The Book of Summer
By: Michelle Gable
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 5/9/2017
My Rating: 5 Stars Physician Bess Codman has returned to her family’s Nantucket compound, Cliff House, for the first time in four years. Her great-grandparents built Cliff House almost a century before, but due to erosion, the once-grand home will soon fall into the sea. Though she’s purposefully avoided the island, Bess must now pack up the house and deal with her mother, a notorious town rabble-rouser, who refuses to leave. The Book of Summer unravels the power and secrets of Cliff House as told through the voices of Ruby Packard, a bright-eyed and idealistic newlywed on the eve of WWII, the home’s definitive guestbook, and Bess herself. Bess’s grandmother always said it was a house of women, and by the very last day of the very last summer at Cliff House, Bess will understand the truth of her grandmother’s words in ways she never contemplated.
The bestselling author of The Paris Apartment and I'll See You in Paris, Michelle Gable now transports readers to Nantucket.
Storyteller, Michelle Gable returns following I’ll See You in Paris and A Paris Apartment with her latest Nantucket summer charmer (her best yet): THE BOOK OF SUMMER — a multi-generational story of family, home, the courage of tenacious women and the special memories of Cliff House.
Rich in history and character, a scandalous, emotional, and witty tale of family and saving a home. The past, loss and loves, and all the lives which connect. A perfect mix of historic and contemporary.
Based on the real-life erosion of the Sankaty Bluff in Siasconset –known as Sconset—the easternmost spot on Nantucket Island, Gable was inspired by an article in Vanity Fair (very intriguing) about the grand homes, passed down between generations now falling into the sea.
Though the Cliff House bears the fictitious address of Baxter Road, it is based on Bluff House, formerly located at 87 Baxter Road.
The quintessential Nantucket manor known as Cliff House is near falling into the ocean.
However, town shaker Cissy Codman, owner of the home is determined to remain in the house, using every trick she has to keep up the fight to save her family home. She plans on going down the ship.
Cissy is a force to be reckoned with and determined to get the local government behind her to either move the house or continue with the erosion prevention efforts.
Her daughter has been sent from San Francisco, California by her father to ensure her mom moves out of the house before she dies left in the house.
Bess Codman, a physician is undergoing a messy divorce from a complete jerk (Brandon), plus she is pregnant (unplanned) and runs into her ex-high school boyfriend, Evan Mahew.
While tasked with the job of packing up her mom, Bess discovers the “Book of Summer.” A guest book filled with recollections of friends' and family's stay at the house. Entries in the book are highlighted throughout the novel, with difficulties and challenges faced by other residents.
From 2013 and the start of World War II, we hear from Ruby Packard, Bess’s grandmother, an idealistic young bride in 1939, just before the United States enters WWII and Bess. Bess does not understand her mom Cissy’s obsession with this house; however, the more she reads she comes to understand similarities of present and past.
Three generations of stubborn women who chained themselves to complex men, like the house. Bess begins to understand the unspoken expectations placed on Cissy, being the only child in a troubled home. At the same time, she learns something about herself.
Loss is a part of life. Giving everything she had. A costly venture, "saving a bluff." The geo-tubes.
From family drama, lies, secrets, scandals, abortions, gays, alcoholism, betrayal, abuse, infidelity, hookers, divorce, marriage, and more – loss and love, mixed with tons of fun and humor and surprises (loved the part about the pecker-hilarious) and commentary and views from blogger— Corbie Tarbox, the Island ACKtion blog.
Loved Cissy! I related to her on some many levels. What a great cast of characters, from past and present. What is not to love about Nantucket? Have had many hotel clients over the years, and almost moved there full time to run a hotel. Always a good excuse to visit.
Michelle transports you to this charming coastal town by the sea, with an engaging story, resonating with the early writings of Erin Hilderbrand and Nancy Thayer (which I loved), before they changed, over the past few years.
The past and present were nicely done with many connections with highly charged topics. A perfect beach read and an ideal choice for book clubs and further discussion.
Can you imagine losing your house to facts beyond your control?
Gable keeps getting better and better. I enjoyed reading the book; however when I discovered Cassandra Campbell was narrating the audiobook, had to pre-order. Love Cassandra Campbell (my favorite narrator).
She was exceptional and a perfect fit for THE BOOK OF SUMMER. Engaging, absorbing, and entertaining! The audio experience, actually bumped up my review another star, making this a 5-star reading experience.
Highly recommend the book and the audio. Love the subject material with the erosion problem which I am very familiar with highly relatable issues— residing in a coastal area.
Here in Palm Beach, (Breakers Hotel), as well as the Southern area of Palm Beach (Phipps Ocean Park and Beach), the continued erosion along the project area threatens upland structures & recreational beaches. The sand placement and groin & mitigation construction cost millions and designed to last only three years. Very costly, temporary and ongoing environmental issues.
Fans of Mary Alice Monroe, Dorothea Benton Frank, Shelley Noble, Joanne DeMaio, and Hazel Gaynor will enjoy THE BOOK OF SUMMER.
A special thank you to St Martin's Press and NetGalley for an early reading copy.
A sure bet for women's-fiction fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Nantucket novels." ―Booklist, on The Book of Summer
"Gable cleverly illuminates the past, revealing how it mirrors the present. This is a splendid multigenerational novel about the strength of the women of Cliff House." ―Publishers Weekly, on The Book of Summer
"Gable develops fully rounded characters that readers feel as if they could reach out and touch. We want to know more about them and Gable gives us plenty." ―Richmond Times-Dispatch, on The Book of Summer
“Plot-master Gable’s (I'll See You In Paris) affection for hidden treasures emerges again in her second absorbing novel. Readers are kept guessing ’til the end in this sweet story of love, mystery, art, literature, and Paris. As complex and moving as Naomi Wood’s Mrs. Hemingway and Liz Trenow’s The Forgotten Seamstress.” ―Booklist
"Gable (A Paris Apartment) writes an engaging story, and both worlds―Annie's in 2001 and Pru's in 1973―are easy to slide into. Readers will root for both women as they uncover family secrets and discover hidden aspects of themselves. Readers of Kate Morton and those who enjoy family-centered mysteries will approve highly of this book." ―Library Journal
"Gable (I'll See You In Paris) has crafted another page-turner of a good read, filled with history, mystery and a dash of romance. This is the sort of fun, escapist read that is beloved by books clubs. There are characters to love, characters to hate, enticing settings and a requisite amount of plot twists." ―Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Michelle Gable (I'll See You In Paris)...elegantly navigates the narratives of the generations, making each set of characters complex and likable.” ―Richmond Times Dispatch
“Gable’s (I'll See You In Paris)novel provides a wonderful, highly literate mystery...stories within stories, an almost Wuthering Heights narrative complexity.” ―The Roanoke Times
"Gable (A Paris Apartment) tells an engaging story of a fascinating, largely forgotten historical figure against the backdrop of two fledgling romances." ―Kirkus Reviews
Audiobook Narrated by Cassandra Campbell by Brilliance Audio
About the Author
I’m the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A PARIS APARTMENT, I’LL SEE YOU IN PARIS, and the forthcoming THE BOOK OF SUMMER, out on May 9, 2017. I have numerous other never-to-be-seen books that will forever remain stored in my childhood bedroom.
I grew up in sunny San Diego with my brilliant, hilarious parents–my dad is also a writer–and my equally entertaining and extremely accomplished brother and sister. They are younger but I will only cop to my advanced age some of the time. Add in a vibrant extended family and I have no shortage of “material” for future books.
I began writing in fourth grade after my parents gave me a book called Someday You’ll Write. I started with short stories and eventually elevated to terrible high school novels in which people sported “white pumps” and the protagonist said things like “His name was Justin. He was tall, almost 5’2.” According to lifelong friends, I turned every playdate and ugugumber party into a writing group.
Authorial aspirations in mind, I attended The College of William & Mary (Tribe Pride!) and majored in…accounting. As one does. After graduation, I pursued a career in finance, first at the now-defunct Arthur Andersen, later moving to private equity, followed by investment banking, then back to private equity, ultimately landing at software giant Ellie Mae as head of Investor Relations. Throughout it all, I wrote. Nearly every day. I wrote at five o’clock in the morning, or eleven o’clock at night, or while my children assembled their own school lunches–both before I was a “published author” and ever since. I’ll See You in Paris was written almost entirely by hand, sitting behind softball dugouts or in the car while my daughters warmed up pitching and catching. In the Spring of 2016, I ended my 20-year career in finance to focus on writing full time (and sometimes playing too much tennis). On a related note, in the Winter of 2017, I ended my lifelong career in rooting for the Chargers when they announced their move to LA. I’m looking for a new NFL team, if you have any suggestions.
I live in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California with my husband, two daughters, lazy cat, and very feisty bunny. This spring and summer I’ll be on tour for the launch of THE BOOK OF SUMMER. Check the “appearances” section of my website for exact dates and locations. I love to meet readers out on the road and would be thrilled to see you there! And please reach out at any time on social media or at email@example.com. Thanks for being a reader! Read More