Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Summer Secrets by Jane Green

Star Rating : 3 out of 5

Content Rating : MODERATE
Back Cover :

 When a shocking family secret is revealed, twenty-something journalist Cat Coombs finds herself falling into a dark spiral. Wild, glamorous nights out in London and raging hangovers the next day become her norm, leading to a terrible mistake one night while visiting family in America, on the island of Nantucket. It's a mistake for which she can't forgive herself. When she returns home, she confronts the unavoidable reality of her life and knows it's time to grow up. But she doesn't know if she'll ever be able to earn the forgiveness of the people she hurt.
As the years pass, Cat grows into her forties, a struggling single mother, coping with a new-found sobriety and determined to finally make amends. Traveling back to her past, to the family she left behind on Nantucket all those years ago, she may be able to earn their forgiveness, but in doing so she may risk losing the very people she loves the most.

Told with Jane Green's keen eye for detailing the emotional landscape of the heart, Summer Secrets is at once a compelling drama and a beautifully rendered portrait of relationships, betrayals, and forgiveness; about accepting the things we cannot change, finding the courage to change the things we can, and being strong enough to weather the storms.” 

My Thoughts :

This is the first full book I have read in a while (because I’m working all the time) and I have to say it was super easy to read. I read it online at work in about 2 days. I found it on Pinterest on a list of easy quick summer reads. It’s an adult romance novel that follows Cat, a single mother who is a recovering alcoholic. Through flashbacks, we piece together her recovery journey, and how Cat and her family deal with the aftermath of a few bad decisions. I am not in love with this book, but it was entertaining enough to keep me reading until the end. I would recommend this to someone who needs a quick, easy beach read and doesn’t want to think about some of the inconsistencies too much. 

I gave it a content rating of MODERATE because of all the portrayals of drinking, like I’m going to drink till I blackout kind of drinking, and a few short sex scenes (nothing really explicit but still).

What I liked :
  • The Overall Story - I liked that the author focused on a woman who wants to be a loving mother and wife but whose alcoholism consumes her. We too often hear about the husband and his raging alcoholism; but, we rarely hear about a woman’s struggle. It was also nice to see how supportive people around her are in her recovery process.
  • The Characters - I honestly can’t say I really disliked any character in the story. I think the person I disliked most was probably Cat before she became sober. There are a few characters that are annoying to me in the flashbacks (when Cat is still consumed by alcohol) but looking back I think that may be because of Cat and how unreliable she was when she was drinking.
  • The Settings: I love London! And the east coast! I think it was very clever that the author could seamlessly transition back and forth between locations.  

What I didn’t like :

  • The Flashbacks - The flashbacks were confusing to me. There’s one flashback where it focuses entirely on Cat’s mother, which seemed odd to me. And after those chapters we never really go back to the mother’s story; that subplot simply is dropped. Which brings me to another thing…
  • The Subplots - I would’ve dived right into a book that had a mother/daughter parallel love story. If for instance, we learn through flashbacks how the mother met her husband while we follow the daughter through her present day struggles. I think this book would’ve been well suited for that structure. But like I said, the author dropped that sub plot. Cat also apparently is struggling with God and believing in Him, but only at certain points throughout the book. That subplot is also dropped and picked up very sporadically.
  • The Character Development – So, I’m basically only talking about the change in one character in particular.  He is portrayed as a completely different person after a certain time. And yes, I know people and characters change, but this development just seemed so abrupt that I didn’t quite believe it.
  • The Overall Writing Style - I don’t know what it is about the writing in particular; but, I did not care for it. It wasn’t awful, just not my preferred style.  

What others are saying:

“A gripping and powerful novel about finding the courage to make the life you want. This is Jane Green at her absolute best.” ―Emily Giffin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The One and Only on Summer Secrets

“Warm, witty, sharp and insightful. Jane Green writes with such honesty and zing.” ―Sophie Kinsella, New York Times bestselling author of Shopaholic to the Stars on Summer Secrets

“Summer Secrets is the perfect summer read. Once you dive into this story about a recovering alcoholic who must finally face her own dark past and make amends, you'll be hooked.” ―Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale on Summer Secrets


Reviewed by Lydia Jones

Pick up your copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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