The wealthy Wheelwright family meets each summer at their home on Nantucket. Matriarch Anne (called Nona by everyone) lives there year-round along with her nurse/housekeeper, Glorious. Nona’s granddaughter Charlotte also lives there and maintains a prosperous organic garden. The men (who all work for the family-owned bank in Boston) commute to the island on the weekends while their wives and children move in for the season. This creates an opportunity for plenty of interesting interactions. I enjoyed reading about the multigenerational relationships.
I like Nancy Thayer’s writing. I think she is spot on with her portrayal of extended family dynamics. I come from a large family and I easily related to a few things. Importance is given to the issues involving each main character – and they’re all dealing with some personal struggle.
Thirty-year-old Charlotte isn’t taken seriously by her family and she feels pressured to settle down and marry the right man. Her mother Helen has just discovered a betrayal and is trying to figure out what to do. Nona is feeling every bit of her ninety years. Her days consist mostly of trying to avoid family strife. She dozes during the day and dreams about things that happened in her life (which fills in a lot of family background for the reader). She’s not looking forward to Family Meeting – the annual discussion of family investments, etc. that usually results in disagreements. And then there’s the relationship between Helen’s youngest child Teddy and his father. Worth refuses to believe that Teddy has changed his errant ways. As the book progresses, secrets are revealed and some are life-changing.
Summer House is exactly what I love a novel to be – I found it almost impossible to put down. I recommend it to any fan of Women’s Fiction and anyone looking for a good book to read on vacation (or any other time).
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Thanks to Pump Up Your Book Promotion and Ballantine Books for sending the review copy.