Summer House by Nancy Thayer is a novel brimming with family drama. About a month ago I had featured this novel for my cover attraction and it had sounded like something that I would like to read so when I had a chance to participate in the Pump Up Your Book Promotions Tour, I jumped on it and I’m certainly not sorry I did. I quite enjoyed the book. It started out slowly for me but all of a sudden I found I had been dragged into this family and was hurriedly turning the pages to see what would happen next.
I found this book full of interesting characters and plenty of secrets. It takes place in Nantucket and I’m really beginning to enjoy books that take place there. It sounds like the most beautiful, serene place to be what with the beaches and easy living. The book is told to us by Nona who is the matriarch of the family at ninety years old, Helen; her daughter-in-law and Charlotte; Helen’s daughter and Nona’s granddaughter. Charlotte, after struggling to be what her father wants by working in the bank comes back to Nantucket and opens a garden stand on Nona’s land. Everybody in the family was ok with it until Charlotte started making a profit and then the trouble started. A Family Meeting had to be called.
The families always came out to the summer house for the summers and this year would be no exception. For me the story is mainly about Nona’s son Worth and his family which in part is Helen and Charlotte along with two boys, Oliver and Teddy. Teddy is the black sheep of the family with several issues that have caused more than enough trouble in the family. He’s come back to Nantucket and brought along with him a few surprises. There is much drama between him and his whole family but most especially his father. Teddy can never manage to live up to his father’s expectations. Turns out nobody really can. Worth is a hard man to please but he seems to has some trouble of his own brewing.
Things really come to a head when family secrets long buried are brought to the surface. They threaten to tear apart the family or bring it together. It just depends on which direction Worth wants to take. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite character in this novel as I liked a few. Nona I adored. At ninety she was spending a lot of time dozing and thinking back to her past and what had happened and what effects it had even on the present time. Helen was another person I really liked. She went from a wife who really followed her husband to a woman who stood on her own and let people know what she wanted. Charlotte was great. She was trying to find herself again after doing something she found unforgivable to herself. I adored the sound of her garden and thought what a wonderful way to spend the rest of your days – in Nantucket running a garden stand.
There were lots of descriptions and things I would love to share but there would be too many. Here is one of my favorites…
- ‘All around them, beach plums and rose hips glistened among the heath and low bushes, and a hawk wheeled high overhead in the flawless blue sky. Charlotte felt as if she were suddenly possessed of a rare, clear, pure happiness — it was a delicate gift, almost liquid, contained within her heart like elixir in a sacred vessel. She wanted to be motionless; she wanted to simply exist, feeling this way. Cleansed. And new.’ (pg 333)
Summer House is a good summer read especially as it takes place near the beach and really reminds you of the goodness of summer. It’s a slow building, steady and comfortable read if that makes sense and I really enjoyed that. I’ve not read anything by Nancy Thayer before but I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another of her novels. I think too this could make a really good pick for a book club as there are so many different issues that go on in this novel that would make great discussion topics.
Make sure to visit Nancy Thayer’s website here. You can pick this book up here in the US and here in Canada. Many thanks to Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book Promotion for the opportunity to participate in this tour.