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Summer Light

Summer Light

4.7 38
by Luanne Rice

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When it comes to love and family, the things you can’t see are what matter most of all.

Bestselling novelist Luanne Rice has inspired the devotion of readers everywhere with her “rare combination of realism and romance.”(The New York Times Book Review) Now she presents her most magical novel to date, an entrancing story of love


When it comes to love and family, the things you can’t see are what matter most of all.

Bestselling novelist Luanne Rice has inspired the devotion of readers everywhere with her “rare combination of realism and romance.”(The New York Times Book Review) Now she presents her most magical novel to date, an entrancing story of love at first sight, the true meaning of family, and angels right here on earth.

May Taylor works as a wedding planner, passing on the timeless traditions of her grandmother and mother. The Taylor women have always believed in the presence of magic in everyday life—especially the simple magic of true love and family. Yet May’s own faith in true love was shattered when she was abandoned by the father of her child. Still, she finds joy in raising her daughter Kylie, a very special five-year-old who sees and hears things that others cannot. . .

Martin Cartier is a professional hockey player and sports legend. His father, a champion, taught him to play to win—at all costs. Now Martin’s success veils a core of heartache, rage, and isolation. Yet Kylie glimpses the transcendent role Martin will play in May’s life and her own—unless his past tears their blossoming love apart. Then only Kylie will see the way home—and only May will be able to lead them there, if she can believe in magic once more.

Editorial Reviews

Luanne Rice offers up a tale of love, forgiveness, and redemption in Summer Light, a haunting story about a gifted little girl with otherworldly connections. Five-year-old Kylie Taylor sees things others don’t. When she sees and hears the ghost of a young girl while flying with her mother, May, Kylie learns that the plane they are on will crash. Sure enough, the aircraft makes a rocky landing and, in the smoky aftermath, Kylie and May are assisted off the plane by Martin Cartier, a hockey player for the Boston Bruins and the father of the long dead-child Kylie saw. A love affair is born, and soon Martin, May, and Kylie become a family. But Martin’s past is as haunted as Kylie’s present, and the secrets he is hiding hold the power to destroy them all. Tragedy will strike again, but thanks to the efforts of Kylie and her ghostly pal, there will also be joy amidst the tears.
Library Journal
Another fraught tale from Rice. Deserted by her father as a child, May works as a wedding planner and raises daughter Kylie, who can see and hear things others can't. This gift leads May to the love of her life, a seemingly smooth but ultimately enraged hockey player who really needs her help. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The latest from the bestselling author, among many others, of Follow the Stars (2000), among many others. May Taylor is sure her six-year-old daughter is clairvoyant. Kylie started seeing angels at age four, and after she found that body hanged in the woods, her paranormal perception got even stronger. Now, Kylie wants to tell her mommy that their plane is about to crash, but first she has to chat with the handsome hockey player in the first-class compartment. She's back and all buckled up when . . . aaiiiieee! They crash. Fortunately, it's not bad, and the hockey player-Martin Cartier, of the Boston Bruins-helps her and her mommy down the inflatable slide. Should Kylie tell him that she saw the ghost-angel of his little girl Natalie before the crash? Not yet. Martin has to fall in love with May and marry her first, putting the kibosh on his team's chance for the Stanley Cup-according to his fans, who convinced that May has put a spell on him. Back to Natalie: May finds that Martin's father, a star player in his day, was a gambling addict. Loan sharks coming to collect hung Natalie by her heels from the balcony. Her unlucky gramps, trying to protect her, shoved her into a table by accident, fracturing her skull, so that now she watches over her daddy from heaven. When just a lad, Martin almost died for a similar reason: thugs slashed his chest open in front of his dad. Seems like Cartier Sr. might've learned from that experience, but no . . . . Now he's in prison, and when May attempts to reunite father and son, Martin becomes furious. Plus, he seems to be going blind. An old retinal injury has stricken this proud warrior of the rink. Still, joy awaits: May is pregnant, andthe Bruins keep on winning. There's a tearjerker finale of blind Martin carrying the Stanley Cup and Kylie around the ice. Unpleasantly morbid, despite all the fairy-dust and child angels. And there's far too much play-by-play hockey for a romance. Author tour
From the Publisher
“[I]n this enchanting, heartfelt tale, [Rice] showcases her considerable talent.... A warm and illuminating summer read, this poignant tale of love, loss and reconciliation will have readers hitting the bookstores on the way to the beaches.”
— Publishers Weekly

Praise for the novels of Luanne Rice:

Follow the Stars Home

“Addictive ... irresistible.”
— People

“The novel’s theme — love’s miraculous ability to heal — has the ingredients to warm readers’ hearts.”
— Publishers Weekly

“[A] story of love and redemption ... tender and poignant.”
— Booklist

Cloud Nine

“Elegant ... Rice hooks the reader on the first page.”
— The Hartford Courant

“A tightly paced story that is hard to put down ... Rice’s message remains a powerful one: the strength of precious family ties can ultimately set things right.”
— Publishers Weekly

Home Fires

“Exciting, emotional, terrific. What more could you want from a late-summer read?”
— The New York Times Book Review

“Compelling ... poignant ... riveting.”
— The Hartford Advocate

Blue Moon

“A rare combination of realism and romance.”
— The New York Times Book Review

“Eloquent ... A moving and complete tale of the complicated phenomenon we call family.”
— People

Product Details

Center Point Large Print
Publication date:
Edition description:
Large Print
Product dimensions:
5.38(w) x 11.78(h) x 1.32(d)

Read an Excerpt

The plane was crowded. As the passengers boarded, the flight attendant announced that every seat would be required, that people should stow all their belongings in the overhead bins or under the seats in front of them. May Taylor made sure her and Kylie's bags were out of the way, that Kylie knew she had to stay in her place and not bother the businessman in the aisle seat.

Takeoff was smooth, and the plane climbed through thin gray clouds into the brilliant blue. Until this year, May hadn't flown much — she had never had much reason. But Kylie's doctor in Boston had recommended that Kylie take part in a study at Twigg University in Toronto, with a group of psychologists focusing on clairvoyance and personality disorders.

May and Kylie lived with May's great-aunt in an old farmhouse on the Connecticut shoreline. May loved her daughter more than anything, but as she looked around the plane, she couldn't help noticing all the couples. The white-haired couple sharing the newspaper; the young professionals in his-and-her suits, talking on cell phones; two parents with their teenaged kids across the aisle.

May stared at the parents for a few minutes, wondering how it would feel to have someone to share the care of Kylie with: to travel with, laugh with, worry with. She watched the woman bend toward her husband, her hair brushing his shoulder as she whispered in his ear. His lips turned up in a wide smile, and he bowed his head, nodding in agreement.

May suddenly felt as if she'd swallowed a fishbone, and she quickly looked down. She had a sheaf of papers from Dr. Ben Whitpen at the Twigg University Department of Psychology to read, reports andobservations and recommendations, all pertaining to Kylie. Upon landing at Logan, she would take them to Kylie's doctor on Barkman Street. After that, the long drive home to Connecticut lay ahead. She stared at the letterhead, at the confusing and worrisome words swimming together, and the ache in her throat grew worse.

"Mom?" Kylie asked.

"What, honey?"

"Big men."

Thinking Kylie meant the passenger sitting next to her, May immediately leaned close to Kylie's ear. When Kylie got involved with people, they sometimes got upset. And May could tell by the man's expensive suit, his heavy gold watch, and the fancy briefcase he'd placed in front of Kylie instead of his own seat, that he was one of the ones who might get upset.

"The man's working," May whispered. "Don't bother him."

"No," Kylie whispered back, shaking her head. "In the special compartment — really big men. Are they giants?"

May and Kylie were in the first row, but Kylie was staring through the half-open curtain separating economy and business class. Kylie was right: Several huge guys were sitting up there, talking to a semicircle of pretty female flight attendants. Their strength was apparent in the size of their chests and arms, the breadth of their shoulders. Some of them had logos on the sleeves of their shirts, and May figured they belonged to some team or other. The women were laughing, one of them saying she loved hockey and could she have an autograph. May, knowing nothing about hockey, turned her attention back to Kylie.

"They're just men," May said. "Not giants."

"Big, though," Kylie said.

"Yes," May said. "Big." She thought of the word "big," of how it could mean so many things. Kylie's father was big — over six feet tall. He was a lawyer in Boston, in one of the prestigious firms with offices in a skyscraper overlooking the harbor — a big attorney. He had seemed to love May until she told him she was pregnant, and then he had told her he was married to someone else — a big problem. He sent her money every month, enough to feed and clothe Kylie — but he didn't want to know their daughter. That made him small.

The Department of Psychology was paying for this flight, with an extra stipend besides. Even with Gordon's child support, life away from home was expensive. Planes, hotels, and restaurants were for other people, vacationers and business travelers with someone to share the trip with. May felt a wave of loneliness.

Listening to Kylie humming beside her, May looked down. She hadn't planned on motherhood, hadn't counted on anything as wonderful as Kylie coming from the worst experience of her life. Kylie was a fairy child, unique and odd but — if May could believe Dr. Whitpen — gifted instead of disturbed. May had been instructed to keep a diary of her visions, a blue notebook she filled with everything Kylie told her and with details May observed.

Right now, Kylie stared at the men up front with growing intensity, her eyes taking on what May called "the glow." She was seeing something. She bit her lip, to keep from blurting it out. Her eyes slid from May to the forward compartment and back again. Six years old, she was small for her size. Wavy dark hair fell to her shoulders, and velvet brown eyes gazed out from her creamy face, radiant as if lit from within by candlelight.

"Don't, Kylie," May said.

"But—" Kylie began.

"I'm tired," May said. "Look somewhere else. Draw pictures. I'll switch with you, and you can have the window seat."

Kylie shook her head and gave an exaggerated shiver, sliding low in her seat. She stared at the big men up front, her eyebrows knit together with fierce concentration.

"It's a baby one," she said, frowning as she clasped her hands in her lap.


As if feeling the intensity of Kylie's stare, one of the hockey players looked over his shoulder. He had the aisle seat, and as he turned May noticed a mischievous glint in his gray-blue eyes. A flight attendant stepped forward to yank the curtain shut. Blocked from view, their conversation and laughter were just as loud. Kylie stared as if she had X-ray vision, as if whatever she had seen was still there, in plain sight.

"Great," came an annoyed voice from the row behind. "Put the Boston Bruins on a plane, and watch the stewardesses disappear."

"They're screwing up the play-offs anyway," someone else said. "The Maple Leafs will finish them off tonight."

"The hell with hockey," a woman said with a laugh. "Just give me Martin Cartier."

"The hell with Martin Cartier," a man growled. "Just bring me a drink."

Kylie seemed oblivious to all the talk. Sitting between her mother and the stranger on the aisle, she was growing paler by the minute. May stuck the papers and her diary into a folder and snapped up her tray table. Her heart felt heavy, and her chest ached. She watched Kylie stare at the curtain, her mouth moving in silent words.

"Let's switch places, honey," May said, unsnapping her and Kylie's seat belts. "It's springtime down there, and you can see the new leaves. See all those fields? All the trees? We must be over Massachusetts by now. See if you can count—" She paused, lifting Kylie out of her seat and plunking her by the window. Kylie's skin felt clammy, and May's heart was racing. The businessman let out a loud exhalation as May kicked his briefcase out of the way.

"She wants her daddy, Mom," Kylie whispered, clutching May's wrist. "She wants to kiss him."

"Count the barns," May pleaded, pointing out the window, trying to find something to occupy Kylie, take her mind off the hallucination.

"Oh, but she'll leave—" Kylie started, sounding sad. She swallowed, looking into May's eyes. May could almost watch her willing herself to obey, to stop whatever vision she was having and act like a normal child — count the barns or sing her ABC's or look at the Berkshires or ask to be taken to the bathroom.

Kylie had started seeing angels when she was four. She went to nursery school and realized that she was the only child there without a father. A month later, her beloved Great-Granny — May's grandmother Emily — died of a heart attack. Then, one spring day, on a hike around the Lovecraft Wildlife Refuge, the two of them had come upon a body hanging from a tree branch. All rags and bone, the skull had grinned down like a decomposing witch. The police later identified it as the body of a drifter, Richard Perry, who had committed suicide.

Suddenly Kylie had started talking to herself. She would call out in her sleep, cry all day at nursery school, speak in unknown tongues to people May couldn't see.

The psychologist May had eventually taken her to had remarked on the timing: that Kylie had begun having visions right after Emily Dunne — Kylie's great-grandmother, solid presence, rock of the family — had died. At the same time, Kylie had come to realize she was essentially fatherless. She felt abandoned by most of the adults in the universe, the doctors said. Seeing the dead body had been her breaking point, the catalyst for seeing ghosts. She wanted a family, and the visions provided that.

May could understand. Having grown up in an extended, loving family, she wanted family too. Besides, she worked in the most charmed profession in the world, with a legacy of magic from her grandmother and great-aunt.

But what if Kylie was schizophrenic, and not clairvoyant?

"She'll go," Kylie whispered, holding her mother's wrist, "before she gets to kiss her father. She'll leave if I don't pay attention—"

"Kylie," May whispered, her voice breaking. "Let her leave." If she wasn't so exhausted, frustrated, scared, and alone, she told herself, she would stand firm and tell Kylie in no uncertain terms that there was no one there, no one wanting to kiss her father, no baby angel hovering over the seats in business class.

Martin Cartier had his legs stuck out in the aisle, and every time one of the flight attendants passed, they braced themselves on his seat back as they stepped over. Two hours into the flight, he was being a jerk, blocking their way, but he couldn't help it. He had tried sitting slouched, straight, and sideways, but any way you cut it, the plane was too small.

Not just because of his size, which was considerable, but because of his energy. His mother always used to say he had a blizzard inside him, and Martin thought that might be true. He felt as if he'd swallowed a killer wind, with enough power to flatten cities and bury towns, that if he used it on the ice, he could destroy the other team. Martin's energy flew out his elbows and hips, slamming his opponents into the boards, bloodying the ice and sending people to the hospital.

Right now, the energy made him squirm in his seat. He felt prickles on his scalp, and once again he looked around. The flight attendant had closed the curtain, but peering through a crack, he saw the little girl staring at him, her pretty mother bending over to whisper something in her ear.

He played defense for the Boston Bruins, and they called him "the Gold Sledgehammer." "Gold," because of the name Cartier, and "Sledgehammer" because of the obvious: He always won his fights. He'd been named an All-Star ten times, won the NHL MVP twice, led the league in scoring twice. He was a tough and stalwart defenseman, winning the Norris Trophy two years running as the league's best blue-liner.

He wasn't mean, but if he drew aggression, he packed heat in his stick and fists. Fearless to his bones, he attacked back fast. He was known for drawing the opposing team's leading scorer into the fray, blooding him, and getting him sent to the penalty box. Wherever Cartier played, fans came in droves.

"Um, excuse me..." a female voice said.

Martin looked up. An attractive passenger was standing over him. She wore an elegant black wool suit with black lace showing under her jacket, and she had perfect legs in sheer stockings. High heels. White-blond hair curved over her long-lashed green eyes, and her lipstick looked red and wet.

"You're Martin Cartier," she said.

"Oui," he said. "That is true." It was only April, and already she had a tan. She wore large diamond stud earrings; the heavy gold chain around her neck had smaller diamonds in every link. She was talking about last night's game, which she had watched in her Toronto hotel room. Martin pretended to listen politely, but instead he found his attention drawn back to the woman and daughter several rows behind him.

The tan blonde was saying how unfair it was they had lost in overtime. She had watched him fight. Her fingers brushed his shoulder as she said how much she loved the physicality of hockey. Smelling her perfume, Martin thought of his elbow flying into the eye of Jeff Green, swelling it shut. The woman talked on, but Martin hardly heard her. Women with expensive blond hair and April tans came up to him all the time. For some reason, the sound of her voice made him feel as if he had the Arctic inside him: vast, frigid, and barren.

As the woman scribbled her home phone on the back of her business card, she was saying she loved hockey, never missed a Bruins game when she was in town, loved watching Martin skate, score, and nail his enemies. Martin had trained himself to keep his face neutral when people paid him compliments, and aware of his teammates watching, he accepted her card and tucked it into his pocket.

Touching Martin's hand, the woman told him to call. Thanking her, Martin settled back into his seat. He folded his arms across his chest, feeling the bruised rib where he'd caught a puck last night. He thought of his father, wondered whether he had watched the game on TV. Whether he'd seen Martin miss that easy pass....

Feeling his scalp tingle, Martin turned around. The flight attendant was talking to Bruno Piochelle, leaning against his seat back, but Martin looked past her, through the crack in the curtain. The little girl was still watching him. Sitting in the window seat, she seemed to be ignoring her mother, who was leaning over her to point at something on the ground. When the mother glanced up and saw Martin staring at them, she scowled.

For some reason, that made Martin smile. The mother looked ticked off at the very sight of Martin Cartier. The fact he was a big famous hockey player obviously made no difference to her. She looked slight and frazzled, no makeup and messy brown hair pulled back in a ponytail; she had one arm around her daughter, and it was clear from her expression that she just plain didn't like him on sight. Martin smiled at her, and when she frowned harder, he felt himself start to grin. He couldn't help it.

Copyright 2001 by Luanne Rice

Meet the Author

Luanne Rice is the author of numerous novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Cloud Nine, Follow the Stars Home, Dream Country, and Summer Light, all available from Brilliance Audio. Originally from Connecticut, she now lives in New York City with her husband.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 25, 1955
Place of Birth:
New Britain, CT

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Summer Light 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I became interested in hockey when i got a pen friens who loves it. I love romance and i love romance about sport men too. I seached for hockey romances and came acroos this and it sounded interesting. I went out and bought it. This book was one of the best romaces i have ever read. It made me laugh, cry, get angry and for me not many books do that or movies for that mattere. So When it happens i am deeply touched. This book was written so beautifully i stayed up and rad it in one night. I am going to read it again too. This is the first book i have read by Luanne Rice and I have thank her for writing this. It was to me everything romance should be and being a big romantic I was delighted to read something so poignant. I felt as though I wanted to be part of the book. I was wishing it was a true story and that I could meet this Martin Cartier. I highly recommend everyone read it.
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Hey let him do this on his own *then turns to connor* ASK HER OUT ALREADY!!!!!! lawl :P
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another good book by Rice. Kept you in suspense till the very end.
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Angela_Breedlove More than 1 year ago
This book was orginally left behind at my job by a customer, so i decieded to read it. I couldn't put it down!!! When i bought my nook, even though i've already read it, i downloaded it anyway. And i do not regret that choice! I have recommened this book to so many people! Amazing read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Book
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tchrreader More than 1 year ago
This is a good book to read between heavy reading. It is light and fun. It is the story of a mother and a daughter. The daughter is able to see ghosts. The pair of them hook up with a hockey player and that is when their lives take some turns. It is a good book that is fun to read a good story. I like this author and would read other things written by her. I don't usually like "ghost stories" but this one was not so fakey and hoaxey (are those even words). Try it out.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book not knowing what to expect since I have never read one of Ms. Rice's book before. I found that I could not put this book down though it is not the fast past easy romance type of book I am use to reading, I found it to be deeply moving and heart warming. This is a story of great love, family and the human spirit.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was the most powerful book i've ever read. I was hoping throughout the book that Martin wouldn't go blind. When he lost the puck in Game 7 because he blacked out I just knew it was going to go down hill for him. When the world was starting to go dark in his summer house in Canada I started to cry. And then Niagra Falls came down when he went into the locker room for the next season to his enemy. I recommend you have kleenex near you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was the summer and my grandma gave me the book because I was just watching to much tv. At first I really didn't want to read it but as I read on and on I got more intrested. I read it constantly and could not put it down. Some of the parts were so cool with the whole hockey thing. But others made you say "awwwwww!!!" out loud. It was so cute and i really want it to turn into a movie one day!!!!