More summer favorite reading … That Summer
After reading and enjoying Lauren Willig’s The Ashford Affair, I was happy to pick up That Summer.
Willig’s new novel is a dual narrative following both modern Julia Conley, a victim of New York’s financial crisis who finds herself out of a job, but inheriting a house – Herne House – from a mysterious aunt in England, and Imogen Grantham living in Herne House in 1849, and trapped in a loveless marriage.
When Julia travels to England to clean up the house and prepare to sell it, she chances upon a hidden painting by Gavin Thorne, an early member of the Pre-Raphaelite artistic movement.
As Julia begins to unravel the mystery of the artist and his connection to the Grantham family, she increasingly relies upon handsome antiques dealer Nicholas.
While far too often dual narrative stories can have you far too invested in the historical character, I felt that Willig’s novel provided interesting protagonists in both the 19th and 21st century, and I found myself happily switching back between past and present.
Admittedly, as someone who appreciates the Pre-Raphaelite movement, I think there could have been a bit more background of the movement and its (colorful) artists. Gabriel Dante Rossetti makes only a short cameo in the novel, and, although I was hoping for somewhat more, he never returned.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed the interwined stories of Imogen and Julia. This was an enjoyable read, and one I recommend as ‘This’ Summer draws to a close. Enjoy!
Happy back to school and work, Kimberly, if you are still enjoying the last bits of summer. Thank you for the book review. I am waiting impatiently for the fourth book from Elena Ferrante!
Hi Evelyne. Just back from vacation – kicking and screaming. : ) La rentree is always difficult. How was Maine? Were you also in France? Haha … give up and read Ferrante in italiano. : )
[…] I’ve been doing the Goodreads challenge for a few years now. And yes, I completed my challenge for 2015. Along the way, I wrote some reviews for books I enjoyed on these pages. See my earlier posts with book recommendations of books I read this year here, here, here and here. […]