“When her twenty-two-year-old stepdaughter announces her engagement to her pandemic boyfriend, Sarah Danhauser is shocked. But the wheels are in motion. Headstrong Ruby has already set a date (just three months away!) and spoken to her beloved safta, Sarah’s mother Veronica, about having the wedding at the family’s beach house on Cape Cod. Sarah might be worried, but Veronica is thrilled to be bringing the family together one last time before putting the big house on the market.
But the road to a wedding day usually comes with a few bumps. Ruby has always known exactly what she wants, but as the wedding date approaches, she finds herself grappling with the wounds left by the mother who walked out when she was a baby. Veronica ends up facing unexpected news, thanks to her meddling sister, and must revisit the choices she made long ago, when she was a bestselling novelist with a different life. Sarah’s twin brother, Sam, is recovering from a terrible loss, and confronting big questions about who he is—questions he hopes to resolve during his stay on the Cape. Sarah’s husband, Eli, who’s been inexplicably distant during the pandemic, confronts the consequences of a long ago lapse from his typical good-guy behavior. And Sarah, frustrated by her husband, concerned about her stepdaughter, and worn out by challenges of life during quarantine, faces the alluring reappearance of someone from her past and a life that could have been.
When the wedding day arrives, lovers are revealed as their true selves, misunderstandings take on a life of their own, and secrets come to light. There are confrontations and revelations that will touch each member of the extended family, ensuring that nothing will ever be the same.”
I received and ARC from NetGalley and Atria Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
The Summer Place (Amazon) is not my normal sort of read. I don’t normally read Women’s Fiction or Book Club Fiction or Summer Beach Reads or whatever you want to call them. And I have to admit that I struggled at first because of the constant changing of viewpoints in order to establish the backstory. Every time I would feel myself settling into the story, the point-of-view would change which frustrated me. There were so many characters to follow, and at first, I didn’t find any of them likeable and at first, it was hard to keep track.
But that changed as I got further into the book. I became invested in the characters and cared about what happened to them. Then, I couldn’t put the book down. While I didn’t finish in one sitting, it only took me a few nights of reading to get through it.
The book covers multiple generations and several families. My favorite character was the matriarch, Veronica, who not only shares a name with my oldest daughter, shares her personality, too. I can just see my daughter ending up like Ronnie. While I didn’t agree with all the actions Veronica took in the book, I found her to be the most likeable character of the story.
There are a number of coincidences in this book that made me think I was reading a grown-up Nancy Drew book. There’s definitely a six-degrees-of-separation going on as you travel through the pages. I also liked the fact that it shows how only extended family dealt with the pandemic and the change in family dynamics because of it.
The Summer Place has everything that makes it a good summer read: strong and memorable characters, an excellent story arcs, fascinating insights into the human pscyhe, a little romance, a little heartbreak, and a satisfying conclusion. I highly recommend this as your next summer read.
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