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A Certain Summer

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  • Posted July 5, 2013

    REVIEW 3 out of 5 stars for this reader folks A Certain Summer


    3 out of 5 stars for this reader folks

    A Certain Summer by Patricia Beard is classified as historical fiction with a lump of romance.  The setting is 1948 on a small town beach tourist island that draws the same crowd each and every summer.  The beach houses are beautiful, the festivals are crowd pleasers and life is generally good when you are there despite the typical small town gossipers and expectations of how one is to live.  We are also set post WWII where men have come home to a life that they are expected to adapt right back into after living their own personal hell overseas.
    Helen Wadworth is our leading lady who has to live with the fact that her husband Arthur was lost overseas for years.  Not knowing for sure what on earth happened or if he is in fact deceased, she is in constant limbo, torn between having to remain faithful to her husband, raising her teenage son (Jack) alone, wondering if love will ever find her again and finding out once and for all what happened on that fateful mission her husband was engaged in.  Arthur's best friend Frank (who just so happened to serve overseas with Arthur and on that fateful mission) comes to visit Helen and begins to woo her, and in many ways takes on the husband role.  Helen is attracted to Frank and I think she relishes the familiarity that he brings to the summer beach home.  He is comfortable.  Another important character is Peter Gavin.  Peter is a young marine that lives next door to Helen and is nursing a damaged body and mind from the war he fought in.  He was captured and tortured at enemy hands and is currently trying to move on with his life.  Max, his war dog, is a tremendous help in this process.  Before Helen realizes it, she is engaged in a love triangle with Frank and Peter.  Helen also begins to actively investigate the details of her husbands disappearance and before you know it, you are reading a story about mystery, love, betrayal, history acceptance and understanding.

    Okay so here is the nitty gritty.  I didn't LOVE this book.  I didn't HATE it either!  It was a good solid read but I have to admit I had a hard time remaining engaged.  The first half of the book I had to read in many sittings as it was so detailed in description and flashbacks that it took away from the flow of the story and I found myself wanting to scream "get on with it already".  It has a slow pace which begins to pick up half way through and that is where to story redeems itself for me.  I really liked the second half of this book as the relationships begin to develop, Helen gets off her fine rear end and begins to really question what happened to her husband.  We even get some travel off the island and overseas.

    My fave ... that's easy!  Max and Peter (especially Max the dog  Reading how these two bonded was so endearing and if you are an animal lover you'll appreciate this part of the book too.  It amazes me how soldiers bonded with certain animals during war time and what pivotal roles dogs had to play.  I think Max is Peter's salvation and once Helen was added you begin to see the wounds knit together.

    If you are looking for a beach read this summer and you enjoy love triangles with some history, then check out this book.  I did enjoy beautiful scenic pictures in my mind, but keep in mind the story is a little sad with some happy.


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