Beach Reads: Perfect Pastimes for Your Next Beach Day - 30A

Beach Reads: Perfect Pastimes for Your Next Beach Day

By: Paul Stanley | Posted Mar 12, 2022

Beach-goers love to lose themselves in an engaging novel while absorbing heavy doses of vitamin D and listening to the sound of crashing waves. Established writers like John Grisham, James Patterson, Stephen King, and Pat Conroy built their nest eggs by offering readers opportunities to step into their fantasy worlds, if only for an hour or so at a time. However, here are a couple of works that are definitely worthy of toting down to the water’s edge.

At The Wolf’s Table

Rosella Postorino’s latest novel, At The Wolf’s Table, follows the saga of Rosa Sauer, a young married woman in 1943 Nazi Germany. Once an idealistic bride living an engaging urban lifestyle in pre-war Berlin, she had no clue that she too would be enlisted for the Führer’s cause.

With her husband Gregor away fighting on the Russian front, Rosa lives with her mother in their Berlin apartment. Tragedy strikes when an allied air raid takes the life of the one who had given life to her.

Forced to retreat to the rural home of her in-laws in East Prussia, Rosa struggles to connect with new relatives she has never met. Their only common denominator is the man that’s both a son and husband. 

Within hours of her arrival, German SS soldiers appear at their door, informing her to be ready the following morning to serve her country. 

Soon Rosa finds herself as one of Hitler’s food tasters. Sitting at a long table with nine other women, most of whom grew up together in the small village, Rosa is lost and confused. The women divide into two camps: the “fanatics,” or those loyal to the cause, and another group of women that couldn’t care less about any cause. They simply want to provide for their families and grow old with their loved ones. The war has stripped them of that chance.

Postorino weaves an intricate story of human struggle and survival. Although a work of fiction, the author built the narrative after attempting to locate the last remaining Hitler food taster, only to discover she recently passed away at 96 years of age.

Twice daily, Rosa faces death by poisoning when tasting Hitler’s bland vegetarian food. At the same time, her complex relationship with a hard-line SS officer further complicates her future. However, her soul collapses when Gregor is reported missing after a series of infantry assaults just before his Christmas leave.

Will Rosa see her first love again? Read At The Wolf’s Table to find out how Rosa handles the drama among her fellow tasters. 

The Fortunate Ones

Everyone loves a tale about a down-trodden boy from the wrong side of the tracks who makes his way to the high-brow section of town. Set in the heart of blue-blood Nashville, The Fortunate Ones is Ed Tarkington’s second novel. The book is also a finalist for the 2022 Southern Book Prize, awarded by the Southern Independent Booksellers Association. 

Through no fault of his own, Charlie Boykin was dealt a bad hand. Raised in a strict evangelical household, his teenage mother falls for a soldier heading to Vietnam. A couple of months later, she’s pregnant and determined to defy her father’s wishes to “go away for the next few months.” Instead, she connects with an aunt trying to make it in Nashville’s competitive world of country music.

Charlie spends his pre-teen years living with his mom and aunt in East Nashville. Although bright, he’s headed for a rough life until his mom finds a way to enrol him in an elite private school that caters to the Belle Meade Country Club set. There, he befriends Arch Creigh, who quickly introduces Charlie to the jet-setting, privileged Nashville lifestyle he used to only dream of. 

After a successful high-school stint, Charlie follows Arch to Vanderbilt University and helps his friend climb the state’s rough and tumble political ladder. The deceitful albeit innocent skills they acquired in their youth prove worthy in the world of high-stakes politics. 

With Charlie at his side, Arch achieves his political dreams, but at a considerable price. It is a price that will only grow larger until Charlie reaches his breaking point.

Tarkington does a magnificent job of weaving two worlds together. While fortune, fame, and breeding sometimes separate the masses, in reality, the only difference between the have and the have-nots are a few zeros on a bank statement.

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Paul Stanley s a professional freelance writer and podcast creator who lives along 30A. You can find his podcasts and articles at