Summer Book Review

Cone flowers in the garden
Cone flowers in the garden

Hard to believe that some of us are thinking about fall- our Dallas family is already back to school and some of the leaves are starting to turn. Oh my, where did the summer go?

We had a very busy summer at the inn with happy guests coming and going. We were a little short handed staff wise so Byron and I found our selves working a little harder this year. We actually made a game of how many steps we did on our apple phones. (Byron won most days)

I love to read in bed before I fall asleep and usually find it’s an easy goal to read anywheres from 3-6 books per month. Had to laugh at myself in June as I did not even finish one:(

I was pleased to see my stack of completed books rising on my dresser and decided it was time to do my Summer Book Review before fall officially arrives.

I still am thinking about my March Book Review when I talked about “Where the Crawdads Sing” by by Elia Owens- I think this is one of the best books I have read in a really long time. Check out my review here. My reads this summer were good and I enjoyed them all in different ways- one was a non-think summer read, one had some historical facts intertwined with a good story, another was a chronicle of a Lobster Fisherwoman and the last two were well written novels by authors I had enjoyed reading in the past.

The Summer List by Amy Mason Doan

The Summer List by Amy Mason Doan

A perfect summer reading book with endearing characters.  I especially loved the first part as I have many childhood memories of coming to the Cape with my best friend, Cherrie. It’s always fun when an author can describe characters’s experiences so well that you almost feel like you are there. I remember with such vivid details the summers I spent on Cape Cod- enjoying all the activities around water, never running out of things to talk about with my best friend and not worrying about any life details- except maybe what we were going to do the next day. The Summer List is about two main characters, Laura and Casey, who were inseparable since the day they meet as young girls. I loved all of their imperfections and the details about their idyllic summer days of swimming and kayaking. They lived in a small town where Laura had been bullied in school prior to Casey moving to town. Laura is adopted and her mother is an older, religious woman. Casey’s mother, Alex, is an artist and free spirit and Laura is drawn to her. The story comes to an abrupt halt when their friendship is torn apart. Of course there is boy with lots of drama and unanswered questions. Fast forward seventeen years later when they each get a note to get together for a weekend in their hometown. Once there, they find that there’s one last scavenger hunt- Can the two adults stick together, get through the weekend, and maybe make a new friendship out of the ashes of the past?

I loved the story but found the writing style to be jumpy. The story was spellbinding and heart breaking and the characters were gloriously imperfect and special. I just did not like the choppy writing style of going back and forth in the timeline.

Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton

 

Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton

Always enjoy reading novels that have some historical information intertwined in the storyline. Black Berry and Wild Rose and one of the main characters, Ester, is loosely inspired by Anna Maria Garthwaite, a historical designer of Spitalfields silks during the mid-eighteenth century. She is credited with bringing the artistry of painting to the loom and many of her patterns and silks have survived and can be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The eighteenth century Spitalfields silk weavers were a militant bunch and formed our early trade unions. The story centers around the industrial tensions between the journeyman weavers and the master weavers and is set in the second part of the 18th century in Spitalfields, London when Sara Kemp, a young girl from the country, arrives in London where she is coerced into the clutches of a brothel keeper.

Esther is married to Elias Thorel, a fine master silk weaver. She is a painter herself and once imagined that their union of their talents would be fruitful. But as soon as she shows her husband flowers she painted in a repeating pattern, hoping he could use it as a design for his weaving, he rejects her ideas and talent. Wanting to do some charity work and to help others, Esther hires Sara as a maidservant. The voices of these two women alternate, weaving a vivid story, which is engaging from the very first page to the last one. The language is sharp, revealing characters of two strong women. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it highly.

 

TThe Lobstter Chronicles by Linda Greenlaw

A dear friend gave me this book and I loved it. The author, Linda Greenlaw was a successful swordboat captain for 17 years when she decided she was ready for a simpler life. She returns to her childhood home- an island seven miles off the coast of Maine with a population of 70 year round residents. She decides to move back in with her parents and to become a professional lobsterman or lobsterwoman. We learn about living on a remote island and the hardships of making a living by catching lobster. A fun read- especially when you live on Cape Cod and hear about lobster fishing all the time.

The story line is humorous and very entertaining as the author also sets out to find a husband. Maybe the results of finding one and raising a family will be the topic of her next book.

 

The Italian Matchmaker by Santa Montefiore

The Italian Matchmaker by Santa Montefiore

I’ve read several of  Montefiore’s books, and I love every one, yet each is different in it’s own way. They are all easy reads with a fun love story intertwined. In this story the male hero is divorced from a wife he barely knew, due to long working hours while he amassed his fortune. He has  two young daughters that he barely knows despite shared custody. At loose ends, he decides to quit his job and go visit his parents in Puglia, a small seaside village where his mother and father have restored an old mansion that has a mysterious and tragic history. As he spends time in the small village he is  intrigued with a beautiful woman in black, who is in mourning for her young son who died tragically. And here is where the magic of this story begins where the author develops  a story that is so poignant and a beautiful read. The question becomes –  who do you think the Italian Matchmaker is?

The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley

The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley

The Butterfly Room was my favorite read of the summer and at first I thought the 600+ page novel would take me forever to read,  As soon as I finished the first chapter  I could not put it down and read it probably faster then any other of my summer reads. The story is a sweeping multi-generational saga of family secrets, devastating despair and second chances. Riley’s writing is rich and engrossing and her characters so convincing. I felt like I was actually visiting their family home and knew each family member personally.

The story is told in dual time lines as the mysteries and secrets of the past unfold and crash into the present day. Posy is almost 70 and her family estate is becoming too large and costly for her to handle. If she sells she can help her son Sam with his new property development company and downsize at the same time. But everything Sam has touched has failed. Youngest son Nick returns home after 10 years in Australia and the arrival of an old flame has Posy filled with indecision and confusion. The story is filled with romance but nothing goes smoothly as shocking secrets are revealed as the past explodes into the present.

Huge accolades to Riley for creating such wonderful characters and a engrossing read.
Highly recommend!

Front of the Captain Freeman Inn with a flag in the front

Come Stay with us

Grab a good book from our local Brewster Book Store, a beach chair and towel from the inn and relax on one of our pristine Cape Cod beaches. While we have been almost totally full this summer, some openings are available Labor Day weekend and mid week in September. It’s the perfect time to come as our waters are warm, the restaurants not crowded and the cool ocean breezes and sunsets will renew your soul.

Paine's Creek at Sunset
Paine’s Creek at Sunset

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