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The Summer Place Review: Back-of-Book Description
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of That Summer comes another “fun, feisty” (The Washington Post) novel of family, secrets, and the ties that bind.
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 in 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 the challenges of the 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.
From “the undisputed boss of the beach read” (The New York Times), The Summer Place is a testament to family in all its messy glory; a story about what we sacrifice and how we forgive. Enthralling, witty, big-hearted, and sharply observed, “this first-rate page-turner” (Publishers Weekly) is Jennifer Weiner’s love letter to the Outer Cape and the power of home, the way our lives are enriched by the people we call family, and the endless ways love can surprise us.
The Summer Place Review: My Thoughts
I think I mentioned in another review that one of my best friends gifted me with 12 months of “blind date” books. Each month I unwrapped one to find out what it was. Well, the June book was this one – The Summer Place. How fitting, since it’s summer and like one of the characters, I recently got engaged!
I honestly can’t remember which month I actually read this in – as I am pretty far behind in posting. But it had to be July or August.
Anyway! It was kind of a slower paced read in my opinion. Not at all action pack, but instead more like a dramatic romance. But without any of the sexy, exciting bits that romance usually has.
While I felt like it was slow, I will say…This story beautifully presents the idea of life choices and wondering later what your life could have been had you made a different choice. The writer shows a younger woman struggling with making a decision as well as several older adults – and seeing the juxtaposition of the regrets and wondering ‘what if’ in three different generations was pretty cool.
The characters were interesting and it’s likely that there’s at least one that you’d feel is relatable to you. And there were so many of them. So you got to see a lot of perspectives and insights into this family.
Something that was kind of annoying was that most of the conflict in the book could have been solved with even a little communication. But I suppose that can be said about a lot of books.
I did find a few quotes that stood out to me. As you can probably tell in the below quotes, the writing style was sort of longwinded. Which probably contributed to the slower pace.
Favorite Quotes from The Summer Place:
“College didn’t erase the differences between how everyone grew up, but it disguised those differences…”
“Combined, these two pursuits would guarantee her a quiet, contemplative, academic life; a life spent in the company of stories and storytellers, the land of language and words. It was all she wanted; all she wanted since her fifth-grade teacher had read her class “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, and every word, every pause, every image, had echoed through her and made her heart feel like a struck gong.”
“Sometimes [her life] had felt like she’d walked into a movie that had already begun.”
“A little selfishness could be healthy. It could even save your life.”
“…every infatuation fades. The passion ramps down, the fairy dust evaporates, the pheromones calm, and, instead of two people who float on clouds of ecstasy, who think of one another endlessly when they’re apart and can’t stop touching when they’re together, you end up two people who have to decide, every day, whether or not you still want to be a couple; whether to stay or go.”
“Young women who wanted children – or who thought that someday they might – those women lived with the sound of a clock eternally ticking in their ears. At twenty-two, it felt like you had all the time you could want. The world looked different when you were thirty-two, and thirty-five, and forty.”
“I don’t think walking away from something is ever easy. Not even when it’s the right thing to do.”
The Summer Place Review: In Conclusion
I enjoyed this book very much, overall! Even though there were slow moving parts and it was a little more dramatic than I expected, it was still a well written novel with interesting characters and conflict. 4 stars for The Summer Place. I have heard great things about this author, so I would likely read more of her books.
I would recommend The Summer Place to people who enjoy stories about complicated family lives with touches of romance, or stories with several main characters. I also think this would make a delightful book to gift someone before summer!
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