps back in time, first to 1995 and then all the way back to 1948, to tell the story of what caused the rift between the former lovebirds and to introduce a wild cast of characters and sand-between-your-toes seaside adventures. (There’s a shipwreck, for instance.)

Pack this one for your beach bag--or just pick it up to get yourself amped for that August vacation to Rehoboth.

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