Reviewed by Jennifer Joyce
When she was a teenager, Miranda and her family spent their summers in their holiday cottage in Cornwall. Now a grown up with teenage children of her own, Miranda is returning to the village with her mother, Clare and the ashes of her stepfather, Jack. The family is going to say goodbye to Jack and scatter his ashes in the one of the places that he loved. While in the village, Miranda and Clare are reunited with some familiar faces from the past while Miranda’s children make some summer memories of their own.
In The Summer Time is a story of love and friendship and I liked delving into Miranda and Clare’s past and seeing how the people they had once known and loved had changed. The coastal village really came alive and sounded delightful. It’s a small, quiet village but Miranda and her family soon liven the place up as they rekindle lost friendships and romance. I liked how we got to see three generations and the way the trip affected them but my favourite aspect of the book was Silva’s story. Silva is Miranda’s youngest child, who is just about to turn fourteen and is struggling with where she fits in within her social circle. She’s growing up and wanting to experience new things but she isn’t quite ready. There is a great mix of characters within the book, ranging from widowed Clare, to her daughters Miranda and Harriet – who are almost polar opposites of each other – to teenagers, Silva, Bo and Lola. I liked seeing them all interact within the small confines of the village and their holiday rental home as their stories unfolded. I wasn’t at all keen on Harriet to begin with but she did start to grow on me towards the end of the book. There are quite a few storylines going on but it didn’t seem too cramped or overwhelming and I found them all entertaining.
The book has quite a gentle pace and with its seaside setting, it makes a perfect read for the summer. I was left a little bewildered when the book ended abruptly as I thought it could have used another chapter or two to finish the book off nicely. It felt a bit rushed and, for me, there were a few loose ends I’d like to have seen tidied up a little neater. I did enjoy the rest of the book, however, and found it to be a light (despite the whole purpose of the holiday being to scatter Jack’s ashes) and entertaining read.