June, 1998: At twenty seven, Catherine Coombs, also known as Cat, is struggling. She lives in London, works as a journalist, and parties hard. Her lunchtimes consist of several glasses of wine at the bar downstairs in the office, her evenings much the same, swigging the free booze and eating the free food at a different launch or party every night. When she discovers the identity of the father she never knew she had, it sends her into a spiral. She makes mistakes that cost her the budding friendship of the only women who have ever welcomed her. And nothing is ever the same after that.
June, 2014: Cat has finally come to the end of herself. She no longer drinks. She wants to make amends to those she has hurt. Her quest takes her to Nantucket, to the gorgeous summer community where the women she once called family still live. Despite her sins, will they welcome her again? What Cat doesn’t realize is that these women, her real father’s daughters, have secrets of their own. As the past collides with the present, Cat must confront the darkest things in her own life and uncover the depths of someone’s need for revenge.
I have long been a fan of Jane Green's novels. She's one of those authors that when I see her name on a book, I instantly want to read it. Thus my immediate response to discovering Summer Secrets was "I've got to read that"! I generally don't know how drawn I would be to a novel about someone who is trying to overcome a drinking problem, as sometimes they can be hard to read and even harder to feel empathetic towards. I knew though that if anyone could pull me in on such a dark topic it would be Ms.Green. My instincts were dead on!
Summer Secrets instantly had me riveted with writing that's not only emotional and insightful, but also very thought-provoking. I never once thought " wow this chick just needs to get her crap together and stop making excuses". No. Cat actually didn't make excuses. At least not after she admitted to herself she had a problem. She misjudged, mistook, and lied, especially to herself but she never once blamed it on anyone but her. I found that very refreshing. To my surprise I felt great sympathy for Cat as she described her past and current struggles.
The whole book was not dreary and depressing though as one may think. It actually had quite a few bright spots. One being a fun best pal and of course the beautiful descriptions of Nantucket. The atmosphere of Nantucket truly flowed straight off the pages for me. Giving me a wistful longing to pack up and vacation there in a quaint classic home, tan on the peaceful beaches, and sample the local eateries. Summer Secrets seems to be written in much the same tone as Tempting Fate, also by Ms. Jane Green, and I think those who enjoyed it as much as I did would also like this novel as well.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. April