Length: 251 pages
What they say:
It’s been a long seventeen years since Jess last saw her grandmother or visited the family cottage set on an idyllic lake in Northern Michigan. For all that time, she’s been haunted by loss—of her innocence and her ability to trust and, most of all, of a profound summer romance that might have been something more. So when her grandmother leaves the house to her, Jess summons her courage and returns to a place full of memories—and secrets.
There, she stumbles upon old letters and photographs of a time not so much forgotten as buried. As she begins to unravel the hidden histories of her mother and her grandmother, she makes a startling discovery about a tragic death that prompted her family’s slow undoing. With every uneven and painful step into the past, Jess comes closer to a truth that could alter her own path—and open a door to a different future.
The Review: I’m ashamed to say that I kept bypassing this book on my Kindle. I think from the cover I thought that this would be a heavier read than it actually was, plus I’m not fully au fait with historical fiction, and so I took a step back. Once I actually got down to it, I read it in three nights (I could probably have read in one or two sittings had it not been a hectic few days), spending each day looking forward to when the night time came so I could pick up on where the story left off.
‘There must be a precise moment when wet cement turns dry, when it no longer accepts footprints or scratched-in declarations of love, an ordinary moment, unnoticed, just like any. But in that moment, the facts of life can change.’
This is how the story begins. We jump between two stories, that of Jess, who has arrived at her now deceased gran’s cottage, in a magnificent setting, overlooking the lake at Michegan, and her Gran. We were shown tragedies through Jess and Mamie’s eyes, with the stories overlapping and yet not, such was the way we were let in on secrets and heartbreaking revelations as the story went further back through the ages to secrets that impacted on Jess and her family. I loved that the Gran’s story was told from when she was older, and so we were looking back, as far or as near as we needed.
Jess recounted her idea of what happened years ago, a story of a Summer that would never be forgotten, either by Jess or her Gran, a Summer full of love and drama. I loved the innocence that we could find in places, that peaceful, lying about, lazy carry on. The descriptions in this book were so beautiful and vivid and I could picture every family setting, every romantic scene, and then every trauma and heartbreaking event that happened. And there were many of those.
This book was like a lesson in how to do dramatic twists, with surprises, shocks and gasp out loud moments as you uncovered the reasons true love was never allowed to fluorish. The secrets and lies broke your heart and made you want to read on, the romance took your breath away, the story never disappointed. The ending was excellent, and surprisingly for me I think I’d read it again(as a teen or a child I re-read books over and over again, not so far as an adult). Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for the book in return for an honest review.