Thursday, August 11

Book Review: That Summer by Lauren Willig

Author: Lauren Willig
Title: That Summer
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary, Romance
Format: hardcover
Pages: 342
Published: June 3rd 2014
Where I Got It: My Shelf (Used book store)

2009: When Julia Conley hears that she has inherited a house outside London from an unknown great-aunt, she assumes it's a joke. She hasn't been back to England since the car crash that killed her mother when she was six, an event she remembers only in her nightmares. But when she arrives at Herne Hill to sort through the house--with the help of her cousin Natasha and sexy antiques dealer Nicholas--bits of memory start coming back. And then she discovers a pre-Raphaelite painting, hidden behind the false back of an old wardrobe, and a window onto the house's shrouded history begins to open...
1849: Imogen Grantham has spent nearly a decade trapped in a loveless marriage to a much older man, Arthur. The one bright spot in her life is her step-daughter, Evie, a high-spirited sixteen year old who is the closest thing to a child Imogen hopes to have. But everything changes when three young painters come to see Arthur's collection of medieval artifacts, including Gavin Thorne, a quiet man with the unsettling ability to read Imogen better than anyone ever has. When Arthur hires Gavin to paint her portrait, none of them can guess what the hands of fate have set in motion.

Been meaning to read this for ages. Thank goodness for the TBR reading challenge. 

Here we follow Julia and Imogen. It is 2009 and Julia is inheriting a house outside of England but she hasn't been back to England since the car crash that killed her mother when Julia was a child. She can barely remember that day or England. She arrives at the house and with the aid of her cousin and the sexy antique dealer, Nicholas, bits of memory start to come back. And then she discovers a pre-Raphaelite painting that will lead to an old mystery and story. We also follow Imogen in 1849. Imogen has spent nearly a decade trapped in a loveless marriage. The one bright spot in her life has been her step-daughter, Evie Everything changes when she meets Gavin Thorne. 

Why can't I inherit a house like this? All that history! All the art and the antiques! I would never want to leave! I would get so lost there.

This book was good, but it also made me sad. I felt so bad for Imogen. She really should've listened to her father, but she was swept away by a charming older man. Poor thing. Probably happened a LOT back then. She was innocent and it was too late for her once they said the "I do"s. I just wanted her to find a small piece of happiness. She deserved it. Same with Evie. Sweet girl. Oh and Julia in modern times. She deserves all the happiness.

Now, this did take a while for the story to warm up. There was a lot of build-up and character development going on. Once it got going I couldn't put it down. Part of the ending left me bummed. I was hoping for something different for someone, but alas, it is not always happily-ever-after. I did enjoy part of the ending though. I would love a sequel for this! I feel like there are other tales to tell from that history-filled home!

This was a good read. It does take a bit to warm up in the beginning, but once you get to a certain point you won't be able to put it down. I was highly invested in our characters and I had to know what was going to happen next. 

In the end, this is a nice one for historical fiction lovers. I'll give this 4 stars. 

- TBR Reading Challenge (#6)


Melliane said...

I didn't know about this one and I confess I wouldn't have taken a closer look because of the cover but I'm glad tou had a good time!

Jen Twimom said...

yea for the TBR Challenge. Glad you finally got to this and enjoyed it!

Carole Rae said...

Melliane, I don't think the cover does the story and plot justice.

Jen, yayy! It really has helped.

Blodeuedd said...

I really need to try some of hers

Carole Rae said...

B, I adore her stuff.