Summer’s List

Summer’s ListSummer's List by Anita Higman
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by River North on June 1, 2015
Pages: 288

 

About Summer’s List (from back cover):
Life hadn’t been easy for Summer Snow. In acts of selflessness—caring for her ailing parents and running her grandmother’s bookstore—she had forfeited her youth and dreams for the needs of others. And the only tries she had at love… didn’t turn out. She had the bookstore, she had her beloved granny, but she was missing something—or someone.  

Opportunity strikes when Granny sends Summer on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree, a kind but gangly young man from Summer’s past. A childhood friendship is rekindled, a romance is sparked, and mysteries are solved in one magical Texas summer. Will Summer strike out on love again, or will things finally go her way?

Let me preface this review by saying that I am a big fan of Anita’s books. Her stories are always such a delight to read, and up to this point, there hasn’t been one that I didn’t enjoy immensely. Unfortunately, Summer’s List, is a story that I really struggled to get into. I have grown to love Anita’s whimsical details and endearing characters, and though they are present here, the plot of the story was not my favorite.

I have grown to love Anita’s whimsical details and endearing characters, and though they are present here, the plot of the story was not my favorite.

I think my lack of enthusiasm for the plot is that it plays out much differently than I thought based on reading the summary. I was expecting a light-hearted and sweet love story, sort of a comedic journey with Summer and Martin as they check items off of Granny’s list. What is here instead is a mystery about Martin’s family, and specifically why his parents left him and his brothers. I suppose I didn’t think it would be such a big plot point, but over halfway through the book, little time is spent on any of the list, but rather scenes in which Martin has heated discussions with his brothers.

As characters, Martin’s brothers don’t feel entirely realistic, and instead seem out of place in the contemporary setting. Their dialogue especially is stilted and strange at times, like they thought they were in a gothic play. Summer’s Granny is a character that is easy to love. I liked the special little details that are revealed in her relationship with her grandmother. Summer herself is what I would describe as a free-spirit and perhaps a bit naïve.

The moments of reconnection between the two of them are sweet, although I would have liked to see a little more reacquainting in their relationship before it went straight into all-out love.

The romance seems rushed for two people who haven’t seen each other for twenty years, although I do love the whole idea of them reuniting with each other after being close friends when they were younger. The moments of reconnection between the two of them are sweet, although I would have liked to see a little more reacquainting in their relationship before it went straight into all-out love.

From about the middle point on, the plot is more in line with what my expectations were, so I enjoyed it a lot more than the first half. Summer and Martin (and sometimes Granny) took part in completing the list – a certain scene in a hot air balloon is tinged with sadness, but still a sweet, inspiring moment in the story. The scenes in which they were completing the list are my favorite, and I wish the story would have focused almost solely on that instead of Martin’s family dynamics.

For new readers, my recommendation would be to check out Anita’s earlier books before reading this one.

While Summer’s List is not a favorite for me, especially when compared with Anita’s earlier novels, I encourage other readers to check it out for themselves. For new readers, my recommendation would be to check out Anita’s earlier books before reading this one. For me, it was a case of having the wrong expectations for this story. If you are a fellow fan of hers and familiar with her writing, still give this one a shot because it may be the perfect story for you

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