The Story Behind the Stories

Editorial director Hobart Rowland reflects on this month’s “Big Summer Read.”

If you’re like me, you like to read on the beach—and probably have a few annoying scratches on your Kindle screen as proof. Though I have to say, it’s not easy finding a quiet spot to vegetate with a good book on Avalon’s vanishing beaches north of 22nd Street, where we typically park ourselves on weekends. As I’m writing this, we’re still waiting on the dredges to do their work, restoring coastline that will likely erode away again within the next 18 months. 

But back to the point—what we’re calling “The Big Summer Read.” The idea came from MLT publisher JB Braun, who fought hard to give us the additional space we needed to properly spotlight three of the area’s best writers. With the help of one of those authors, Berwyn’s Beth Kephart, we selected the excerpts featured in this issue—each compelling enough to warrant leaving the Kindle back at the house for a day. 

Perhaps the most well-known of the three is The Last Flight of Poxl West, the critically acclaimed first novel by Bryn Mawr College professor Daniel Torday. Published in March, this meticulous, heartfelt work of historical fiction was praised by the New York Times Book Review as “expertly crafted … an utterly accomplished novel.”

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Elsewhere, Rosemont-based author Kelly Simmons offers a sneak peek at her latest book, One More Day, due out next February. Set on the Main Line, it’s a harrowing child-abduction tale with a surprising twist. 

Kephart herself contributes the final excerpt, from her latest novel, One Thing Stolen. Cerebral and complex, it’s young-adult fiction for old souls.


Behind-the-scenes at this month’s cover shoot

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: I have two people I’d like to thank for this month’s tug-of-war gatefold cover image. First is Ellis Athletic Center’s Patrick Sarne, who was kind enough to lend us a new exercise rope for an extended period of time. Second is MLT staff photographer Tessa Smucker, who reveals that this particular cover was shot on two dates at different locations. “Keeping the lighting consistent and capturing plenty of angles with the rope were key—although there’s nothing a little Photoshop magic can’t fix,” she says. “An assistant actually pulled on the opposite end of the rope. The final image is a combination of both shoots.”

BIG CHANGES: After almost 30 years with Today Media, creative director Ingrid Lynch has moved on, joining her husband in Hawaii, where he’s found a new job. Her exceptional design skills, irreverent sense of humor, and fits of laughter will be missed. Lynch’s successor, Cristela Tschumy, comes to us with a wealth of consumer-magazine experience and a knack for spread design that’s quite evident in this issue.

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There are more changes to come, so stay tuned …

Our Best of the Main Line Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!