The Summer That Made Us
September 5, 2017
Mothers and daughters, sisters and cousins, they lived for summers at the lake house until a tragic accident changed everything. The Summer That Made Us is an unforgettable story about a family learning to accept the past, to forgive and to love each other again.
That was then…
For the Hempsteads, summers were idyllic. Two sisters who married two brothers and had three daughters each, the women would escape the city the moment school was out to gather at the family house on Lake Waseka. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree. All of their problems drifted away as the days passed in sun-dappled contentment. Until the summer that changed everything.
This is now…
After an accidental drowning turned the lake house into a site of tragedy and grief, it was closed up. For good. Torn apart, none of the Hempstead women speak of what happened that summer, and relationships between them are uneasy at best, hurtful at worst. But in the face of new challenges, one woman is determined to draw her family together again, and the only way that can happen is to return to the lake and face the truth.
Robyn Carr has crafted a beautifully woven story about the complexities of family dynamics and the value of strong female relationships.
I try to determine my review choices based on the author’s Goodreads and my own knowledge of them, as well as the back cover copy. Does it sound like something that I’ll be interested in or something I would pick up on my own? If not, I generally don’t accept it because I’m not often surprised.
When I received a request to review Robyn Carr’s upcoming release, I considered these things, but then reminded myself that one of my favorite movies/books is a generational drama that explores female friendships and sisterhood, so I should read this one.
I’m so glad I did, because this emotional roller coaster of a novel hooked me from the first chapter. It’s an intense, layered story that gives us glimpses of the past through the lenses of regret, longing and even grief. While I knew certain things were coming, I was never prepared for the level of emotional attachment I would have to the characters and their lives.
Carr has this way of sewing threads into your heart and mind and gently tugging on them once in awhile, until you’re just a sobbing mess of goop left out on the sidewalk too long. The Summer That Made Us wasn’t so much a romantic love story (though there certainly were moments) as it was a family drama, full of hope and despair, grief and joy, and of course some bourbon. There’s always bourbon. It’s how we function in familial dysfunction.
If you’re a fan of needing tissues while you read, or wanting a strong cup of something to go with your book, then this will be right up your alley. On sale in September 2017 from Mira, at the retailers pictured above.
Robyn Carr was a young mother of two in the mid-1970s when she started writing fiction, an Air Force wife, educated as a nurse, whose husband’s frequent assignment changes made it difficult for her to work in her profession. Little did the aspiring novelist know then, as she wrote with babies on her lap, that she would become one of the world’s most popular authors of romance and women’s fiction, that 11 of her novels would earn the #1 berth on the New York Times bestselling books list.
Robyn and her now-retired husband enjoy traveling, often taking research trips together. Their children are grown—her son is an Army surgeon; her daughter, a police detective/hostage negotiator. Robyn says that, in addition to reading her novels and making snide remarks about how she’s used family scenarios to her advantage, they have made her a happy grandmother.