March 3, 2012

Book Review: One More Summer by Liz Flaherty

At First Sight: Grace Elliot has spent her life under her fathers thumb - she was his least liked child and things got worse after her mother died when she was 12. But now, her father has died and her brother and sister have signed their shares of the family's property to her, and she wants to open and B&B.

But before she can get her plans in motion, things get derailed. She takes in two elderly boarders, Maxie - a distant relative of her mom's and a has-been actress . and Jonah - an old friend of her dad's who lost all his retirement money in a scam.

And then Grace's best friend Promise asks if she can move in too, as she just found out she has breast cancer and doesn't want to be alone when facing the aggressive treatments. She's also asking her to keep it a secret from Steven, Grace's older brother who has been dating Promise on and off since they were teenagers. 

And, to top it off, Steven's best friend Dillon Campbell is back in town. Dillon was Grace's impossible crush and the guy who stood her up the night of her senior prom. Since then, Dillon was a war reporter and wrote five successful books. He moves into Grace's guest cottage for the summer - and pays an exorbitant rent - allegedly to work on his next book, but really he was sent there by Steven to keep an eye on Grace and, with the rent, help her to make her dream of owning an inn a reality.

But soon things begin to unravel, what with Promise's illness and the Elliots' family secrets slowly coming out of hiding as Grace's siblings start to realize how deep their father's abuse went and what it did to their sister. And Grace, who never in her life had anyone to fully lean on, learns that Dillon might be her strongest support. 

Second Glance: When I first picked up One More Summer, I thought I would get something light and fluffy, but that was not the case at all. Further more, at the beginning I was convinced I was going to DNF this book since the first quarter of the book was a struggle and I had a hard time getting into it. 

But once the ball got rolling, I became engrossed with the story. It's not a straight romance, though there is a lot of love in the story. Dillon and Grace are both very complex and have gone through a lot of unhappiness. And Grace isn't exactly the easiest person to like as she has martyr tendencies and refuses to ask for help - eventually it makes sense why she's like that, but still, not the most likable person ever. 

She is, however, very giving. And loves the people in her life deeply, even if sometimes she can't show it. Her friendship with Promise is so realistic, they are each other's kindred spirits and their bond was amazing. 

I loved a lot of things about this book, I really did. But it wasn't perfect. As I said, the beginning was a a struggle, and I felt that the back story on Grace was a bit much - though it made sense, and was so heartbreaking. 

And the ending, gosh, it left me a sobbing mess. 

Bottom Line: One More Summer made me cry, a lot. It wasn't the easiest read but it touched me in a way I wasn't expecting. And I ended up liking it more than I thought possible. It's a realistic and bittersweet story.

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