Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Book Review: Summer on the River

By Sara Steven

As summer beckons, Evie’s family gathers once more at the beautiful old riverside house they all adore. But when Evie discovers a secret that threatens their future, a shadow falls over them all: this summer by the river could be their last together...

For Charlie, a visit home to see stepmother Evie is an escape from his unhappy marriage in London. Until a chance encounter changes everything: in the space of a moment, he meets a woman by the river, falls in love, and his two worlds collide.

As Evie and Charlie struggle to keep their secrets safe, they long for the summer to never end... 

Can the happiness of one summer last forever? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

While reading Summer On The River, I had this easy feeling creep in, the kind that makes you feel as though you’re sitting in peace, sipping herbal tea, or maybe you’re sitting in a hammock surrounded by flowers and sunshine, the sounds of nature all around. A relaxing discovery of intricate connections between characters, with a spider web of hidden agendas and secretive innuendos.

There were a lot of parallel experiences for the characters in Summer too, falling onto and into one another. Tied up and twisted without knowing they are, without knowing that the actions and choices made from one person can influence and change the course for another. I really felt that a lot between Evie and Charlie, and Evie and Jason, a man who is still reeling from the choices Evie made for her life several years before, that he feels have come back to haunt him, and ultimately haunt her, too. A lot of cause and effect scenarios that lead to the very center of what this novel is about, which to me feels like a lesson in acceptance and progression. Of moving on.

And even though Charlie finds himself in a serious predicament, you can’t help but root for him. It’s not so much that he’s an underdog, but a man who struggles with a connection that feels too large to ignore. I really appreciated the dynamic of an inner struggle between doing what’s right, and what feels right. And, what is the right thing, anyway? A lot of blurred, gray areas that really played into what real life is like when it comes to matters of the heart.

While it did take some time for me to get into the groove of this story, once it picked up, I felt connected to all of the characters here, and I really appreciated the various perspectives from each one. It helped to better identify what their motivation is. The fact that Summer won’t give us a perfectly wrapped gift with a bow on it only added to the appeal of this story. What you’re given is a messy box filled with deep emotions and purpose-driven complexity, mixed in with a slow intensity reminiscent of cinematic ambiance. Ultimately, a great summer read!

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Marcia Willett:

1 comment:

Janine said...

This book sounds really interesting.