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The Summer of Songbirds

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About The Book

In this instant New York Times bestselling novel by “Southern sensation Kristy Woodson Harvey” (Good Morning America), four women come together to save the summer camp that changed their lives and rediscover themselves in the process.

Nearly thirty years ago, June Moore bought Camp Holly Springs and turned it into a thriving summer haven for girls. But now, June is in danger of losing the place she has sacrificed everything for and begins to realize how much she has used the camp to avoid facing difficulties in her life.

June’s niece, Daphne, met her two best friends, Lanier and Mary Stuart, during a fateful summer at camp. They’ve all helped each other through hard times and the three are inseparable even in their thirties. But when attorney Daphne is confronted with a relationship from her past—and a confidential issue at work becomes personal—she is faced with an impossible choice.

Lanier, meanwhile, is struggling with tough decisions of her own. After a run-in with an old flame, she is torn between the commitment she made to her fiancé and the one she made to her first love. And when a big secret comes to light, she finds herself at odds with her best friend…and risks losing the person she loves most.

But in spite of their personal problems, nothing is more important than Camp Holly Springs. When the women learn their childhood oasis is in danger of closing, they band together to save it, sending them on a journey that promises to open the next chapters in their lives.

Lyrical and unforgettable, “The Summer of Songbirds is a warm, hopeful story of friendship, love, and second chances” (Emily Henry, #1 New York Times bestselling author).

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for THE SUMMER OF SONGBIRDS includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book

Introduction

Nearly thirty years ago, in the wake of a personal tragedy, June Moore bought Camp Holly Springs and turned it into a thriving summer haven for girls. But now, June is in danger of losing the place she has sacrificed everything for and begins to realize how much she has used the camp to avoid facing difficulties in her life.

June’s niece, Daphne, met her two best friends, Lanier and Mary Stuart, during a fateful summer at camp. They’ve all helped each other through hard things, from heartbreak and loss to substance abuse and unplanned pregnancy, and the three are inseparable even in their thirties. But when attorney Daphne is confronted with a relationship from her past—and a confidential issue at work becomes personal—she is faced with an impossible choice.

Lanier, meanwhile, is struggling with tough decisions of her own. After a run-in with an old flame, she is torn between the commitment she made to her fiancé and the one she made to her first love. And when a big secret comes to light, she finds herself at odds with her best friend . . . and risks losing the person she loves most.

But in spite of their personal problems, nothing is more important to these songbirds than Camp Holly Springs. When the women learn their childhood oasis is in danger of closing, they band together to save it, sending them on a journey that promises to open the next chapters in their lives.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. What can we learn about Daphne, Lanier, and Mary Stuart through the “hard things” they ask of each other?

2. The novel is told from three points of view: Daphne, June, and Lanier. Why do you think the author chose these three characters? How would the story have changed if different characters' perspectives were included?

3. Discuss June’s choice not to seek custody of Daphne when Daphne was younger. Do you agree with this choice? Why or why not?

4. Daphne goes back and forth in her opinion on whether people can change. On page 242 she says, “I haven’t changed. Maybe I can’t. Maybe no one can.” Do you think people can change? Do you agree with Daphne that she doesn’t change throughout the novel?

5. If you were in Daphne’s situation, would you have shown up to Lanier’s wedding invitation sendoff after what happened at family camp? Do you think Daphne’s decision to tell Lanier about Bryce was the right one?

6. On page 250, Lanier tells Huff that she lied and facilitated his breakup with Daphne seven years ago because she was trying to protect him. What do you think of this decision: was it justified, or was Lanier out of line? Take a few minutes to discuss both sides of the argument.

7. The power of friendship is an important theme throughout the novel. What can we learn from the songbirds’ friendships and how loyal they are to each other through every stage of their lives?

8. Daphne is open about how her mother’s addiction and her father’s aloof behavior have informed her personality and how she approaches relationships. What examples of these effects can we see throughout the novel? In what ways can we see Daphne’s growth by the end?

9. Many of the characters keep secrets from each other. Paula and John kept Melanie’s relapse a secret, Lanier kept secrets from both Huff and Daphne about why their relationship ended the first time, Daphne and Lanier share a secret about the accident at Daphne’s father’s house, and more. How do these secrets inform the characters’ relationships and how they handle the events of the novel?

10. On page 263, June says to Daphne, “I don’t trust myself enough to take risks, so I stay at camp all year instead of interacting with friends in town.” Why do you think June is afraid of taking risks? What risks does she end up taking in the novel?

11. On page 184, Daphne says to Huff, “There’s something about the river that washes everything away. All the bad stuff. All the pain. All the fear.” Later, on page 335, she walks onto Huff’s porch and says that she believes the river “carries our secrets, our scars, our greatest joys, and our biggest hopes.” Discuss the significance of the river at Camp Holly Springs and throughout the novel. What does it mean to each character?

12. Lanier struggles to reconcile Daphne and Huff’s adult relationship with Daphne’s history of substance abuse. When is it important to keep a friend’s past in mind, and in what situations should you put it behind you?

13. Discuss the idea that summer is a time of renewal, a time when “anything could happen” (page 342). Why do the songbirds feel this way? Do you agree?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. In the acknowledgments on page 356, author Kristy Woodson Harvey shares that the inspiration for Camp Holly Springs came from the time she spent at Camp Seafarer’s family camp in North Carolina; she reminisces about how special a place like sleepaway camp can be for the many generations of people that pass through it. Does anyone in your book club have a place that feels as significant to them as Camp Holly Springs is to the songbirds? Try to host your book club meeting there! Go around and share what makes these places special to each of you.

2. The songbirds and June each go out of their comfort zones at some point while working to save camp. What is one way that you can step out of your comfort zone? Discuss with the group and strategize the next steps for making it happen.

3. Daphne, Lanier, and Mary Stuart look forward to sending their daughters to Camp Holly Springs. Daphne’s mother (and aunt, of course) went before her as well. What are some of your traditions that have passed through generations of your family, and how do they strengthen the relationships of the people that share them?

4. Take your group to do a camp-inspired activity: sailing, swimming, archery, land sports, camping, or anything else reminiscent of summer and camp!

About The Author

Photograph by Bud Johnson

Kristy Woodson Harvey is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including The Wedding Veil, Under the Southern Sky, and The Peachtree Bluff series, which is in development for television with NBC. A Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism, her writing has appeared in numerous online and print publications, including Southern Living, Traditional Home, USA TODAY, Domino, and O. Henry. Kristy is the winner of the Lucy Bramlette Patterson Award for Excellence in Creative Writing and a finalist for the Southern Book Prize. Her books have received numerous accolades, including Southern Living’s Most Anticipated Beach Reads, Parade’s Big Fiction Reads, and Entertainment Weekly’s Spring Reading Picks. Kristy is the cocreator and cohost of the weekly web show and podcast Friends & Fiction. She blogs with her mom, Beth Woodson, on Design Chic, and loves connecting with fans on KristyWoodsonHarvey.com. She lives on the North Carolina coast with her husband and son where she is (always!) working on her next novel.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Pocket Books (April 29, 2025)
  • Length: 416 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668077337

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Raves and Reviews

The Summer of Songbirds is a warm, hopeful story of friendship, love, and second chances. Reading this book genuinely feels like sipping iced tea with your best friends on a hot summer day. Put this in your beach bag immediately.” —Emily Henry, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Book Lovers

“Harvey reminds us that sisterhood can take many forms…With a strong dose of nostalgia and multiple narrations from Daphne, Lanier, and June, the book will appeal to Mary Kay Andrews and Katherine Center fans, who will revel in the support the women demonstrate for one another.”Booklist

"Equal parts moving and nostalgic, Kristy Woodson Harvey's latest novel is a story of four friends who unite to save a summer camp and find out much more about friendship, love, and their own lives in the process."Southern Living

"Anyone in the sleepaway camp mood? Now that our kids' trunks are in their cabins, it's the perfect time to dive into this beautiful, heartwarming narrative by New York Times bestselling author and southern sensation Kristy Woodson Harvey. [An] orde to female friendship and the places that shape us into who we are."Good Morning America

"For anyone who ever went to and loved a sleepaway camp, Southern bestselling sensation Kristy Woodson Harvey's latest novel is the one for you."—Katie Couric Media

"Filled with heartflet emotion and endearing characters...A celebration of summer and sisterhood."—Woman's World

"Pack up your sleeping bag and flashlight—you're going to want to escape to Camp Holly Springs as soon as you read the first page of Kristy Woodson Harvey's engaging and immersive new novel. I'm already looking for an excuse to go to grown-up sleepaway camp!"—Mary Kay Andrews, BookBub

"An emotional and engaging story of friendships that last a lifetime, with all the drama, love, and painful truths that entails. Truly wonderful. Brace yourself—you're going to want to be a Songbird, too!"—Susan Mallery, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sister Effect

“Your big summer read has arrived! Kristy Woodson Harvey serves up a beautiful, bubbly celebration of everything we love about summer—nostalgia for the sweet days of childhood, the indelible bonds of lifelong friendships, secrets and sorrows, and a shared commitment to rescue a beloved summer icon. A story to savor…and share with a friend.”—Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Sugar and Salt

The Summer of Songbirds is a champagne toast to friendship, love, and the joys of summer. Read the brilliant first sentence and you’ll be right there at Camp Holly Springs and you’ll never want to leave. This is a wonderful summer read!”—Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author of All the Days of Summer

"A bright and sweet story that captures the beauty and complexity of female friendship as it grows from childhood connection to a bond stronger than family. Filled with strong women with real struggles, a community that supports one another, and love stories that will warm your heart, this is a tight healing hug of a novel."—Sonali Dev, bestselling author of The Vibrant Years

"I can never resist a good book about the power of female friendships, This was a feel-good read. Witnessing the love among these womendespite their challenges—encouraged me to call my own friends for a summer get-together."—Patty Bontekoe, First for Women

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