Summer's End

( 9 )

Overview

Family Affair

To their respective families, Jack Wells and Amy Legend are outsiders. A free-spirited man-of-all-trades who takes life as it comes, Jack is far different from both his mother, the ever-organized widow of an admiral, and his methodical lawyer sister. And Amy, a professional athlete with exquisite taste and golden beauty, has a glamorous career a world apart from her bookish older siblings and college professor father.

When Jack's ...

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Summer's End: A Novel

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Overview

Family Affair

To their respective families, Jack Wells and Amy Legend are outsiders. A free-spirited man-of-all-trades who takes life as it comes, Jack is far different from both his mother, the ever-organized widow of an admiral, and his methodical lawyer sister. And Amy, a professional athlete with exquisite taste and golden beauty, has a glamorous career a world apart from her bookish older siblings and college professor father.

When Jack's mother marries Amy's widowed father, the newlyweds invite all the children to spend the summer at the Legends' retreat in northern Minnesota. While their parents hoped they'd all like each other, they hadn't counted on just how well Jack and Amy would get along. For affection unexpectedly flares into a burning attraction that threatens to destroy already fragile bonds. Caught between long-simmering conflicts and clashing personalities, Jack and Amy agree to deny their desire until the vacation is over. But it seems the more they resist, the deeper they find themselves falling in love. With passion this strong, how can they possibly wait 'til

Summer's End

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gwen and Hal--each middle-aged, each alone after the death of a longtime spouse--marry after a whirlwind courtship. They have enough experience to know what they want, but their adult children are another story. When the newly merged clan comes together for an extended vacation at a remote lakeside cottage--a place without the helpful distractions of telephone and television--the stage is set for grieving, bonding and, of course, a fair bit of squabbling. Hal's daughter Phoebe struggles to come to terms with mourning her exceptional mother, and accept the family's transformation; rootless but resourceful Jack, Gwen's son, battles his attraction for new stepsister Amy, a famous ice-skater with a sound but untried heart. These are mild dramas, but Seidel's (Again) solid insight into family dynamics weaves the different threads into an entertaining story. Her affectionately drawn characters are admirable and irritating at once--just like real people--and both their petty and loving moments feel authentic. Despite a rather cumbersome start, this is a genuinely appealing and absorbing read. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594528500
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/3/2011
  • Pages: 418
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Summer's End is Kathleen Gilles Seidel's eleventh novel. She is from Kansas, has a Ph.D. in English literature from Johns Hopkins, and lives in Virginia with her husband and two daughters.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



"You won't remember me," he said. "We barely spoke."

The voice on the other end of the phone was correct. Gwen Wells did not know who Hal Legend was. Apparently they had been at the same community dinner the evening before. He had gotten her phone number and was now calling to ask her to dinner.

He was asking her on a date.

Gwen had been on dates before, but the last one had been with a young midshipman who had subsequently made her a wife, mother, and now a widow. Surely the rules that had applied to dating in those days no longer applied.

But Gwen had a thirty-year-old daughter, Holly, who was a single lawyer in New York City, and Gwen knew enough about Hotly's life to know how one went about dating a stranger.

Yes, she would love to get together with Hal Legend. (Holly always accepted first dates.) But it needed to be lunch. (Keep it short was Holly's rule.) No, no, he didn't need directions to her house. She would drive herself, she would meet him there. (Have your own escape route.)

"You're making this too easy for me," he said. "I was prepared to go to a great deal of trouble to see you."

And there was something in the way he said "you," something quiet and deep, that Gwen had not heard from a man in a very long time.

Three days later Gwen admitted to herself that she was nervous about this date. She, usually well-focused, clearsighted, and self-directed, was nervous.

She couldn't believe it. She was never nervous. She worried about her kids, of course, but who didn't? That wasn't the same as being nervous. Why was she even going? She was fifty-eight years old, for heaven'ssake. All those rules about dating that she had picked up from Holly — it wasn't as if Holly had sat down and taught them to her. It had never occurred to either one of them that she would need them.

So why was she going? I'm old enough to be a grandmother. Grandmothers do not go out on dates.

In point of fact, she was not a grandmother, something which she forced herself to remember. But that's only because neither Holly nor Jack are married. Fin old enough and that's what counts.

She looked at her neat gold-banded watch. She was ready, and there were twenty minutes before she needed to leave. What should she do in those twenty minutes?

This was not like her. She did not fluster easily. She was Mrs. Poised and Reliable, Mrs. Organized and Predictable, the lady with the tidy closets and neat drawers. The Queen of the Unchipped Manicures. The commanding officer's wife, the one responsible for all the other wives when the boat was out at sea. Can't understand the notice from the bank? Don't know if you should get the car repaired? Too many wine bottles in your friend's weekly trash? You called Mrs. Wells. She could be counted on to sort out everything.

In those days an officer's fitness report always included an evaluation of his wife because the wives had had responsibilities too. Being an officer's wife was a job, and Gwen had been good at hers. Very good. Her husband would have never become admiral if she hadn't been.

But that was over now. Her manicures were still unchipped, her closets were still neat, she was still trim and blonde, but she wasn't Mrs. C.O. anymore. Mrs. Admiral Wells was Gwen, out on her own, actually going on a date. She wished Holly or Jack were here. This would all be easier if one of her kids were coming with her. They were great. Everyone always liked them.

She stopped herself. She was not dependent on her children. She was not going to hide behind them. In fact, she was going to make a rule for herself. If she actually made it to this date, she was not going to talk about her children, and if she got a set of grandchildren between now and then, she wouldn't talk about them either.

She forced herself to wait another ten of the remaining twenty minutes and then drove to the restaurant. It was in the suburbs, across from Tysons Comer, one of the biggest malls in the Washington, D.C., area. Parking was easy. Too easy. Now she was twelve minutes early.

Some people were always falling further and further behind in fife. She was getting further and further ahead. It would be nice if that were a cosmic metaphor, but it probably wasn't. She was just twelve minutes early for her first date in more than three decades.

This was stupid; this fretting was not like her. She pulled her keys out of the ignition and swept up her purse. She was going inside. So what if she was early?

The winter sunlight was thin, but it glittered off the low mounds of ice-crusted snow at the edges of the parking lot. Gwen pulled the restaurant door open. It was dark inside, and for a moment she could see only shapes. A man was rising, moving toward her. Apparently he-if this was indeed the correct 'he'- had arrived even earlier. She pulled off her gloves and slipped them into her purse. Her eyes were adjusting to the light. She could see colors, now details.

He was a tall man with a full head of silvering hair and alert grayish eyes. The bones of his face were good, the slight squareness of his jaw balanced by the high cheekbones. He was a handsome man, but there was nothing overly arranged about his hair or dress. She liked that. She didn't like vain men.

She put out her hand. "You should have told me that you were the one who knew all the songs."

She had noticed him the other evening. How could she not have?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013

    When I put it down, I said out loud "What a womderful book

    When I put it down, I said out loud "What a womderful book this was"  I HIGHY recommend this - and I don't recommend many.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    contemporary fans will enjoy Kathleen Gilles Seidel's deep look at relationships

    Fifty-eight year old Widow Gwen Wells (mother of two) and widower Hal Legend (father of three) meet at a community dinner and begin dating. Both are lonely as each was married for a long time to a spouse who died. Thus the two lonely souls soon marry.

    However, their adult children have doubts about this merger. The two families gather at a lakeside cottage with plans to meet and mingle. No television is in this remote place in order to force the brood to comingle. Fighting and fussing, the kids are disappointed with their respective parent. Gwen's thirty year old single lawyer daughter Holly has doubts. Hal's daughter Phoebe (mother of four) and his son Ian (father of three) have a difficult time accepting a replacement for their beloved mother while Gwen's other offspring Jack is attracted to the third Olympic gold medal ice skater Amy.

    This reprint of an engaging 1999 tale focuses on the mixing of two families due to the respective maternal and paternal leaders marrying. The ensemble cast (to include his grandchildren) comes together in a terrific summer of squabbling and bonding. Each person is different with flaws that make them seem real. Although there is no earth shattering tension, contemporary fans will enjoy Kathleen Gilles Seidel's deep look at relationships when two families become one by Summer's End.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2011

    A GOOD SUMMER READ! SUMMER'S END BY KATHLEEN GILLES SEIDEL!!

    SUMMER'S END by Kathleen Gilles Seidel is a contemporary read.A family affair indeed.When Jack Wells' mom marries Amy Legend's Dad the family is invited to spend the summer at the Legend's family retreat in Northern Minnesota. What occurs is an
    expected affection between Amy and Jack.They agree to wait until summer's end to deepen their growing feelings and their passion. This story weaves family drama of two conflicting families together to make one family through marriage. While one family lost a mother the other lost a father,together they gain both a new mother and a new father.
    There is grief,squabling with step siblings,bonding of two families and the transformation of these two families into one family by summer's end. A great summer read full of family drama,passion and step squabling.Any contemporary fan will enjoy this quick read.This book was received for the purpose of review from the publisher and details can be found at William Morrow,an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers and My Book Addiction Reviews.

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  • Posted May 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great'

    I loved this book. And recommend it:)

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