Monday, August 07, 2017

Review: The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable (audio)

Title: The Book of Summer
Author: Michelle Gable
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Published: May 2017, Brilliance Audio
Length: 12 hours 56 minutes
Source: Publisher

Physician Bess Codman has returned to her family's Nantucket compound, Cliff House, for the first time in four years. Her great-grandparents built Cliff House almost a century before, but due to erosion, the once-grand home will soon fall into the sea. Though she s purposefully avoided the island, Bess must now pack up the house and deal with her mother, a notorious town rabble-rouser, who refuses to leave.

The Book of Summer unravels the power and secrets of Cliff House as told through the voices of Ruby Packard, a bright-eyed and idealistic newlywed on the eve of WWII, the home's definitive guestbook, and Bess herself. Bess's grandmother always said it was a house of women, and by the very last day of the very last summer at Cliff House, Bess will understand the truth of her grandmother s words in ways she never contemplated.

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read/listened to by Michelle Gable, though I do have one or two of her books sitting on my shelf.

I loved the way this story unfolded - the present storyline focusing on saving Cliff House, situated on the bluffs on Nantucket and the past storyline, which is told through the eyes of Ruby Packard  right before WWII, and "the Book of Summer," the guest book that guests would write in if they came to stay at Cliff House. 

I am a huge fan of all stories having to do with the wars - I find any and all perspectives to be so fascinating and this one gives us the war bride's perspective.  While this wasn't the main focus of the book, we do get snippets of the times and see how the war was going to affect these young couples. I always find it so interesting to see just how different everyone felt their duty to be during these times.

I have to say, lately whenever I use listen to a dual narrative, I've been finding that I am drawn to both timelines, but in this case, I was definitely drawn more to the past story. That storyline just came alive to me - felt more authentic. I loved how true Michelle Gable stayed with the language she used in her dialogue during these parts: "Who the devil?" and "the absolute tops" being just two examples. These characters - Ruby and Mary and all the rest just felt real to me. Not to say that the present story line didn't have it's merit, but at times, it became a little tiresome.

All in all, though, this was a great summer read and the mix of historical fiction with a family saga filled with family secrets made for an engrossing tale. I definitely plan on reading Michelle Gable's other books as soon as I get the chance, especially if there are anything like this one!

Audio thoughts:
I am a big fan of Cassandra Campbell, so I was excited to see that she was narrating this one. She did a great job with the voices in this book, giving everyone their own unique voice. She really made the characters come to life and her accents and tone were spot on! I thought this was a great audio book to listen to and I can't wait to find my next book that she has narrated!

The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable is one of the She Reads "Books of Summer" reading selection picks.
Head over to the She Reads website to read reviews and related posts of this book, as well as posts related to the other "Books of Summer" selections.


1 comment

  1. I read a print edition and, like you, the storyline from the past resonated more for me. But I enjoyed it all. The audio sounds like it was fantastic.


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