Friday, June 21, 2019

Blog Tour & Review: The Summer Country by Lauren Willig (audio)


Title: The Summer Country
Author: Lauren Willig
Narrator: Nicola Barber
Published: June 2019, Harper Audio / William Morrow
Length:  16 hours 21 minutes / 480 pages
Source:  Audio - Personal copy via Audible / Print - Hardcover via TLC Book Tours

Summary: 
The New York Times bestselling historical novelist delivers her biggest, boldest, and most ambitious novel yet—a sweeping, dramatic Victorian epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados.

1854. From Bristol to Barbados. . . .

Emily Dawson has always been the poor cousin in a prosperous merchant clan—merely a vicar’s daughter, and a reform-minded vicar’s daughter, at that. Everyone knows that the family’s lucrative shipping business will go to her cousin, Adam, one day. But when her grandfather dies, Emily receives an unexpected inheiritance: Peverills, a sugar plantation in Barbados—a plantation her grandfather never told anyone he owned.

When Emily accompanies her cousin and his new wife to Barbados, she finds Peverills a burnt-out shell, reduced to ruins in 1816, when a rising of enslaved people sent the island up in flames. Rumors swirl around the derelict plantation; people whisper of ghosts.

Why would her practical-minded grandfather leave her a property in ruins? Why are the neighboring plantation owners, the Davenants, so eager to acquire Peverills—so eager that they invite Emily and her cousins to stay with them indefinitely? Emily finds herself bewitched by the beauty of the island even as she’s drawn into the personalities and politics of forty years before: a tangled history of clandestine love, heartbreaking betrayal, and a bold bid for freedom.

When family secrets begin to unravel and the harsh truth of history becomes more and more plain, Emily must challenge everything she thought she knew about her family, their legacy . . . and herself.



My thoughts: I adore family sagas and I love Lauren Willig's writing, so of course I jumped at the opportunity to read and review her latest book. This one is set on Barbados and I admit I know nothing of this island's history, so I felt I learned a bit about the history while reading this beautiful story.

Told in dual narrative form, alternating between 1854 and 1812, it follows the story of two sets of characters. I found myself equally invested in both timelines and was desperate to know how these stories would eventually intersect - because we all know that at some point they eventually would. 

I loved the hint of mystery and secrets that drives part of this story. Emily has inherited a plantation in 1854 after her grandfather has died. But the plantation has been burned to the ground years ago and as she digs around about the place she finds more questions than answers. The biggest question being why he even left the place to her. 

Told through flashbacks, we get the history of what happened and I loved that it was done this way. Yes, it's a bit confusing at first, as you try to get all the characters straight in your mind, but once you figure out who is who and get into the rhythm of the story, it all flows quite nicely. 

This book is rich with the history of Barbados from the slavery to the cholera epidemic, and the richly drawn characters and beautifully written words only enhance it all the more. I absolutely enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction - this is definitely one not to be missed!
 
 

Audio thoughts: I did a combination of listening and reading with this book and I just loved listening to Nicola Barber tell the parts that I listened to. She did an amazing job with the characters and the accents. There were times that I would simply re-listen to parts that I had read, just so I could listen to her read it to me - that's how much I enjoyed this. 


*** I'll be posting a giveaway for this book on my Instagram page later today!




About the Author: Lauren Willig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several novels. She lives in New York City with her family.

Authors Links:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook    |   Instagram
 
Purchase Links:   HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Be sure to check out all the other stops on the blog tour and follow the tour on Twitter (hashtags:  #TLCBookTours & #thesummercountry).


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2 comments

  1. I like family sagas too and the setting is fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am so glad you enjoyed this one, I think the setting is unique and I can't remember another book with the same setting. Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

    ReplyDelete

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