Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Book Review: The Summer House

By Sara Steven

Mead House was once our childhood home.

Despite my fears, I always knew we would have to return to face the demons of our past.

Back to the place where it happened, to where, as carefree teenagers, we lost our elder sister in the most brutal of circumstances.

As executors of our grandmother’s will, my twin brother, Ollie, and I needed to empty the house for resale.

What I didn’t expect to discover was my sister’s secret journal that contained her most private thoughts and shocking dark secrets.

Now I am questioning everything that I saw that night. Did I get it wrong, who I saw?

Did my evidence send an innocent man, my then boyfriend's brother, to jail for the last 17 years?

I know I have no choice. If I want to find answers, I will have to go back to that fateful night my sister died. When she made her last visit to the summer house. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

I made the mistake of reading The Summer House at night the other day, before bed. Particularly the last half of the book. I say it was a mistake, because after I’d finished reading it, I couldn’t get a lot of what plays out within the story out of my head. It made for a tough night. The entire premise is haunting enough–a young woman, Camille, is found dead, and within her family’s summer house, no less. Her closest relatives and friends are convinced of who the murderer had been, secure in the knowledge that he’s locked away and has no way of harming anyone else, ever again. But what if the wrong person is behind bars?

That is the continual thought I had while reading The Summer House, and why I had such a hard time letting go of what I’d read. Camille’s sister Lana is fairly certain what she can recall from that horrific night had really happened, but when strange and bizarre events are brought against her, with obvious ploys in potentially harming her, it would make anyone question the truth. One minute, I was certain it was one character, but then something would happen that would lead me to point fingers elsewhere. And I kept wondering if the person accused of the crime had really done it, after all. It was a big-time brain teaser!

Xav, Lana’s former teen boyfriend and the brother of the man behind bars for Camille’s death, has never truly believed that his brother would have ever been capable of such a thing. When his brother was sent to prison, it severed the ties between Xav and Lana, ties that had once seemed unbreakable. It was interesting to see them navigate such a complicated situation, and it wasn’t hard to find the way they feel about each other believable. What would happen if someone you once loved was related to someone you hated? That sentiment extended past Lana, involving her brother Ollie, too. Ollie and Xav had once been best friends, so there are a lot of relationship dynamics at play, blending into the scary mysterious scenery of “Who is trying to get at Lana,” with no one, the reader included, ever really knowing for sure until the end.

It was cleverly written and full of suspense. Having read another one of Beevis’s books, The Sleepover, I’m not at all surprised. She has a gift for creating the type of thrillers that stick with you–and could potentially leave you sleepless in the middle of the night. I recommend reading this one way before bed. It was a definite five-star experience for me!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK

Keri Beevis
is the internationally bestselling author of Dying To Tell, Deep Dark Secrets, Trust No One, Every Little Breath, and The People Next Door. Dying To Tell reached no. 1 in the Amazon chart in Australia and was a top 25 hit in the UK. She lives in Norfolk, along with her two naughty kitties, Ellie and Lola, and a plentiful supply of red wine (her writing fuel).

Visit Keri online:
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