Reading Roundup: “The Start of Summer”

Being a mom is hard. One of the hardest things imaginable. Which is why it is so important to have a group of women who understand your struggles. When Elise, a lonely mother sees a group of women in the park, she approaches them. The women all met while in antenatal class, and share the common bond of motherhood. When they allow Elise to enter their circle, she must come to terms with her own identity.
In this group, we also meet Jane, who at first appearances has it all together. The wife of a prominent attorney, we find that her life isn’t as perfect as it seems. As the book learns more about her life, their friendship becomes strained as they try to figure out how to help her.
The next mother in the group is Gracie, a single-ish mom who must balance between the pressures of her job and the demands of motherhood. She does not like that Elise has joined the group. In fact, she finds everything about Elise to be annoying.
The last mother is Lina, a struggling single-by-choice mother. Having been raised by only her mother growing up, she doesn’t think she needs a man to help her. She is struggling to find her place in the comedic showbiz world.

First of all, I have to say that I do not feel the cover of the story matches the storyline. The beach is only referenced in two sections of the story. I must admit, the cover is part of what drew me to the story, so I was mildly disappointed to see that it didn’t take place there. I think a more accurate book cover would be one that shows a group of women in a park, as this was the main setting of the story.

As for the actual story, it took me a little bit to get sucked into the storyline. Part of that was the narrative in which it was written. Each woman has their own chapter, but Elise is the only one whose story is told in the first-person point of view. The other women’s stories are told in third-person. Once I was able to switch my thinking between characters, I felt more drawn to the story.

The situations and dynamics of the story were relatable. There were parts of each character’s story that I felt drawn to, and that I could connect with. Overall, the story was enjoyable. It was the first story that I had read by Alison Walsh, but I will be reading more.

I received an advanced digital copy of this book from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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