That Certain Summer

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Title: That Certain Summer
Author: Irene Hannon
Publisher: Revell
Published: June 1, 2013
Pages: 304

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Karen and Val are family, but they’re anything but close. Karen has carried the burden of responsibility for her aging mother ever since her sister left to pursue a career in theater. Karen overextends herself by having a career, recovering from her divorce, taking care of her newly rebellious daughter and her ailing mother. So she does the unthinkable. She calls her sister for help.

Val had her reasons for leaving town. Besides to pursue a a career, she left to get away from her controlling mother and to run away from a secret no one else knows but her. Coming home has never been an option, until her mother suffers from a stroke and she hears the weariness in her sister’s voice. Val now feels the need to breach the secrets of the past and move on from the guilt she carries.

Reunited, the sisters now have to care for their controlling mother and grapple with their past mistakes. Hopefully they can repair their torn relationship and become not only friends but sisters again. As they battle that their summer takes an interesting new spin as two handsome men come into their lives and offer them a hope for something better. Each one has issues and trouble but when their lives intersect they might just be able to learn to forgive and love again.

Can Val forgive herself for the mistake she made when she was just a teenager or will she give up everything and hold onto the guilt she carries? Will Karen learn to stand up for herself and forgive her ex-husband for cheating on her or will she stay the quiet church mouse that is still angry with her husband? Will Karen and Val find love this summer or will they get their hearts broken once again?
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I love Irene Hannon’s work and I have been a fan since reading a couple of her Love Inspired novellas. For a few years she has stuck to just suspense so I was a bit surprised when she decided to write a contemporary novel. However, I’m so happy she did. This book is, in my opinion, her best yet. This book was well developed and heart-tugging. It got my emotions involved and I loved it.

The characters of Karen, Val, Scott, and David were realistic and I loved seeing them grow and finally learn to forgive whether it was themselves or someone else. Their journeys got my heart involved and made me feel like the characters were real making this book a breeze to read and finish. This author definitely has a gift of creating great characters that attach to your heart and don’t really release themselves out of your life.

The romances were also some of the best I’ve seen out of this author. The emotional development was amazing and I could really see the relationship grow into a love strong enough to conquer some tough choices and realizations. There isn’t much heat in this romance but the lack of it didn’t bother me at all and in fact in this particular novel I probably wouldn’t want it. The slow emotional attachment that grows into love fits this novels so well that I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

This storyline follows a few really real and tough situations a lot of people are facing today. There was coping with the aftermath of divorce, partial paralysis, being the lone survivor of a car accident, falling in love with a woman who will leave, and most importantly, abortion. Every struggle during the course of this novel made the story even more real and made each character more realistic and lovable to me. I loved this novel and want more like it.

I’ve been a fan of this author for years and have loved her suspense work but I feel like this is her best work yet. I loved this and want more contemporary fiction from her. I look forward to seeing what else Irene Hannon will throw my way. This book and author come highly recommended and I definitely want more like this novel from her.

Overall, a great novel. I have absolutely no complaints. This book is perfect for people who like a well constructed romance that broaches hard topics. I don’t recommend this book for younger readers but adults and possibly teens will enjoy this one. I give this book a five out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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