June, 1998: At twenty seven, Catherine Coombs, also known as Cat, is struggling. She lives in London, works as a journalist, and parties hard. Her lunchtimes consist of several glasses of wine at the bar downstairs in the office, her evenings much the same, swigging the free booze and eating the free food at a different launch or party every night. When she discovers the identity of the father she never knew she had, it sends her into a spiral. She makes mistakes that cost her the budding friendship of the only women who have ever welcomed her. And nothing is ever the same after that.
June, 2014: Cat has finally come to the end of herself. She no longer drinks. She wants to make amends to those she has hurt. Her quest takes her to Nantucket, to the gorgeous summer community where the women she once called family still live. Despite her sins, will they welcome her again? What Cat doesn’t realize is that these women, her real father’s daughters, have secrets of their own. As the past collides with the present, Cat must confront the darkest things in her own life and uncover the depths of someone’s need for revenge.
Kathryn- 4 Star
Summer Secrets is a very simple title for the depth of what was inside this novel. The last Jane Green novel I read was Promises To Keep and it was powerful and insightful and though heartfelt, it was also heartbreaking. Summer Secrets also has a fair amount of sadness but there was also an air of positivity about it which was lovely to read. Although the subjects in these two novels are incomparable, Jane Green has shown insight into family dynamics with sweet delivery in both books.
Cat is a conflicted character through much of the novel but we are given a thoroughly honest portrayal of her admitted problems and short-comings which made her relatable, even if you’re not in the same position of addiction that she is. I warmed to her immediately and was also enchanted by her mother. I loved that we were given her mother’s story from her own perspective but that it morphed into Cat’s story by the end. The fluidity of the mother child relationship, their histories blending together was beautiful.
It’s almost as if the two lives were continued in each other. I’m not really sure how to explain it but I couldn’t separate Cat’s current situation from her mother’s past life. The parallels were there and yet their realities were opposing. Cat’s addiction obviously had to do, in some part, with her biological father and Cat’s mother lost much of herself by the choice to marry the man she did. Both women spent a portion of their lives not living the lives they could have done.
I loved the thread between all the women in Summer Secrets. The burgeoning deep connection of Cat and her daughter was also sweet and I read the novel with hope, despite the trials each person faced.
Thank you to St Martin's Press for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
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