"Nothing ever changes at Wauregan.” That mystique is the tradition of the idyllic island colony off the shore of Long Island, the comforting tradition that its summer dwellers have lived by for over half a century. But in the summer of 1948, after a world war has claimed countless men—even those who came home—the time has come to deal with history’s indelible scars.
Helen Wadsworth’s husband, Arthur, was declared missing in action during an OSS operation in France, but the official explanation was mysteriously nebulous. Now raising a teenage son who longs to know the truth about his father, Helen turns to Frank Hartman—her husband’s best friend and his partner on the mission when he disappeared. Frank, however, seems more intent on filling the void in Helen’s life that Arthur’s absence has left. As Helen’s affection for Frank grows, so does her guilt, especially when Peter Gavin, a handsome Marine who was brutally tortured by the Japanese and has returned with a faithful war dog, unexpectedly stirs new desires. With her heart pulled in multiple directions, Helen doesn’t know whom to trust—especially when a shocking discovery forever alters her perception of both love and war.
Helen is a strong character and I struggled and became anxious right along with her as the story progressed. Set right after WWII, the men are coming home and trying to get used to civilian living again. They can't share the horrors of war with their wives because it just wasn't something to discuss. They just wanted to fit back into their lives and appear normal. The wives tried to empathize with their husbands and understand, but not knowing the realities of what they endured makes it very challenging.
For Helen, her husband hasn't come home. He's not dead, he's missing in action. I can't imagine trying to come to terms with that. A Certain Summer is set in a small town. Growing up in one myself, I know how much privacy you really have. Really none at all, someone always knows your business. And in the town of Wauregan, it's not much different.
Helen's husband's best friend, Frank, wants to fill the void that Helen's husband, Arthur, left. While she can appreciate some of the stories of her husband that Frank shares with her teenage son, she also begins to have feelings for him, even though she also is filled with guilt. That's not to mention the handsome Marine, Peter, who also vies for her affection.
Love story, yes, but also an emotionally filled journey that is filled with intricate details that held this reader riveted. The characters are compelling and memorable and if you read just one book this summer, read A Certain Summer. A captivating tale that I highly recommend!
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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