Author: Jane Green
Published: June 23rd 2015 by St. Martin's Press (USA)
July 2nd 2015 by Macmillan (UK)
Amazon | Amazon UK
Blurb: June, 1998: At twenty seven, Catherine Coombs, also known as Cat, is struggling. She lives in London, works as a journalist, and parties hard. Her lunchtimes consist of several glasses of wine at the bar downstairs in the office, her evenings much the same, swigging the free booze and eating the free food at a different launch or party every night. When she discovers the identity of the father she never knew she had, it sends her into a spiral. She makes mistakes that cost her the budding friendship of the only women who have ever welcomed her. And nothing is ever the same after that.
June, 2014: Cat has finally come to the end of herself. She no longer drinks. She wants to make amends to those she has hurt. Her quest takes her to Nantucket, to the gorgeous summer community where the women she once called family still live. Despite her sins, will they welcome her again? What Cat doesn’t realize is that these women, her real father’s daughters, have secrets of their own. As the past collides with the present, Cat must confront the darkest things in her own life and uncover the depths of someone’s need for revenge.
First of all I would like to thank the publishers for sending me a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Review: In Summer Secrets we meet Cat, a recovering alcoholic with a daughter. Thanks to flashbacks, we get to know her from her childhood, through her difficult teen years to her adulthood and it feels like by the end of the book, Cat is like a dear old friend of us. Her story is full of bad decisions, mistakes and pain and there were moments when I didn't like Cat at all, she could be selfish and self-centered but through the story, she showed us what a strong woman she could be with a bit of support of her loved ones.
Reading about her years struggling with her addiction was heart-breaking and emotional, especially when she first had her daughter and was still with her husband. I was shocked with her behaviour but I could see that she no longer controlled her life, alcohol did. And then, it was very inspiring to read about her present, how she had made the decision of being a better mother and a better person and how she kept going, appreciating the little things of life and always refusing to let alcohol control her again.
Cat definitely made a great main character and she awoke a lot of emotions in me but it was not all about her. The secondary characters played a big role in the story too. Starting with Cat's mother, who had a summer affair in her youth that changed her life and later Cat's life forever. I think she was a very complex character and really well developed and I found it very interesting to read about her. There were also the characters in Nantucket. A very special place for both Cat and her mother, I'd say it was the place where big changes happened (and unexpected twists too). Jane Green described life in the island perfectly, I could easily picture the houses and the beaches and the holidaymakers, and how different they were from the islanders. Finally, I can't forget two very dear characters to me, Cat's best friend and Cat's ex-husband. Each one on their own gave this story the spark it needed.
Raw, emotional but also uplifting, Summer Secrets is not your usual light summer read but one well worth checking. It will take you on a roller coaster of emotions from the first page to the last. Jane Green's talent certainly keeps on surprising us.