12 August 2016

Review #503: Summer Secrets by Jane Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“A man who drinks too much on occasion is still the same man as he was sober. An alcoholic, a real alcoholic, is not the same man at all. You can't predict anything about him for sure except that he will be someone you never met before.”

----Raymond Chandler

Jane Green, the New York Times bestselling author, has penned an extremely heart touching yet sassy contemporary fiction in her book, Summer Secrets where the author weaves a tale about an alcoholic woman's life about how she learns to stand up on her two feet after losing herself into the delusional and easy escape of golden and often crystal clear liquid (alcohol), how this woman despite having her own family travels back and forth in time through her mother's childhood days to her struggling single days to some dark secrets that take her back to her own original roots.


Jane Green delivers her second blockbuster novel of 2015, a story of one woman struggling to right the wrongs of her past, with even more complications in the present.

June, 1998: At twenty seven, Catherine Coombs, also known as Cat, is struggling. She lives in London, works as a journalist, and parties hard. Her lunchtimes consist of several glasses of wine at the bar downstairs in the office, her evenings much the same, swigging the free booze and eating the free food at a different launch or party every night. When she discovers the identity of the father she never knew she had, it sends her into a spiral. She makes mistakes that cost her the budding friendship of the only women who have ever welcomed her. And nothing is ever the same after that.

June, 2014: Cat has finally come to the end of herself. She no longer drinks. She wants to make amends to those she has hurt. Her quest takes her to Nantucket, to the gorgeous summer community where the women she once called family still live. Despite her sins, will they welcome her again? What Cat doesn’t realize is that these women, her real father’s daughters, have secrets of their own. As the past collides with the present, Cat must confront the darkest things in her own life and uncover the depths of someone’s need for revenge.

Catherine Coombs, a.k.a, Cat, a British woman, loves her English life style and her job as a journalist, as she can indulge herself in free booze either during the lunch times or in some launch events. And one sudden day, she learns the truth behind the identity of her real father and how she got the genes of alcoholism into her. And that summer destroys quite a few blossoming family bonds of Cat because of her drinking problem and throws her into a downward spiral. Few years down the line, Cat has realized that she has lost everyone she loved because of her alcoholism, her family, her husband, the custody of her children, her new family, and she is ready to make amends for the troubles and pain that she have caused in the lives of those people. Will she be forgiven? Will she finally give up her drinking?

This is the first ever time that I read anything by this author, since I'm not much of a contemporary women's fiction fan, and surprisingly this book held me right at the very start and kept me gripped pretty much all the time, till the very end. The best part of this women's fiction book is that the characters are believable and their problems are genuine and so their demeanor thus making the story rather realistic. Although a women's fiction never fall short in projecting some stereotypical characters, Jane Green's book too featured some cliched characters and highly fictional moments which are often cheesy and mostly vague.

The author's writing style is is eloquent and charming that will make the readers comprehend better with the story line. Also the prose is made emphatic as well as poignant by the author which will help the readers to feel for the characters and their stories. The narrative is emotional yet entertaining and often light-hearted, making sure that the readers will not only shed a drop of tear or two, but will also have a good laugh. The pacing is really swift as the author unravels the story gradually through layers and with through depth.

The characters from the book are well-etched out from realism and are made very striking. The main character, Cat, is a flawed to the core human being, whose drinking problem is the center of this story line, her downfall is vividly arrested by the author with sensitivity and care, only to make sure that the readers feel sympathetic towards this character. The only sad part is that the readers will fail to find where this woman found any strength or solid resolution to put an end to her drinking problem, because AA meetings are not the only solution to cure a person from his/her drinking problems. The rest of the characters are kind of okay.

In a nutshell, the story is captivating and is perfect for a beach read as the story is light, funny, summery, sassy and equally evocative.

Verdict: Charming, fascinating yet poignant drama about alcoholism and family secrets.

Courtesy: Thanks to the publishers from Pan Macmillan India for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
Jane Green's eighteenth novel, Falling, is soon to be released with Berkley/Penguin; she is the author of sixteen previous New York Times Bestselling novels, and known as one of the world's leading authors in women's fiction, with over ten million books in print, and translations in over 25 languages.

Previous novels have included The Beach House, Second Chance, Jemima J, and Tempting Fate.
She joined the ABC News team to write their first enhanced digital book— about the history of Royal marriages, then joined ABC News as a live correspondent covering Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton.

A former journalist in the UK, she has had her own radio show on BBC Radio London, and is a regular contributor on radio and TV, including as well as regularly appearing on television shows including Good Morning America, The Martha Stewart show, and The Today Show.
Together with writing books and blogs, she contributes to various publications, both online and print, including anthologies and novellas, and features for The Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, Cosmopolitan and Self. She has taught at writers conferences, and does regular keynote speaking, and has a weekly column in The Lady magazine, England’s longest running weekly magazine.
A graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York, Green is bringing out her first cookbook: Good Taste , with Berkley in October 2016.

She is a storyteller for The Moth radio hour on NPR, and lives in Westport, Connecticut with her husband and their blended family. When she is not writing, cooking, gardening, filling her house with friends and herding chickens, she is usually thanking the Lord for caffeine-filled energy drinks.
A cancer survivor, she continues to raise awareness for Malignant Melanoma, Hashimoto's Disease, and Lyme Disease.
Visit her here

Book Purchase Links:


Post a Comment

Thanks for your feedback!