REVIEW: THE SUMMER PLACE, BY JENNIFER WEINER

When her twenty-two-year-old stepdaughter announces her engagement to her pandemic boyfriend, Sarah Danhauser is shocked. But the wheels are in motion. Headstrong Ruby has already set a date (just three months away!) and spoken to her beloved safta, Sarah’s mother Veronica, about having the wedding at the family’s beach house in Cape Cod. Sarah might be worried, but Veronica is thrilled to be bringing the family together one last time before putting the big house on the market.

But the road to a wedding day usually comes with a few bumps. Ruby has always known exactly what she wants, but as the wedding date approaches, she finds herself grappling with the wounds left by the mother who walked out when she was a baby. Veronica ends up facing unexpected news, thanks to her meddling sister, and must revisit the choices she made long ago, when she was a bestselling novelist with a different life. Sarah’s twin brother, Sam, is recovering from a terrible loss, and confronting big questions about who he is—questions he hopes to resolve during his stay on the Cape. Sarah’s husband, Eli, who’s been inexplicably distant during the pandemic, confronts the consequences of a long ago lapse from his typical good-guy behavior. And Sarah, frustrated by her husband, concerned about her stepdaughter, and worn out by challenges of life during quarantine, faces the alluring reappearance of someone from her past and a life that could have been.

When the wedding day arrives, lovers are revealed as their true selves, misunderstandings take on a life of their own, and secrets come to light. There are confrontations and revelations that will touch each member of the extended family, ensuring that nothing will ever be the same.

 

an interior journey thoughts

The Summer Place is the centerpiece of this captivating family story that carries the reader along as we get to know each of the characters. There are so many layers with them all, and we gradually come to love them, not wanting to say goodbye to any of them.

The Pandemic is also a big part of this story that goes beyond its Cape Cod setting, resonating with those of us who are still feeling the sweep of it.

I felt a connection to each of the characters, but my favorite was probably Sarah. She felt like someone I could enjoy as a friend or even a daughter.

I loved how the author brought us into the whole family with all of their quirks and issues, and how we could root for each of them, from Veronica the matriarch to the younger members of the family, like Sam’s stepson Connor.

When I finally set the book down, I wanted to start over with it again! Definitely a five-star read.

My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.

***

 

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