13 Jun In The Summertime by Maeve Haran
The ultimate feel-good beach read
With her marriage over and her holiday plans in disarray, antiques dealer Georgina is at a loose end when her old schoolchum Ruth gets in touch with a proposition for her. Will she go and live at Rookery Manor where the Honourable Maud Tyler needs help cataloguing her treasures?
And so Gina finds herself back in the South Downs seaside town where she grew up – much to the disgust of the third member of their trio, Eve, a successful divorce lawyer who has made London life her own.
Gina settles into life at the manor with elderly, eccentric, delightfully charming Maud – and finds much more to attract her back to the town, too, in the form of Daniel Napier, the once shy, awkward teenager who has grown up into a handsome, kind-hearted man.
When Eve comes down for a visit, another old schoolmate appears on the scene – will she be as smitten by Stuart as he obviously is by her?
Ruth, meanwhile, happily married with a large family of children and grandchildren, provides the constant in the background for all the adventures that follow.
For there is more to the Honourable Maud than meets the eye. Why is she so interested in the fate of young Syrian refugee, Jasmin? Just where are her missing treasures disappearing to? Will her awful great-niece and husband manage to pack her off to an old folks’ home so they can take over the manor?
Gina has more to do than just catalogue antiques – she has mysteries to solve!
It’s impossible not to keep turning the pages
With an intriguing plot underpinning it, and a host of colourful characters getting up to all sorts of mischief, this story of friendship and romance offers so many strands that it is impossible not to keep turning the pages.
The theme of friendship is thoroughly explored – that of old friendships and new ones, of friendships between the generations and between the sexes.
Then there is the theme of family. Maud may have three great-nieces, but she is really quite alone.
The theme of love, loss and betrayal is also explored through both Gina and Maud’s stories. Can either woman put the past behind them and find happiness in the future once more?
Finally, there is the more sinister theme of people trafficking as evinced by Jasmin’s story. This adds an element of danger to the rolling joviality of the narrative, and adds a depth to the story that lifts it from a typical summer beach story to a more thoughtful read.
This darker theme give the story a slight edge – plunging into it is like diving into the sea on a warm summer’s day, to receive the momentary shock of cold water before surfacing again to the sun … and to the warmth and humour that helps make the narrative flow in such a feel-good way.
Some coincidences in the story are a bit of a stretch of credibility, the villains in the piece are pretty two-dimensional, and some of the adventures our heroines face veer into Famous Five territory, with lashings of rose wine replacing the gingerbeer!
But these are minor quibbles in a story that is overall peopled with really strong, three-dimensional and sympathetic characters. Gina, Eve and Ruth share the kind of friendship we’d all love to find and hold onto, and the men who come into their lives more than live up to expectations. We all need a hero or two! We all need some sunshine in our lives.
And maybe we all need a Maudie, too – what a great character she is.
Take this book to the beach today – you’ll be glued to your lounger till long after the sun goes down!
In The Summertime by Maeve Haran is published by Pan Macmillan in paperback and ebook
About the Author
Maeve Haran is an Oxford law graduate who worked in television and journalism befor writing her worldwide bestseller Having It All which was translated into twenty-six languages. She has since written fourteen contemporary and two historical novels plus one work of non-fiction extolling life’s small pleasures. Two of her novels have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year award.
She has three grown-up children and divides her time between North London and a cottage in the lovely Cuckmere Valley in East Sussex.
Thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on this blogtour and to publishers Pan Macmillan for the copy of the book.
Catch up with the rest of the blogtour at the links on the poster
More Reviews of Feelgood Summer Reads
- Summer At The Ice-Cream Cafe by Jo Thomas
- Thirty Days in Paris by Veronica Henry
- The Sunrise Sisterhood by Cathy Bramley