Summertime in Sag Harbor – the boats knock against the docks, the air is salt and the season is sunshine.

If you love art and books with glamorous settings, Drawing Home is the perfect summer read. Sag Harbor locals are accustomed to tourists and summer people. But in Jamie Brenner’s Drawing Home (Little, Brown and Company), something new disturbs the village’s tranquility. A beloved local artist, Henry Wyatt, has died unexpectedly. He leaves behind a messy estate that will upset a cast of characters with deep memories and emotional needs, not to mention the social scene at the American Hotel, with its iconic watering hole.

Within a few days, a divorced mother, Emma; her unhappy daughter, Penny, their elderly friend, Angus; and Henry’s agent and former partner, Bea and her assistant, Kyle, will face off. Bea, a doyenne of the Manhattan art world, cannot understand why Henry betrayed his promise to leave her his home and oeuvre in order to create a museum. Instead, he has bequeathed his gorgeous house on the water, and all of the paintings and sculptures inside, to 14-year old Penny.

Three generations of the Kirkland family have come of age in Sag Harbor. Emma’s father is the longtime bartender at the American Hotel, Emma runs the reception desk, and Penny, the youngest is present but having difficulty adjusting. She painfully suffers from unpopularity and OCD. It is when the self-absorbed Bea takes the time to figure out Henry’s connection to these three, and discovers Penny’s astonishing artistic talent, that she begins to understand Henry’s true intent in preparing his will.

The story moves between the present and the early 1960s when Bea arrived in New York City, met Henry, and began her rise to the top of Soho’s gallery scene. It also touches on the 1980s, when Henry became disillusioned with national politics and moved to Sag Harbor to get away from the art market. He hoped to meet new people and try out new media, and was successful all around. Author Jamie Brenner might well have used a paintbrush to recreate these eras; they are beautifully evoked. Her previous novels also involve secrets and summer surprises. Like them, Drawing Home ends with a startling flourish.

Drawing Home is now available for purchase.

Photo: Kathleen O’Donnell


Jamie Brenner grew up in suburban Philadelphia on a steady diet of Norma Klein, Judy Blume, and Judith Krantz novels. After studying literature at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Jamie moved to New York City where she started her career at HarperCollins Publishers, then later Barnes& and before returning to books and becoming an author. Her novel The Forever Summer is a national bestseller. Her new book, Drawing Home, was published by Little, Brown. Jamie lives in New York City and spends her summers visiting the beach towns that inspire her novels.