Monday, June 8, 2020

The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton

The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton

Doesn’t that look like a lovely spot to settle in and read a summertime novel? 

Let’s begin with the summary:

Sometimes it takes losing everything to find yourself again. 

Lily Bishop wakes up one morning to find a goodbye note and divorce papers from her husband on the kitchen counter. Having moved to Alabama for his job only weeks before, Lily is devastated, but a flyer at the grocery store for a hair stylist position in a local retirement community provides a refuge while she contemplates her next steps.

Rose Carrigan built the small retirement village of Safe Harbor years ago—just before her husband ran off with his assistant. Now she runs a tight ship, making sure the residents follow her strict rules. Rose keeps everyone at arm’s length, including her own family. But when Lily shows up asking for a job and a place to live, Rose’s cold exterior begins to thaw.

Lily and Rose form an unlikely friendship, and Lily’s salon soon becomes the place where residents share town gossip, as well as a few secrets. Lily soon finds herself drawn to Rose’s nephew, Rawlins—a single dad and shrimper who’s had some practice at starting over—and one of the residents may be carrying a torch for Rose as well.

Neither Lily nor Rose is where she expected to be, but the summer makes them both wonder if there’s more to life and love than what they’ve experienced so far.

And now, my review:

Our heroine is challenged to tackle something new as she heals from her painful past. Fortunately, a no-nonsense mentor has mercy, hires her, and encourages her to take that first step because the rest will follow. I loved Rose’s strength and how she readily shared it with Lily.

The author’s descriptions evoke feelings as we live in Lily’s world. You’ll find themes of sympathy and grief, but also recovery and healing and choosing life.

I found a few missed editorial issues, like rambling narrative. I also felt we needed a stronger through-line story question to keep readers hooked. Of course we wonder if our heroine will thrive and rebuild her life, but it wasn’t enough. The story lost my interest at about two-thirds of the way through, after I'd skimmed several scenes.

We get to enjoy fun secondary characters, but unfortunately this novel didn’t work for me. Still, I wish the author and publisher all the best.

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