Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet). Sometimes I have too many books to do a full-length review. At other times, like now, tennis elbow and a torn tendon makes too much writing difficult. As such, I’ve decided to devote longer reviews to Australian authors until such time as my injury clears. 

The Summer Without You

We all have those times when life is overwhelming and hiding away with a book is a tempting option. While I wasn’t able to hide, I picked up The Summer Without You by Karen Swan because I needed a light and fluffy read. Did I get it? Here’s the blurb:

Rowena Tipton isn’t looking for a new life, just a new adventure, something to while away the months as her long-term boyfriend presses pause on their relationship before they become engaged. But when a chance encounter at a New York wedding leads to an audition for a coveted house share in The Hamptons – Manhattan’s elite beach scene – suddenly a new life is exactly what she’s got. Stretching before her is a summer with three eclectic housemates, long days on white sand ocean beaches and parties on gilded tennis courts. But high rewards bring high stakes and Rowena soon finds herself caught in the crossfire of a vicious intimidation campaign. Alone for the first time in her adult life, she has no-one to turn to but a stranger who is everything she doesn’t want – but possibly everything she needs.

A light and fluffy read is exactly what I got from this book, which is not a bad thing, especially since that was what I was after. At its heart it’s chick-lit – girl reflects on life in new and luxurious setting, conflict arises through mystery stranger, girl reassesses her choices. Typical, really. However, author Karen Swan goes a step further and adds a suspense element with a murder mystery and intimidation campaign linked to beach erosion. The romance aspect really takes a back seat and only flourishes toward the end. While this makes sense in that the book is about Ro’s character development while she’s on a “break”, and she’s not really “available”, the romance aspect did seem a bit rushed to me … as if, the summer is about to end, so let’s make this a happy ending. Overall, a pleasant and engaging read just right for unwinding, but not one that will linger in my mind for long. PS. I was really glad that Ro’s friend Hump was not the potential love interest for Ro – as a lover’s name, I just can’t take it seriously (though he did get plenty of action).

Available from good bookstores and Pan Macmillan (RRP $29.95). My copy was courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia.

Bookish treat: I confess to eating a block some chocolate while reading this.





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