From the blurb:
Some memories can be forgotten . . . Others won’t ever go away.
For renowned actor Sir Mungo, his quiet home village in Devon provides the perfect retreat. Close by are his brother and his wife, and the rural location makes his home the ideal getaway for his old friends in London.
Among those is Kit, who comes to stay for the summer, bringing with her a letter from her first and only love, Jake, and a heart in turmoil. Years have passed since they last saw each other, and now he has written to Kit asking to meet again.
As the summer unfolds, secrets are uncovered that will shatter the sleepy community, and even tear a family apart. But those involved soon realize that the only way to move forward might be to confront the past . . .
I love the cover of this book, the feeling of late summer it at once sparks in me. That feeling remained with me as I read, especially with the descriptions of Devon – just beautiful.
The characters, though, more than the setting are what bring this book alive. There are several stories interwoven here, each as compelling as the next – the actor/director Sir Mungo who aches with unrequited love; his fiend, Kit, who’s struggling to believe she can finally requite her love; the two brothers frightened of the truth coming out; the young Army wife on the cusp of an affair – and more besides. It’s quite a cast of people to keep up with, but each is vivid and intriguing.I especially love the parts told from the little boy Joe’s perspective; they are quite beautiful for their innocent point of view.
Dialogue is integral to the book, and I felt at times like I could visualise the action on a movie screen. Indeed, Sir Mungo and his eye for directing and characters brings this element to the fore. It would make an excellent film, I think – and I would especially enjoy footage of the many plays touched upon, and of the actress Izzy, whose loss resonates through the book for several characters. But then, would James, the eager self-published writer, quite work outside of the pages of the book? He’s a brilliant character for drawing attention to the process of writing; for reminding us of what the author herself is doing in the story. He’s loveable and endearing – I was left wishing I could read his manuscript.
The past is of integral importance to the book, and it stands out so starkly against the present tense narration. There’s also a thread of darkness running through the narrative – an event that happened many years ago that is haunting characters still, and a near-relationship turning into something unpleasant, something threatening. For me, this was the best element of the book – I felt quite chilled in places. But the author strikes just the right balance so that the darkness does not drown out the light.
Overall, it’s a book that pulls you in, and keeps you turning the pages until you can sit back and see the cohesive whole with satisfaction. It’s ideal if you like stories with people and the many kinds of relationships they form at the heart; and is a must-read if, like me, you love rural Devon.
Indian Summeris available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.