Review

The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr

Book coverPublished:Harlequin – MIRA
Date: 5th September 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 336
Genre: Mainstream Fiction
Source: Publisher and Little Bird Publicity

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For the Hempsteads, two sisters who married two brothers and had three daughters each, summers were idyllic. The women would escape the city the moment school was out to gather at the family house on Lake Waseka. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree. All of their problems drifted away as the days passed in sun-dappled contentment. Until the summer that changed everything.

This is now…  Torn apart, none of the Hempstead women speak of what happened that summer, and relationships between them are uneasy at best to hurtful at worst. But in the face of new challenges, one woman is determined to draw her family together again, and the only way that can happen is to return to the lake and face the truth.

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As always Robyn Carr has written a well crafted story that fully engaged me all through the book The Summer That Made Us. It has many threads to it, many issues and themes that ebb and flow as the story unfolds.

This is a story about relationships mostly – that of sisters and cousins, plus some of the people that surround them. As it starts out it is rather obvious that you could put a capital D on dysfunctional for many but not all of the family members.

There is Lou and Jo, two sisters – once such good friends, now estranged. Two families who grew up close to each other, spending time as children at a lake house in Minnesota. Two families of thre girls each. However one summer everything turned to ruin and they never went back…

Until Meg wants to go back to that house. She is dealing with cancer, she has had her last ditch treatment and it is time to see will it work… or not. Charlie her sister wants to make that happen for her and does so. As Charlie begins her renovations there, her cousin Krista turns up, just out of prison. We are also introduced to Hope, Krista’s sister and all is not right in the state of Denmark for sure in her life.

We see things from all their points of view which does help me the reader be sympathetic towards them and to wish the best for them. I am not always engaged by so many characters in one book with issues and things to deal with. But the fact that they are all related and have been affected by the same family dynamics and tragedy, pulled me in. It perhaps lost a little though in the focus being on so many, not much, just a tad, it left me feeling a little distant from the full emotion of the characters.

Each woman grapples with her own life, moving towards resolution, new hope, forgiveness and healing in various forms as the story is retold and understood. Another well told story from Robyn Carr.

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