by Susan Wiggs

March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7783-2799-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Mass Market Paperback

Iím fortunate not to live in a cold snowy part of the country, but if I did I couldnítí imagine anything better than curling up in front of a roaring fire, with a hot drink, and a good book. For this day of ignoring life and indulging yourself Iím suggesting The Summer Hideaway by Susan Wiggs.

The Summer Hideaway brings the other side of the Bellamy family to Avalon and Willow Lake. Personally, I donít remember if Ms. Wiggs has ever mentioned this other side of the family, but it doesnít really matter because she does a wonderful job of mixing flashbacks with present time to explain why there was a rift in the family, and the two brothers who were once so close during their summer getaways at Willow Lake havenít spoken in nearly fifty years.

George, his brother Charles, and Jane the daughter of Camp Kiogaís owner were once close as only children can be without the worry of social class, but as must happen children grow to adulthood and life interferes with the carefree years of childhood. As the eldest George seems to hold dearer to the social rules than Charles, and when both brothers end up falling for Jane it is Charles who speaks up, and George who thinks heís making a huge mistake in marrying a person beneath him, and allows his own personal beliefs and drive for his career to accelerate a rift between the brothers.

Now George is older, wiser and unfortunately, dying. He has a bucket list and every intention of fulfilling it regardless of what his family thinks. To tend him in his dying days he hires a nurse, Claire Turner. The family believes that Claire is hiding something and only has agreed to tend George for his money. Are they right?

George believes that Claire is not only what he needs to transition him to death, but also what is needed by his grandson Ross, to transition him from the horrors he experienced in war back to being a member of society. What do Ross and Claire think of Georgeís plan, and will they allow the manipulations of a dying man to determine their possible futures...either alone or together?

The Summer Hideaway encompasses so many emotions that readers will find themselves laughing, crying, and going I donít believe this. It truly takes a talented writer to make all the different emotions flow seamlessly and believably, and Ms. Wiggs does this effortlessly. The last pages of The Summer Hideaway are as truly exciting and full of emotion as the first pages.

Fans of The Lakeshore Chronicles might be disappointed as a few characters are noticeably absent, but for a favorite series to continue to grow and develop sometimes those favorites have to take a vacation to allow for new people to be introduced. Even though I was disappointed not to have Daisy make an appearance in The Summer Hideaway, I continue to look forward to each new installment knowing that Iíll be having a great vacation on the shores of a beautiful lake that I might not be having otherwise.

Reviewed in February 2010 by Sandi.

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