The Summer of the Bear

The Summer of the Bear

by Bella Pollen


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The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen

Best-selling author Bella Pollen’s imaginative new novel received stellar reviews in hardcover and was chosen as a Richard & Judy Book Club title.

In 1980 Germany, Cold War tensions are once again escalating and a mole is suspected in the British Embassy. So when the clever diplomat Nicky Fleming dies suddenly and suspiciously, it’s convenient to brand him the traitor. But was his death an accident, murder, or suicide? As the government investigates Nicky's death, his wife relocates with their three children to a remote Scottish island hoping to save what remains of their family. But the isolated shores of her childhood retreat only intensify their distance between them, and it is the brilliant and peculiar youngest child, Jamie, who alone holds on to the one thing he’s sure of: his father has promised to return and he was a man who never broke a promise.

When Jamie sets off to explore the island with his teenage sisters, they discover a tamed grizzly bear has been marooned on shore, hiding somewhere among the seaside caves. Jamie believes the bear may have a strange connection to his father, and as he seeks the truth, Nicky's story begins revealing itself in unexpected ways.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802145888
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 06/12/2012
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 843,390
Product dimensions: 5.58(w) x 8.04(h) x 1.24(d)

About the Author

Bella Pollen is a writer and journalist who has contributed to a wide variety of publications including Vogue, The Observer, and The Sunday Telegraph. She is the author of four other novels including Midnight Cactus and Hunting Unicorns, which was a “Best Summer Read” on The Richard & Judy show.

Visit Bella's website at

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The Summer of the Bear: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
Summer of the Bear begins with the death of Nicky Flemming. Working in the British Embassy in Germany, his accidental fall from the top of the embassy seems anything but accidental. The government agents assigned to investigate suspect suicide, saying that Nicky could have been a mole who was about to be caught. Stunned and prfoundly confused his wife, Letty, flees with their 3 children to her childhood summer home on an island in Scotland. There Letty falls into a numb cycle of trying to pretend she is ok while her mind runs constantly over the past looking for clues to Nicky's secret life. Meanwhile her children struggle too, Georgie with an overwhelming sense of guilt, Alba with pure and furious anger, and brilliant but simple Jamie with confusion. If his dad is lost it means he'll return one day, but why is it taking so long? In the end a crisis on the island along with an escaped bear brings everything to a head, revealing the children's struggles and answering the questions surrounding Nicky's death in a wholly unexpected way. More than anything I found Summer of the Bear to be a meditation on grief, the many differnt ways that people exerience it and how we can eventually come to live with it. Letty's sense of having been betrayed, Jamie's total denial that his dad is gone, Alba's unmitigated fury at everything, and Georgie's quiet guilt all show us the full range of emotions at the loose of a loved one. Set against the lonely and isolated backdrop of the island you can fully feel the hole Nicky has left in the life of his family. The mystery of his death adds some spark and helps keep the story moving forward and the fantasy of the bear helps it move to a conclusion. The story stalls a bit in the middle but picks up at the again with a great ending.
clanbryce More than 1 year ago
I am embarrassed by how long this novel sat in my Nook queue before I read it. Once I started it , I could not put it down. The story grabs you in the prologue. If you're looking for wild sex scenes and thrills-a-minute, keep searching. The raw emotions in this story will stay with you long after you have finished the book.
QueenMummy More than 1 year ago
The Summer of the Bear was amazingly intricate, deeply spiritual for me. Bella Pollan chose to describe an original cast of characters with such quirks that they could only be real. A family wholly dedicated to their dear father whose tragic death is the motivation for all that they do this one sad summer. A precious little boy's dogged devotion to his "Dada" and confusion over his loss is almost too painful. And then there are the two sisters, also struggling, each at turning points in their own lives, without the help of their deeply confused and grieving mother. This a masterpiece of interwoven stories that culminates with the beauty of simple trust and absolute beleif. I will remember this book for a long time!
Ragingsenior More than 1 year ago
I loved the story since you never really know what is next. The vocabulary is interesting also. It is a good read being laid up. I am healing with a fracture so much remain off my leg, etc. I read it on my Nook. The characters are interesting and believable. Set on the Scottish island it also gives on a sense of place. My only regret was that it wasn't longer since I grew attached to the characters. I love long books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Summer of the Bear had me in its grip and didn't let go. A combination of family love, loss, and a thrilling espionage. The mystic bear became quite a metaphor for our longing and wishes. Intricately woven together in a world difficult to put down. I read it in one day. Bravo! That's a tale well told.
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