Summer Secrets by Jane Green is my first ever read by Jane Green. Surprising but true. However now I am won over and will be catching up over time on her backlist. I went out and bought this after reading a number of reviews, and just headed it on up to the top of my reading pile on a whim.
Set mostly in London, England with some of the time in Nantucket USA, this is the story of Cat and her addiction to alcohol. Cat has grown up with a father who is distant and controlling, and a mother who often takes to her bed with depression. She grows up lonely and always feeling she is not quite enough. While a competent journalist, she often drinks herself into oblivion, so avoiding her pain and feelings of loneliness and insecurity.
And so we follow the path that Cat takes, the father she always thought as her father dies, and then she learns new information about her father that takes her on a trip to meet another family in Nantucket. Looking in on them she thinks it must be perfect and makes that mistake we often think that other people have the perfect life. However after an initial “well met” she does something that sends her back to London.
Cat makes attempts to gain sobriety but always to please someone else. Can she ever do it to please herself? It is a long hard road for Cat, she hurts others along the way and is in turn hurt too. Jane Green gives us an insightful look into the life of an alcoholic. I found myself caught up in the story and read through it every moment I could. I have never been an alcoholic or lived with one, so it was an exploration of the illness of alcoholism that gave me an appreciation of its difficulties, heartbreaks and challenges. I appreciate the fact that while Cat chose to numb herself through drink there are many ways we can numb ourselves to pain in our lives. Facing it, accepting it and not turning from it is so important. Does Cat do that? Can she do it? It’s tough!
I am not mentioning other characters so that if you haven’t read the book you are introduced to them as they enter the story. Some are wonderful, some do just the right thing at the right time and some don’t. There are unexpected turns at times and this too added to the emotion and tension in the story.
Loved it! Life, love, hell, hope, forgiveness – this book has it all.