Summer's Child Mass Market Paperback – 31 May 2005
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" Resonant and beautifully written, this novel offers a lyrical meditation on healing, a setting as soft and colorful as beach glass and a story that's both suspenseful and tender.... Rice excels at weaving the familiar staples of popular fiction into storytelling gold; her talent for portraying both children at risk and good men scarred by circumstance also dazzles. Above all, this book-- one of Rice's best in recent years-- depicts the magical endurance of love with the sensitivity and realism for which she's known." -"-Publishers Weekly," Starred Review
" Rice, a terrific storyteller and a poetic stylist, takes on a difficult and brutal subject and transforms it into a source of light and hope." --"Booklist"
"Resonant and beautifully written, this novel offers a lyrical meditation on healing, a setting as soft and colorful as beach glass and a story that's both suspenseful and tender.... Rice excels at weaving the familiar staples of popular fiction into storytelling gold; her talent for portraying both children at risk and good men scarred by circumstance also dazzles. Above all, this book--one of Rice's best in recent years--depicts the magical endurance of love with the sensitivity and realism for which she's known."-"-Publishers Weekly", Starred Review
"Rice, a terrific storyteller and a poetic stylist, takes on a difficult and brutal subject and transforms it into a source of light and hope."--"Booklist"
From the Inside Flap
THERE'S A PLACE IN OUR HEARTS RESERVED FOR MIRACLES...
From Luanne Rice, the celebrated author of" Beach Girls and many other" New York Times bestsellers, comes this powerful novel of a mystery, a love affair, and a bond that cannot be broken set in a seaside town where miracles are made..."
On the first day of summer, Mara Jameson went out to water her garden-and was never seen again. Years after her disappearance, no one could forget the expectant mother whose glowing smile had captured the heart of everyone who'd known her: Maeve Jameson, still mourning the loss of a granddaughter she had struggled to protect...Patrick Murphy, a dogged police detective obsessed with a vanished woman...and Lily Malone, drawn to the rugged beauty of the Nova Scotia coast and its promise of a new life.
Here Lily hopes to raise her nine-year-old daughter, Rose, far from the pain and loss of the past. Here she will meet a gifted scientist, Liam Neill, whose life is on a similar trajectory from heartbreak to hope. And before the season is over, Lily will find the magic that exists in people we love the best...the everyday miracles that can make the extraordinary happen anywhere.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The very pregnant Mara Jameson had disappeared from the garden of her grandmother's home in Connecticut on the summer solstice nine years earlier. Every year on the anniversary of her death, the media brings her name up again, wondering what in the world happened to the seemingly happy young woman. Recently retired police detective Patrick Murphy has never given up his quest. He has always thought her husband, successful businessman Edward Hunter had something to do with her disappearance but has never been able to prove anything. Every year he visits her grandmother, Maeve, hoping for another clue; something else she might remember.
Up in Hawk's Cove, Nova Scotia two women have come to escape abusive marriages. Both women have nine-year-old daughters. Lily Malone and her daughter, Rose, have lived in Hawk's Cove for nine years. Lily runs a stitchery shop and her real love in her life is her daughter Rose who was born with a heart defect and has been in an out of hospitals her entire life. The other woman is Marisa Taylor who with her daughter, Jessica, has more recently come to Hawk's Cove. Marisa is more mysterious but the two young girls have become best friends. The two young women are a part of a larger group of women who call themselves the Nanouks, a group of friends who are always there for one another in this isolated but idyllic area which draws many visitors who go on whale watching trips to see the many different types of whales including the amazing beluga whales.
Then there's Liam Neill. Instead of captaining whale watching boats like the rest of the men in his family, he became an oceanographer, even after a terrible tragedy as a youth caused him the loss of an arm. He has become protective of Lily and Rose ever since they came to down and even though Rose cares for him a great deal, Lily and him have always remained at a distance emotionally. Then when tragedy is barely averted during what was supposed to be a fun whale watching outing for Rose's 9th birthday, everything changes.
I started this book Saturday afternoon while looking out at the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca where I had just recently started the first whale watching trip I'd ever been on less than a month ago so of course was gripped to the pages from the beginning. I had the sound of the waves hitting the beach resonating all around me as I was reading, unable to put the book down. And a more emotional book I'd be hard pressed to find. I rarely have admitted this to others, so to do so in a review is really putting myself out there, but I have been in a relationship such as the one Lily and Marisa found themselves in. I could really identify with them.
And Liam. Ah Liam. Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series has often been called the most perfect hero in fiction written today. Liam Neill gives him a run for the money. He is sensitive, caring, and downright sexy. He is strong, intelligent, and loves children. What more could you ask for??
Luanne Rice's emotional writing brought me to tears more than once, and she gave a twist near the end that I never saw coming - one that had me sit straight up from my halfway-lying down position! I was completely exhausted from a stay spent doing a very tedious chore, arriving home at 11PM, but I had about 90 more pages to read and even though I knew I had to get up early to go to work in the morning, there was no way I could not go to sleep without finishing this book. It is that good.
If I had any complaint about this book, it's that I found it to not quite stand alone. It leads into Rice's June 21st release SUMMER OF ROSES. But really, it is a minor quibble. You can be sure I will be first in line to get that book the day it comes out (do you think I can call the summer solstice a holiday so I can take the day off work to read it??) The book is so outstanding, the characters so wonderful, and the villain such a well-done villain. I've long been a fan of Luanne Rice's books and this just cements her standing as one of the authors on my automatic-buy list. I think I actually may have a couple of her books around the house I haven't read yet; that won't be the case for much longer because I am going to round them all up and move them to the top of the TBR pile. Well done, Ms. Rice, I don't know how I can stand waiting for the next two weeks! Note to family: Gift certificates make a good birthday presents (mine being in 11 days :-)
As much as I love most of Luanne Rice's books, I was a bit worried about her next book after reading her holiday entry, Silver Bells. It wasn't that Silver bells was entirely disappointing and didn't have all of Luanne Rice's signature marks, it was just that for me it missed its mark somehow. And when early reports indicated that Summer's Child had a bit of a mystery angle, I wondered if this gifted auuthor, who previously wrote The Secret Hour, was venturing into a new genre. Now that I literally gulped down Summer's Child, Rice's newest book, I am happy to say that Luanne Rice, as only she could, gave to her readers and myself a wonderful book filled with some of the best characters I've read about for sometime. And if the mystery angle was a bit easy to figure out early on, I still found myself captivated by the story and how wonderful it all turned out.
In Hubbards Point, Connecticut, the scene of many of Luanne Rice's previous novels, lives an elderly woman whose pregnant granddaughter vanished in the night. A devoted detective has relentlessly searched for the young woman and has indeed sacrificed much of his life and marriage obsessed with what happened to Mara. At the same time in Nova Scotia live two women fleeing from a difficult past. Lily Malone runs a needlepoint shop while her young daughter, Rose, suffers from a debilitating heart ailment. But Lily seems to have cut herself off from finding a man for herselfserself and is consumed with caring for her child and spending time with her women friends known as the Nanook women. Lily is pursued by a gentle man Liam who would give her the world if she would only give him the chance but seems too consumed with her past to allow this. A recent addition to the community is Marisa, another wounded soul who arrives with her young daughter. Both Lily and Marisa's daughter become fast friends almost sensing they share a similar history. And then there is a mysterious presence in both Lily and Marisa's lives which neither of them can shake no matter how far they have gone. What secrets do these people share and how their lives intersect and intertwine intrigues the reader as this book crescendos to am amazing climax. This was one of the most heart wrenching books I have read in a long time and one which I won't soon forget.
I first began reading Luanne Rice in 1993 and never thought any of her future books would be as good or as well loved I felt about Blue Moon, Home Fires or the recent Firefly Beach trilogy. I am happy to say that I was wrong then and imagine I will be in the future. And I won't have to wait too long to be reunited with these endearing characters since a sequel to Summer's Child, Summer of Roses has already been published.
My reading life has been so enriched with the hours I have spent with Luanne Rice's books which for the most part I love. I can't think of anything better to do when reading a book then spending days and nights with Ms. Rice's characters or spending time in Hubbards Point, a wonderful beach community in Connecticut. This is one author who despite an occassional book I don't love, remains one of my favorite authors and I imagine I will always feel this way based on the many books I did love by her. As I've often said, a so so book by Luanne Rice is still better than a lot of what I read these days. My hats off to you Ms. Rice. May you continue to write wonderful books like Summer's Child and may I continue to look forward to reading them.
Nine years later, Patrick Murphy, the now retired detective in charge of her missing person case believes that she is dead (and that Edward was the culprit), but after following up on a couple tips, soon finds himself in Nova Scotia. His relentless search to solve Mara's case destroyed his marriage and career. But he feels an obligation to her ailing grandmother to see the case through to conclusion regardless of the outcome.
Lily has carved out a life for herself and her daughter Rose. Unfortunately, Rose was born with a heart murmur which results in her needing some operations in order to live a normal life. Mysterious Liam Neill has taken it upon himself to be the benefactor of Rose. He has loved Lily from afar since the night he helped bring Rose into the world, but Lilly is too consumed with her daughter and her past with Edward to open her heart to Liam.
Liam is a scarred man. He lives with horrible memories about the loss of his brother and his arm in a shark attack. Instead of committing himself to the family enterprise of piloting whale watching boats, Liam has become and oceanographer and studies sharks in particular. A shocking event finally brings Liam and Lily together, and opens her world to the possibility of love. But will her world comes crashing down when she comes face to face with her past?
I really loved this book. But I really was not happy when I got to the end and found that I will have to read another book, "Summer of Roses" to find out the conclusion of the story. I like self-encapsulating novels that can stand on their own.
With that out of the way, SUMMER'S CHILD returns to the Luanne Rice we all know and love. Thank Goodness SILVER BELLS was just a "fluke." (I was kind of worried!). In typical Luanne Rice fashion, girl is in trouble, boy plays "hero" to the girl, boy loves girl but is afraid to tell her, girl loves boy but is afraid to tell him, child in middle knows the adults belong together & tries like heck to put them together, a crises arises forcing boy & girl together, girl & boy finally admit their feelings for one another and.........
That's it!! We won't know the rest until we finish SUMMER OF ROSES!!
Luanne Rice writes about relationships with a passion. Readers have characters to actually root for and care about and love is a high priority. Sentiment runs high in a Luanne Rice novel which never fails to tug at your heartstrings, but readers aren't reading these books for the scenery! (which, in this novel is a beautiful, peaceful and far-removed waterside community in Nova Scotia). A very close circle of friends support the main charcters, with the occassional reference to characters from previous Luanne Rice novels (Tara & Bay, Lilly's childhood friends from PERFECT SUMMER from are mentioned, as are other past characters). The author pays very close attention to details, and I appreciate the research that she must do to bring important information to light (readers will get a valuable lesson in internet fraud, heart disease in children, as well as whale watching)
SUMMER'S CHILD includes everything we've come to expect from a Luanne Rice novel. No surprises here (other than the fact that the story doesn't end with this book - for the first time the author chose to contnue the story in her next HC release). Fans of Rice should be pleased with this story and, I'm assuming, its continuation SUMMER OF ROSES. As a usual, this is pretty much "required" Beach Reading!!
I for one, am anxiously waiting to purchase my copy so that I can see what happens next and how the characters move forward. Once I've finished that book - I'll be able to write a more detailed review!
I give the story 4 stars, but becuz the story's incomplete and reader's are pretty much forced into buying (and reading) SUMMER OF ROSES, I give the book itself 2 stars - which averages out to a 3 star review!
p.s. the one thing I think the author could have ommitted from this story was the reference to Lacey & Scott Peterson - I don't really think it was necessary to associate his real life tragedy with the characters of a fictional novel! While I appreciate the occassional reference to true-life events in the novels I read, this particular reference felt both forced and unnecessary, only serving to state the author's view on the subject. In the future, I think it's best to leave true-life, personal tragedies out of fictional novels. I'm reading a novel for pleasure, not to get views on such a horrible event - If I wanted that, I'd pick up the newspaper or watch the news!
Jessica Taylor, and Rose Malone were the very best of friends. They had a lot in common as did both of their mothers, Marisa Taylor, and Lily Malone. Both families were hiding from dangerous husbands, escaping to Nova Scotia where they hoped to never be found.
Jessica was a healthy 9-year old girl, while Rose always had many heart defects, and went to the hospital often for surgeries. In the book, she was to have one final heart operation to finally repair all the damage to her heart and would last her many years.
On the other side of the coin though is still mourning the loss of her grandchild Mara. She went to water the garden one day, and then was never seen again afterwords. And at the time she was expecting a child. Patrick Murphy, a retired police detective was obsessed with finding out the real truth of the matter, and could not let it rest until he knew the answers.
Lily Malone also meets a scientist in the story, Liam Neill, who is more supportive toward her and her daughter's needs then any man has ever been. Especially Ted, her abusive first husband. He sticks by Lily through the whole time Rose has her surgeries, and the two may have hopes of starting a new life yet. Before this happens though, other events take place. Ted, the abusive husband is on to them, and will have to be stopped before causing some serious trouble in both Lily's and Marisa's lives.