Title: The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
The brand-new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr that Kirkus calls “a blissful beach read.” The Summer That Made Us is an unforgettable story about a family learning to accept the past, to forgive and to love each other again.
That was then…
For the Hempsteads, summers were idyllic. 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…
After an accident turned the lake house into a site of tragedy and grief, it was closed up. None of the Hempstead women speak of what happened, 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.
Robyn Carr has crafted another beautifully woven story about the complexities of family dynamics and the value of strong female relationships.
The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr is a multi-layered novel about a once close-knit family that was torn apart by tragedy.
Once upon a time, sisters Louise and Josephine, along with their daughters, spent idyllic summers together at the family’s lake house. They each had three daughters and the cousins were just as close as their mothers. However, in the aftermath of a tragic accident, Lou and Jo become somewhat estranged and their daughters’ lives take very troubling turns. Fast forward to the present and Lou’s daughter Meg decides it is time for the family to reconcile and she invites everyone back to the lake house for the summer. There is never any doubt Meg’s sister Charley will agree to her sister’s plan but will cousins Hope, Krista and Beverly accept her invitation? And is it too late for Lou and Jo to repair their long strained relationship?
Alternating between the various characters’ perspectives, Robyn Carr’s newest release is not a light or happy read and quite frankly, it is a bit of a chore to even like many of the characters. Meg is the most sympathetic, and while she sets the reunion into motion, she remains firmly in the background as the story unfolds. Her sister Charley is probably the least likable as she alienates her long-term partner, Michael, after she loses her job. On the other end of the spectrum is their cousin Krista whose life took a dramatically wrong turn but she is incredibly appealing as she faces each challenge with a positive and cheery attitude. Krista’s sister Hope makes a couple of very memorable guest appearances that will leave readers shaking their head in disbelief. Their other sister Beverly remains on the periphery of the unfolding drama. Jo is an utterly fantastic character and she never hesitates to do whatever is necessary to help her daughters. Her sister Lou is nowhere near as personable and well, it is not easy to feel much sympathy for her even though she has endured some very painful losses.
Despite a somewhat slow start, The Summer That Made Us is an engaging novel with an interesting (but sometimes overly busy) storyline. While not a particularly joyful read, it is easy to become swept up into the various characters’ story arcs. Robyn Carr brings the novel to a bittersweet yet uplifting conclusion.