Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: The Summer Without You

By Becky Gulc

**Giveaway is now closed**

The Summer Without You is the first book I’ve read by Karen Swan, I’d heard so many great things about her previous novels so I was keen to read this book. A perfect summery cover added to the appeal; just the kind of book I would pick out for a beach holiday myself. Here is the synopsis:

‘Rowena Tipton isn't looking for a new life, just a new adventure, something to while away the months as her long-term boyfriend presses pause on their relationship before they become engaged. But when a chance encounter at a New York wedding leads to an audition for a coveted houseshare in The Hamptons - Manhattan's elite beach scene - suddenly a new life is exactly what she's got.
Stretching before her is a summer with three eclectic housemates, long days on white sand ocean beaches and parties on gilded tennis courts. But high rewards bring high stakes and Rowena soon finds herself caught in the crossfire of a vicious intimidation campaign. Alone for the first time in her adult life, she has no-one to turn to but a stranger who is everything she doesn't want - but possibly everything she needs.’ (Courtesy of Amazon UK.)

I quickly became engrossed in this book, feeling sorry for Rowena (Ro) as her long-term boyfriend Matt suddenly decides to go travelling for six months without her. As the synopsis says, rather than sit around moping (which I think she would have quite happily done) a chance meeting whilst working in New York as a photographer prompts Rowena into taking up the offer of spending the summer at the Hamptons, along with housemates Hump (this name never really grew on me), Bobbi and Greg. Whilst Rowena wants to make enough money whilst out there to pay her bills back home in England and the rent out there , she is otherwise quite happy to live a quiet life, adorned in Matt’s clothes as she eagerly awaits each Skype call. Needless to say this doesn’t last, with high-flying housemates, aggressive strangers and charming locals all in the mix, this will be far from a quiet summer.

I love a book which has a good sense of place, essential for transporting me to sunnier climes as I try and ignore the rain outside in England. I had a little idea of what the Hamptons would be like (mainly from an episode of Sex and the City!), but I felt just like I was there enjoying the summer with these four intriguing housemates. Whilst as a reader we know Ro well, we only really get glimpses into the lives of the other three housemates which added to the intrigue throughout and the interesting dynamics in the home, but we feel we know each of them a bit better by the end, even if I still have a couple of questions in my head.

A key aspect of this story is the question surrounding who has it in for Ro’s new friend Florence, with Ro herself becoming injured in the process as well as Florence. Who would want to injure a lovely older lady who wants the best for the community? I enjoyed this story-line and it developed nicely throughout the novel and I was on tenterhooks by the end, and the culprit was someone I didn’t anticipate.

In terms of the romance side of things, for the reader, but maybe not for Rowena, there are two possible men which may just test how strong her and Matt’s relationship really is. Whilst I enjoyed the anticipation of what was going to happen, the closer I got to the end I realised that what I wanted to happen wasn’t going to happen. I was gutted to be honest, but I hope I’m in the minority here. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who will read this but I just didn’t feel ‘it’ for the guy in question, even though there are certain insights into his life that are designed to make us warm to him, it just didn’t work for me. When things develop between Ro and the guy in question, it just felt a bit sudden, and a bit cliché in the descriptions when I’d loved the rest of the writing.

All in all, I did really enjoy this book, and at 500+ pages it’s a long story, but I never felt bored by it; it never felt stretched out. I loved spending time at the Hamptons with these characters, I just wish that the ending had been different, but like I said, I hope I’m in the minority of readers that think this, and wouldn’t it be boring if you always got the ending you wanted in a book?

Thanks to Macmillan UK for the book in exchange for an honest review. They have THREE copies for some lucky readers anywhere in the world!

How to win:
Please tell us what kind of ending you prefer in a book (i.e. wraps up neatly, has a surprise twist, goes against what you wanted for the characters, etc.)

One entry per person.

Please include your e-mail address or another way to reach you if you win. Entries without contact information will NOT be counted (and we do not count Google + as contact information).

Open worldwide. Giveaway ends June 22nd at midnight EST.

More by Karen Swan:

51 comments:

Bonnie Franks said...

I like a book whose ending is a surprise. Not a major surprise, but not necessarily the ending I had envisioned. I say that and realize that sometimes I actually don't like that type of ending. Maybe it depends on the book, but I think across the board I would have to say I do not like predictable.
bonlyn55@yahoo.com

pascale said...

As much as I like a good (perfect) ending, sometimes a surprise is nice. Life does not always work out perfectly, so the predictable perfect ending sometimes gets old.

Gone Girl????? Not the ending I expected, but it was very good.
pascale.poitras@verizon.net

Anonymous said...

Unpredictable endingd but not far fetched.
melinda.garza15@yahoo.con

susieqlaw said...

A surprise twist!

Sendsusanmail at gmail dot com

Angel Wells said...

I love books when I can say"wow...didn't see that coming!" I like a good book where the ending doesn't sound like all other book endings.
kawells1997@yahoo.com

Janine said...

I'm not much into predictability. I always enjoy a surprise ending. I love the cover of this book and the story sounds really good.

kinini01@hotmail.com

Donna C said...

I like an ending that is believable. Sometimes an ending will feel rushed to me, like the author just wanted to tie up loose ends in 20 pages. The end can either be unpredictable or the "happy ever after", but it has to flow with the rest of the story.
Dcimo2@aol.com

Nova said...

I like a twist at the end, but not hard to believe....
sparkle40175 AT hotmail DOT com

rubynreba said...

I like a surprise twist. However, it has to be believable!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzanne said...

Unless there is a sequel coming, I like to see the story line wrapped up - whether good or bad. When they don't wrap it up, it keeps you wanting more.

Charlotte said...

A surprise ending is what I like.
CABWNANA1@bellsouth.net

Ro said...

Everything to wrap up nicely with a twist . Always works for me.

Bridget T. said...

Wraps up neatly. For sure.

Iambtinrb@aol.com

Anonymous said...

I love a book that leaves you wondering until the very last page! especially when you have no clue as to what is going to happen! Gives me palpitations when I read a book like that! x

Chanpreet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chanpreet said...

I like books with all sorts of endings. For the more angst ridden ones I love a neatly wrapped ending. Being surprised is always good too, as long as the surprise is logical.

kaur_chanpreet(at)hotmail(dot)com

Cheryl R said...

I like surprise endings, maybe where another character comes into play ( happy endings are the best though).
cherylslife67@charter.net

donnaing said...

I love books with surprise endings. I read the book and wonder if my predictions about the ending will be correct and love when the ending surprises me!
donnaing1@gmail.com

Sheena said...

I usually like books that wrap up nicely but also like ones with the surprising twist at the end!

wapneski@yahoo.com

Tami said...

I like a combo. I like them to have a huge surprise that makes me read it twice but them also comes together neatly at the end.

tamileepronske at gmail dot com

Josie Hink said...

Depends on my mood . Most of the time I love Happily ever after but sometimes I want it to throw me off completely and leave me furious or in shock!!!

Josiehink122026 at gmail dot com

Audrey Griffis said...

I have to say it depends on the book on what kind of ending I'd like but you can never go wrong with a happy ending- true love but I do love a surprise ending

luckyladybug67@gmail.com

Bube said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bube said...

Definitely,wrap up neatly :)

Thanks for the chance!
bubacka07@outlook.com

Kimberly V said...

I like a twist or surprise ending as long as it is a happy one. I hate it when things are not tied up.
k3kdpv@gmail.com

Jennifer Essad said...

a pleasant surprise ending is nice. Only open ended if it's going to be a series

Hailey Fish said...

Depending on what the book is about, surprising twists always leave me thinking what would happen if there were a sequel. I also like stories that get wrapped up quickly.

fishiegirl22@yahoo.com

Margie Durham said...

I like endings with a twist that is a surprise, but not so far off from the story that it doesn't seem likely.

opesopinions@gmail.com

Anita Yancey said...

I prefer my books to have a surprise twist ending. Thanks for having the giveaway.

ayancey1974(at)gmail(dot)com

Bonnie K. said...

How a book ends depends a lot on what the book is, but on the whole, I do like a little surprise twist.

bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

I like surprise endings usually.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Jessica Meddick said...

I like a surprise ending.

Thanks!

walkingcorpse11@hotmail.com

L'ashes. said...

A surprise twist is always exciting!
ashley.lynn.irby@gmail.com

Mary Preston said...

I love a surprise twist at the end too.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

bn100 said...

an HEA with everything wrapped-up

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

karin said...

I love a surprising end, but not overwhelming or unbelievable ones(Like when you find out all the characters in the books are aliens, and the main character is actually a man from mars...)


cookiesmasher5@yahoo.com

Patricia said...

I love being surprised by an ending.

patricia dot mariani dot esq at g mail dot com

TinaB said...

I like a surprise ending!
Brannanflooring@aol.com

Britney Adams said...

I love a surprise ending!

texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

Caroline N. said...

surprise endings are the best.

carebear815c@hotmail.com

Kat said...

Surprise twist!

k_duncan21@yahoo.com

Librarian Lavender said...

I love it when an ending suits the story. It doesn't matter if it's happy or not. I like epilogues, but sometimes abrupt really works. As long as it's well written I'm happy.

librarianlavender @ gmail.com

winemama said...

I like a surprise ending!

Kayla said...

I love unpredictable endings where at the last second there is a twist of fate

Kayla said...

I love unpredictable endings where at the last second there is a twist of fate.

Kaylagothier@yahoo.com

Emily Lewis said...

twisty ending. i like to think i know and then we suprised that I did not know.

mrsmommybooknerdsbookreviews@gmail.com

Tbb said...

Love a happy ending!!
Tbbrannan72@gmail.com

Anne Williams said...

I just like to be able to put a book down with a sigh and a smile on my face, before real life takes over again...

annie130.aw@googlemail.com

PoCoKat said...

A happy one!

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

Melissa said...

Thanks for participating and telling us your thoughts on book endings.
I like an ending that is not predictable and doesn't wrap up neatly. Shock me a bit! One of the best endings I read recently was in Fractured by Dani Atkins. It still shakes me to my core!

Thanks to Macmillan UK for sharing the book with our winners.

Random.org chose THREE winners from all entries with contact info (one entry per person).

Congrats to:
Anne Williams
donnaing
Mary Preston