Beach sand has flecked more than a few copies of Meg Mitchell Moore’s newest novel, her fifth.
“The Islanders” arrived just in time for summer, publishing in mid-June, on the cusp of vacation season.
The book’s inclusion last month in a New York Times column, “Text on the Beach: Great Summer Reads,” buoyed the prospects of the hardcover getting tossed into totes among sunscreen and towels as the summer’s second half approached.
In any event, the story asks to be read by the water.
The characters, each somewhat of an island unto themselves and theretofore unknown to each other, converge at a place that caters to summer people: Block Island.
Its 10 square miles, 12 miles at sea, are lesser known to New Englanders than regional island destinations Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket, giving the novel’s setting exotic appeal in spite of its curt five-letter name.
Family drama unfolds there, off the coast of Rhode Island, where tens of thousand of visitors disembark ferries every day.
The novel turns its attention to three interwoven family dramas that play out over the book’s three parts — June, July and August.
Only one family, an enterprising single mother, Joy Sousa, and her coming-of-age daughter, Maggie, live on the island 12 months of the year.
Onto the island washes a once emerging talent and celebrated author, Anthony Puckett, fighting to regain himself after a mighty fall from grace.
And arriving to her in-laws’ island home is Lu Trusdale, a wife and mom with a secret.
All these characters aspire and, to varying degrees, despair.
On this summer day, Moore sits on the deck at home in Newburyport, where she lives with her husband and three daughters.
Their blue-painted in-ground pool is an island of water surrounded by yard. Her adoring golden retriever, Olive, 3, a therapy dog, is a constant companion.
Olive makes an appearance in “The Islanders.” Another dog, Pickles, takes up residency among the flawed but striving humans.
People who know Moore and have read her book tell her: “I found your dog in your book.”
What would Moore most like for “Islanders” readers?
“I would like people to take it on vacation and be immersed in it,” she said.
She likes to imagine them happy, sitting on the beach for a couple of hours and coming away remembering something about the characters.
Moore admires the characters to different degrees and for different reasons.
Joy for her fighting spirit. Maggie for navigating the hopes and disappointments in early adolescence. Anthony for facing his demons. And Lu for her courage to carve out an identity separate from motherhood.
What they have in common is how they try to work with their flaws and get what they want without compromising everything, Moore said.
Moore has toured bookstores, appearing at meet-the-author events. She typically reads from “The Islanders,” briefly, and fields questions.
Attendees often want to know about her writing process.
It’s hard work, she tells them. Akin to running. It feels good when it’s done.
Her summer event tour started in June at Jabberwocky Bookshop in Newburyport and has hit East Coast destinations in New York, Rhode Island and Delaware.
On Tuesday, she’ll be in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for a ticketed event, part of the Writers in The Loft series at The Music Hall.
She will give a presentation, answer questions, sign copies of her book and greet guests.
If you go
What: Meg Mitchell Moore, author of “The Islanders”
When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Where: The Music Hall Loft, 131 Congress St., Portsmouth, New Hampshire
How much: $41, which includes a reserved seat, hardcover copy of the book and bar beverage
More information: www.themusichall.org/events/meg-mitchell-moore or 603-436-2400