Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer House

Summer House: A Novel
Nancy Thayer
Ballantine Books

The novel Summer House follows three generations of strong willed Wheelwright women as they wrestle with decisions that will change their lives. The story starts off with the youngest of the three generations. Charlotte Wheelwright has always wanted to impress her father and make him proud, but so far she feels she has failed. Charlotte did not enjoy the family business of banking, and has spent much of her adult life afloat, hopping from one place to the next. Ashamed and punishing herself for her most recent mistake, Charlotte takes of to Nantucket Island and the family summer home in search of answers. What she finds is a passion for gardening and a love she never expected. Helen Wheelwright is the mother of Charlotte and a Wheelwright by marriage. Helen has spent her married life doing things the Wheelwright way and putting aside some of the things she loves, for her husbands family. When Helen discovers a deep betrayal she is heavy hearted and forced to face her deepest fears. She is confronted with her sense of self and what she wants out of life, a decision that could drastically change her life as she knows it. Nona, Anne Wheelwright, celebrates her ninetieth birthday and is confronted with memories of her past along with the state of her family in the present. As she wrestles with these memories, she will be forced to reveal a shocking family secret that will change everyone’s outlook on life and family. The novel confronts the subjects of family, friendships, love, betrayal and secrets. The characters each holding true to themselves, make life changing decisions for better or worst, each finding that the path taken may twist and turn, but it always finds a way back home.

Summer House is a simply beautiful story of family and the ties that bind. The novel switches from each woman’s story to the next, easily guiding the reader throughout its woven paths. There was never a moment where part of the book didn’t make sense or wasn’t interesting. The more you read, the more you are hooked, wanting to find out more about each character, their story and their family. It is easy to lose track of time while reading this novel. The book makes you feel at home, it harvest the essence of family and brings about the emotions that go along with it.

I absolutely loved this book. It was original and exciting with a raw magnetism of emotional understanding. I really enjoyed Nona’s memories because they gave insight into how each of these women has arrived where they are in the present. It shed light onto the Wheelwright family as a whole, giving the reader a broader and more developed picture of the family. It was easy to envision myself on Nantucket Island and with this family throughout the novel. It has a wonderful mix of past and present with a glimpse of the future that enables the reader to feel fulfilled throughout the novel. I would highly recommend this book to any reader. It is warm, heartfelt, smart, and witty and a perfect example of family in all its crazy wonderfulness. It will definitely be part of my permanent library and I look forward to reading it again.

Reviewed for Author Exposure


  1. I love chick lit books and this one sounds like a good read... thanks for the review!

  2. Sounds like another good read! Thanks for sharing, as always.

  3. Sounds like a great book. I'll be adding it to my list to read. Thanks for the review!


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