Reading Roundup: “One Perfect Summer”

Recently I finished reading “One Perfect Summer” by Brenda Novak.  She is an American author that has written over 50 books which she received numerous awards for including three RITA award nominations.  Some of her most widely known series include the “Whiskey Creek” series. 

“One Perfect Summer” follows Novak’s traditional genre of writing, contemporary or women’s fiction.  I affectionally dub this genre “Chick Lit”.  I have read books by Brenda Novak before, however, it had been a while.  “One Perfect Summer” was a good book to reintroduce me to Novak and her style of writing.  Her style of writing varied in sentence length, structure, and word choice.  While some sentences were short and easily flowed, others were longer which provided a fluid reading experience.

“One Perfect Summer” takes place in Lake Tahoe, although the characters of the story are from a variety of locations.  Novak described the setting in enough detail that allowed me to picture the scenes and locations, however, did not bore me with minute details.  Having never been to the west, this book piqued my interest into wanting to visit the Tahoe area.

The overall theme of the story is the importance of family and finding yourself despite the challenges you are facing.  Each of the characters showed tremendous growth in the face of their adversities, and together work to solve a mystery surrounding each of their lives. 

Three women, who each took a DNA test, have found that they are sisters.  After talking to each other for quite some time, they decide to meet at the lake house of Serenity’s family.  Serenity, Reagen, and Lorelei have no clue how they could be related, let alone sisters and want to use this time to fill in the missing link.  Each sister has their own set of challenges that they are dealing with.  What was supposed to be a week together turns into one summer of family, discovery and personal growth.

Serenity is the character that I thought exhibited the least amount of growth.  I feel the majority of her growth happened in the backstory of her character, which I would have loved to have read.  However, her character does show challenges and growth.

Reagen was my favorite character of the three sisters.  Her whole life is an upheaval over a mistake that she made while in New York.  She had to overcome the failure she felt in herself, and completely change her life.  To me, she had the most growth.

Lorelei was the character that I liked least. With unresolved feelings about her past, and the least information about her history, I felt like she was the hardest to like.  The emotional turmoil that she is facing, coupled with the pain of her past, made it seem like she was the kind of person who must have “someone” in her life.  I felt like of the three sisters she was the one who should have not tried to entertain the idea of any type of love interest.

This particular book was a longer read for me.  It required more effort for me as it switched viewpoints among the three main characters in the story.   I had to constantly redirect my mind to understand the dynamics of each character’s situation. 

The last fifteen percent of the was packed full of information.  Sometimes it felt as if there might have been too much thrown at me.  There were also times in the story that I thought the storyline was going to go in a direction that would have been more suspenseful or provided a more climactic approach, and it didn’t.  

While the ending provided me with the answers to many of the questions that arose during the reading, I feel like I didn’t get enough of the questions answered.  I have unresolved questions that still linger which leads me to wonder if there will be a sequel to the story.

There are a few sensitive aspects that I feel need mentioned that could trigger a reader.  There are elements in the story that revolved around foster care, adoption, rape, affairs, unplanned pregnancies, and abortion is also mentioned.  None of these elements were describe in specific details, however, are vaguely mentioned. 

The overall rating that I would give this book is a 3.5 out of 5.  The storyline was suspenseful enough that it kept me reading, however, I think the storyline could have gone into other directions that would have increased my interest. 

“One Perfect Summer” has an April 7, 2020 publication date from MIRA Publishing.  It can be purchased from amazon in Kindle format for $9.99, paperback for $16.99 and hardcover for $27.99.

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