At 3:29 a.m. on May 22, a telephone rings in Orange Beach, Alabama. Breaking the sleepy silence inside the bedroom of New York Times bestselling author Andy Andrews, a hastily whispered message heralds the news for which readers have waited seven years. The old man is back in town. Apparently, he is also in jail.
Jones is tight-lipped about the circumstances surrounding his brief incarceration. When Andy arrives to bail him out, he finds another person sharing his room in the gray-bars hotel—twenty-seven-year-old Pamela Barton, who is recently divorced and has two master's degrees, more than a hundred thousand dollars in debt, and a massive hangover.
Andy is shocked to discover that his old friend has already opened an unusual business at The Wharf—the resort town's most high-profile shopping district. Jones' Five & Dime seems to always have exactly what visitors are looking for, including visitors such as Pamela, whose fate becomes entwined with that of the old man's.
During the course of the summer, other lost souls cross Jones's path and find just what they are seeking. Oliver Sutherland, a thirteen-year-old loner with flame-red hair and a dark secret he has kept about his father, who died when Oliver was nine. The local pastor, who becomes a frequent morning visitor to The Wharf. And Blair Houston Monroe, a grand dame of Ocean Beach high society, who lords herself over everything within reach except, of course, for Jones himself.
As the town looks forward to its annual Shrimp Festival, a late summer hurricane and a practical joke threaten to upend a tried-and-true tradition. Can Jones rescue the business year for the merchants of Orange Beach? And can he rescue the hearts and minds of each of these pilgrims from the stories they tell themselves?
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