Book review: The Summer We Lost Her

I did not know this author or this novel. I picked it up mostly for its cover, and the storyline set in New York’s Adirondack Mountains – an area I know well.

I enjoyed this dual storyline of an imploding marriage, set mostly in a grand but rustic cabin along the shores of Lake Placid.

Elise is married to Matt Sorenson. They have a young daughter, Gracie. Elise is often away from her family as she pursues her dreams of competing on the Olympic equestrian team in dressage. The planned sale of the Lake Placid cabin that has been in Matt’s family for generations could help finance Elise’s Olympic dreams.

Matt Sorenson is a lawyer aiming for a partnership, but his wife’s Olympic training schedule complicates his ability to put in the necessary hours. The sale of his beloved Lake Placid cabin should ease the financial burdens they face, and allow Elise to concentrate more on her family. After all, he has always dreamed of a larger family.

Elise and Matt conduct their parallel lives. The novel’s strength is the alternating chapters through the eyes of Elise and Matt. It is well-balanced, and the reader observes their point of view, and quickly grasps how little each understands of the other. The delicate balancing act that keeps their marriage intact is shattered when their young daughter goes missing from the Lake Placid cabin.

When circumstances require them to stand together and comfort one another, the chinks in their marriage grow wider as they blame one another for the tragedy and choices made leading up to the event.

This is an engaging read, with well-developed characters that plays out in an atmospheric setting.

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