Wednesday, July 14, 2010

SUMMER HOUSE by Nancy Thayer

Publisher: Ballantine Books
Date published: June 2010
ISBN: 978-0345498212
Woman's Fiction
Trade Paperback
Reviewed by Angie
Obtained via Publisher

Anne "Nona" Wheelwright's family are coming home to their island home on Nantucket for a celebration of her 90th birthday. Her granddaughter Charlotte lives with her full time maintaining a garden and garden stand, the others are spread around the country but come together to show their love and respect to Nona, the matriarch of their family. As they come home, they bring their emotional baggage of being part of a family with money, and the chaos of having many sharing the home.

Nona is a woman who has brought her children up to respect her and the bonds of marriage and love. While the family argues over useless details, they show their closeness and respect for each other. As truths are revealed, the family falls apart, yet gets put back together as an even stronger entity.

Nancy Thayer is a talented author who takes the problems of a family - infidelity, illegitimate children and alcoholism and portrays them in ways that will make readers want to love this mixed up bunch of characters. The entire family is lovable; their problems are forgivable yet unforgivable. As Charlotte's mother discovers, sometimes an affair can bring a marriage closer. It is not something anyone ever wants to find out about their spouse, but by bringing the truth out, she forces her husband to choose - his family or his mistress, and to accept the granddaughter he is not sure is his legitimate heir.

This novel brought to mind that money truly does not buy happiness. The family are intertwined in their life as banking heirs and those who feel compelled to stay in their family business are shocked and horrified by those who have the strength to rebel and find their own path in life. As the family struggles to grow, Ms. Thayer will leave readers emotionally wrought yet needing the happily ever after that will make everything okay. The Wheelwrights are a gracious family who will leave readers happily turning the pages.

As a reader, I am not a fan of historicals, however Ms. Thayer gave me glimpses into the lives of Nona and her late husband Herb during the war in the 1930's and I was delighted to find out what led to the secrets kept in the Wheelwright family. This novel left me reeling with emotion and feeling like as though I had a glimpse into a world I never wanted to enter. A great read that should not be missed by lovers of women’s fiction.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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