On the coast of Alabama, there is a house cloaked in mystery, a place that reveals the truth and changes lives… Ellie is in a dying marriage. She knows this. After her controlling mother, Lillian, passes away, Ellie’s world is turned upside down when she discovers that her ex-boyfriend, Hutch, is in charge of a documentary that involved Lillian before her death. When Hutch shows up at her mother’s funeral, Ellie’s closed heart opens to the past. Fighting their feelings, Ellie and Hutch set out together to dig into Lillian’s history. Using both a diary Ellie finds and a trip to the Summer House, a mysterious and seductive bayside home, Hutch and Ellie gamble that they can work together and not fall in love again. But in piecing together Lillian’s unrequited-love story, they just might uncover the secrets in their own hearts.
This book is not something I’d typically pick up and read on my own, but I did enjoy it just the same. Although there was nothing very thrilling or spine tingling within the pages of this book, it did hold a subtle charm and intrigue. When Ellie discovers her mother’s journal after she passes, she discovers that she never really knew her mother at all. There were things in her past she never discussed or revealed to Ellie, and her experience with heartbreak shapes her into a woman more concerned with appropriateness than love.
Of course unbeknown to her, Ellie’s life is ultimately affected by this, and her mother’s protectiveness leads her to choose a life of safety instead of true love. While trying to discover who her mother really was, Ellie connects with her old boyfriend Hutch, and her one true love, and spends time in the place her mother lost her heart. Ellie was an interesting character to me. She was quietly brave and more than a little curious. I can appreciate that she was driven to discover the part of her mother that was never revealed to her. I think in discovering that part of her mother, it would help her hold onto the parts of her that were slowly being suffocated and snuffed out in her marriage. I also think that she was brave and open. Although she was older, she was willing to take chances and find information even if it proved to hurt her in the end.
I also really enjoyed Hutch. He’s very kind and observant. He’s funny and strong in that consistent sort of way. He’s always there, can always anticipate Ellie’s thoughts and feelings, and forgave her even after she let her mother fill her with doubts about him. The book bounces from past to present in an effort to explain how things came to be the way they were. The transitions were done very nicely and Henry moved from past to present seamlessly. I never found myself lost or confused in the story.
The mystery surrounding her mother’s two lost summers was intriguing. Although people were willing to talk of events, many were unwilling to give names. Thus making it impossible for Ellie to find the man her mother loved and deliver her final letter to him. But as I predicted, the man her mother gave up her heart to happened to be closer to Ellie than she realized which made for an interesting conclusion.
Overall this was a lovely book with an interesting cast of characters. Although not something I’d generally pick to read, it was still enjoyable. A great read for a lazy summer day. Look out for this book when it drops in August.
“No, I loved her. Listen, waiting is hard. I know that. The waiting time is the time when anxiety destroys anything you believe. Waiting is the time when you lose faith, when you give in to fear and feel like you have to do something, anything, to fix the pain.” . . .
Filed in: Chick Lit, Fiction, New Releases, Reviews, Romance Tags: Books, Chick Lit, Fiction, Patti Callahan Henry, Review, Romance