BOOK CLUB: The Book of Summers

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Author: Emylia Hall
ISBN: 978-0-7553-9084-7
RRP: $29.99

The Book Of Summers is Emylia Hall’s debut novel and was inspired by childhood holidays spent in rural Hungary. This book evokes a myriad of emotional responses sure to touch everyone who had a childhood shared between separated parents.

Covered in what I can only guess is Morning Glory on a background of glorious sky blue this volume is eye catching and reminiscent of summer. It is a paperback book but has the foldout cover flaps which I always consider using as a bookmark but can never bring myself to.

The Book Of Summers is set in the present but much of the story takes place in the past by way of a trip down memory lane.

the book of summers

From very early on you know that something big has happened to further tear apart an estranged family but you can never be sure just what it is. The answer to this is never even hinted at throughout the book though whenever Aunt Jessica visits you can tell there is something she disapproves of.

Beth is a puzzle to all of those around her, something of an enigma that no-one has been allowed close enough to unravel. For reasons as yet unknown Beth keeps everyone at a distance, never letting anyone close enough to really know her. We learn early on that this is in some way related to her childhood but it isn’t until the closing chapters that we discover the life-changing event that totally changed the course of her life – and her name.

An unscheduled visit from her father sets the wheels in motion for a big discovery, because that’s something that just isn’t done so there is sure to be more to it than a family catch-up. With him he brings a parcel that has arrived in the post, a parcel that resonates with the past and comes very close to being discarded unopened.

Eventually the parcel is opened and found to contain a letter bearing bad news and a photo album with the power to transport Beth to the childhood summers that held such promise when she holidayed in rural Hungary with her mother. Snapshots that thrust her back to that time, that place and allow us to share her time in Hungary. A time of awakening and growing up where she was free to explore and experiment.

As Beth remembers we tag along and hear all about her childhood. The week in Hungary is vivid and detailed allowing us to really share the experience with her, as she grows and matures under the Hungarian summer sun. The rest of the year isn’t completely left out but it is skimmed through briefly with the entire year taking as much time and space as that one magical week.

Beth grows up spending time not only with two separated parents but in two separate countries and in two very different worlds. Hungary is all about life, love, beauty and vivacity which can not compare to the dull and drab existence in England where it’s all about looking forward to the next letter, the next phone call, the next visit – where everything is about the anticipation of Hungary.

All of this takes us on that path down memory lane through the entry into puberty, the first crush, the first kiss, the first smoke, the first drink – all of which take place in Hungary. Almost like life is put on hold in England and all of the living happens in that one magical summer week in Hungary.

So what could possibly happen in that 7th Hungarian summer visit to change the balance so much that the book is shut, along with that place in heart and head where Hungary resides and Beth manages to erase all of Hungary as if it never existed? Well that’s something you are going to have to discover for yourself – I’m not telling.

This is a book that touched me as I think it will touch all who have grown up with separated parents. A book that describes that search for identity where your location changes who you are, different people in different places so who does that make you if something changes?

Our panel members have been reading The Book of Summers, find out what they thought below…

41 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Book of Summers

  1. I’ve just received My Book of Summers and can’t wait to get stuck in. In fact I’m going to start it in the park in my lunch break. The presentation looks good and it definitely looks like one of my kind of books.

  2. I loved this book so much. It was such a change from what I have been reading and I loved how each page was another chapter in Beth’s life. I loved how simplistic her life was even though the heartbreak was there it really made me remember the summers of my youth and the fun and silly things young girls worry about, and it’s not very often a book makes me think about things in my life, as I always escape to their world and their places, but this made reminiscing about childhood memories a real joy.
    I loved how Beth thought and acted and how her mind worked and processed everything, I loved how the Hungarian landscapes of Villa Serena were described. It really took me away to another place and time.
    I enjoyed the flutter of young love with Tamas and Beth and all the awkwardness and doubt that goes along with it, I can’t recall how many times I have felt that way when I was a young to teen girl.
    The book is so refreshing and such a great story to read, and it ties together well with the hurt and the seering pain that happens in life, Marika seemed to ignite every sort of emotion in Beth and those around her being the free spirit that she is.
    Well worth going and reading, can’t wait to see what Emylia Hall writes next, if it is anything like The Book Of Summers I will definitely be lining up for it.

  3. I really enjoyed this novel. It didn’t grab me instantly, but after twenty pages or so I found myself quite deeply absorbed in it. We know from the blurb on the back that something awful is going to happen at some point in the novel, and it’s surprising just how thoroughly I was caught up in Beth’s happiness, even knowing it was going to go crash at some point. You’d have thought I’d have kept my distance, but Ms Hall sweeps you up in her character’s feelings so thoroughly that you just can’t resist.

    It was wonderful how vivid all the emotions in the novel were, without ever becoming cartoon like. Joy, sadness, uncertainty, anger, tentative first love – all very vivid. I could feel some of them right along with the characters. Right up to the end, where the sense of sadness, and resolution, and tentative hope all combined to make a really memorable ending. And I liked the fact that it wasn’t an “easy” ending either – there were still challenges for Beth to face.

    Beth was a great character, one that I think a lot of people will empathise with. I appreciated the way she changed throughout the book – her growth from a child to a young woman to an adult was depicted very well, in a subtle and indirect way that nevertheless made her changing personality and understanding very clear to the reader.

    This is a book about “real” people with real emotions and real problems, and it’s one of the best of it’s kind that I’ve read for ages. It’s a really solidly realistic novel and I think it’ll linger in my memory for a while – and that’s saying something because I read a lot.

  4. Well I just finished the book last night and found it to be a very evocotive and moving story. It keeps you engaged to the end with a feeling that something is going to happen but you are not sure what. I was unprepared for the twist and did not see it coming I must admit. My only disappointment was not finding out what happened to Tamas, but this is a really good read!

  5. I have just finished ‘The Book of Summers’ and I enjoyed it immensely! Like some of the other reviewers I found the first few pages a little hard to get into but I was soon caught up in the story of Erzsi and here magical summers with her Hungarian mother, escaping the humdrum existence in Devon with her Dad.

    The rich depictions of Hungary, the landscape and the people are a delight! Also the richness of her relationship with her mother and the more reserved one with her father are beautifully detailed as is the big secret, that brings the Hungarian summers to an end and changes Erzsi to Beth.

    I would have loved a couple more chapters on what happened next (Tamas! Zoltan!). But even as I write this I am imagining it all in my mind…… A great read and well worth the journey!

  6. The Book of Summers is the perfect read when looking to extend your usual taste in your reading style. I found it difficult to get into initially but as the story of Beth and the book of summers progressed I was really glad I stuck with it.This book is a coming of age tale about longing and belonging. It is where childhood memories emerge illustrating both the lies told, shared truths, and a hidden secret that is revealed in Beths last summer in Hungary. An incredibly enticing and visually desriptive read.

  7. I loved this book. I loved the way it was written, and found the phrasing to be descriptive and kind of quirky. I would like to say a big thank you to Beauty & Lace for giving me the opportunity to read and review ‘The Book of Summers’.

    Beth relives her childhood summers in rural Hungary through the pages of a scrapbook called ‘The Book of Summers’. These summers represented some of the best days of her life, as well as some of the most painful. There is a certain feeling to those long summer days of childhood, when the summer seems to go on forever and the days are hot and languid . . . and this book evoked those feelings so magically. I found myself remembering my own childhood summers, and although they were not spent anywhere nearly as exotic as Hungary, I remembered those times in my life with the same longing and bittersweet feelings that Beth felt.

    The author did a fantastic job of illustrating the strong, topsy-turvy and often melodramatic emotions of childhood and the early teen years, so much so that I actually found the character of Erzsi / Beth somewhat frustrating. She refused to live her life, simply counting the days until she could be in Hungary again. When she got there, she would become upset that Marika, Zoltan and Tamas had in fact continued to live their own lives despite her absence. I tried so hard to understand how hurt and confused she must have felt when the big secret was revealed, but couldn’t come to terms with the fact that she NEVER let it go until it was too late. Her hard-hearted decision seemed to me to be mostly about ego and the humiliation she was feeling, and her actions affected not only her own life but the lives of the four other people who loved her the most.

    This book reminds me that family is not just biological . . . family are those people who are in our hearts, those who are part of the fabric of our lives. We need to love and appreciate them each day because they may not be around forever.

    If you like a book with ups and downs, happiness and heartbreak and lots of emotion, definitely give The Book of Summers a go!

  8. I was drawn into not putting this down. It did take a few pages to be pulled in though but after that – well what can I say, it was brilliant.
    The characters are like real people, people you see everyday.
    Beth is like the girl next door, everyone knows her and will empathise with her. Its almost as if you are with the characters and you know them personally. Everything is described extremely well so that you do feel you are there.
    Well worth the read!!

  9. I am going to be honest about this novel The Book Of Summers, when I first started reading it, I thought I dont know how I am going to finish this. I just couldnt get into it, but I am one of those people that never give up and I certainly wasnt going to on this occassion.
    At first it didnt really feel like the story was going anywhere, but the further you delve into Beths life, the more that you realise that there is an underlying secret that really needs to be disclosed. I read the first few chapters and realised that the main story was going to be about Beths short holidays to Hungary to visit her mother and mothers partner Zoltan. It does explain that Beths father David and mother Marika have split but in kind of unusual circumstances.
    The whole time I was reading this novel, I knew that there was something big coming, but had no idea what that was.
    We go through each summer holiday visit with Beth from a young girl through to a teenager, and all of the wonderful discoveries and emotions and insecurities that these times bring.
    I ended up finding this to be a very interesting read and was not prepared for the twist in the story, but if you really want to know what that is, you will just have to read the book for yourself. You wont be disappointed.

  10. The Book of Summers isn’t a book I would ever think to purchase to be honest. After the first chapter I was hooked…even reading it whilst cooking and trying to busy my children with activities so I could hurry through it. Emylia Hall has such a way with words that you can literally visualise yourself in the moment – she describes each part with great detail. I found myself lost in the chapters and all the while wanting so badly to know why on earth Beth erases her past. The twist really got me, I imagined something totally different. The twist is really sad and I found myself angry with Beth, Marika really deserved more but then again being young it’s hard to manage emotions all that well. This is a book I’ll be passing on and thinking of for some time to come that’s for sure. Great read !

  11. I also forgot to mention that when I received my book it came in a beautiful recyclable bag, I found it to be a wonderful touch by the publishing company.

  12. The Book of Summers is a great read – the cover alone invokes feelings of dreaming and holidays away with it’s cursive script and drawings of flowers.

    It did take me a while to get into this book – but once I got into it I couldn’t get out. I thought it was wonderfully written with it’s details into Hungarian Summer holidays. The characters are a varied bunch, and I found myself a bit confused by Erzi/Beths actions at times but that was only a minor issue. They were all different in their own ways, and I felt I went on their rollercoaster of high and low emotions.

    Overall I thought it was a fantastic book, so thanks to Beauty and Lace for giving me the chance to read it 🙂

  13. I just finished reading The Book Of Summers….wow! What a beautiful and emotion-filled story. It definitely kept me wanting to read more as every page went along. I think I almost cried even, it was so beautiful. Two massive thumbs up. I am now going to give this book to someone else so that they too can enjoy reading it ias much as I have.

  14. As soon as I received this book I loved it. The design of the cover is beautiful and draws you in straight away. In saying that my first thoughts were that the story itself didn’t immediately pull me in so I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it, though after reading the first few chapters I started to feel as though I couldn’t put it down!!

    I felt like it was a book I could relate to. Erszi was going through many things I have growing up. I had a soft spot for her father and everytime she went away on her summer holidays I felt sad for him.

    Emylia Hall is an amazing writer, I could see every part of Villa Serena her description on every aspect was very real and made you feel apart of the story.

    After reading about Erszi and her summers in Hungary I felt an urgency to visit just to see how real it all is. It seemed like she had a beautiful childhood while she was visiting.

    I would recommend this book as I enjoyed reading it.

  15. I enjoyed the book of summers, I was ready to give up at chapter 4, but i stuck with it and it got better, some descriptions drag on a bit too much and i found i would skip paragraphs. I enjoyed reading about hungary with such a different culture and all the characters were great. I loved the twist that i wasnt expecting. I would have liked the ending to be different so we could find out about Tamas. I dont think i would recommend it as its just too hard to get in to from the beginning.

  16. What a pretty cover and back page blurb to get you motivated. I loved getting to know the characters and their distinctly different locations – also how their personalities changed within those locations. As I got further into the story, my mind came up with multiple scenerios of what could go wrong – and guess what? None of them were right. I shed a few tears towards the end – feeling the loss for everyone, but the ending helped me to feel confident in the characters again and the future that lay ahead.
    I found the descriptions clear and they helped in setting the moods within the story.
    I enjoyed taking the holidays with Beth / Erszi and remembering my own childhood memories of holidays gone. Hungary sounds magical.
    Thanks for the chance to be one of the first readers – my friends are already enjoying the read too!

  17. Well, firstly may I just say that the book arrived packaged beautifully in a recyclable bag; a very nice touch.
    This book took me a while to get very absorbed in it; but it was a rather enjoyable read.
    I loved the authors very detailed descriptions of landmarks and characters.
    I did feel however, that a little bit more could’ve happened throughout the story just to hold my attention a bit more.
    I liked the characters, particularly Beth’s father and Tamas, but was disappointed that we didn’t find out what happened to Tamas. I loved how each chapter was a different summer. It was an enjoyable read but somewhat forgettable I must say; not one of those books that stay in your mind for days after you’ve finished reading it. But I would still recommend it, particularly for a holiday read. I will look out for future novels from this author.

  18. I was absolutely delighted to receive this lovely book and there was also a large re-usable book bag that came with it which I have since been using as my library bag. Perfect size for lots of books! 🙂

    Being a sucker for beautiful book covers, this one is totally gorgeous and made me even more anxious to begin reading!

    I thoroughly enjoyed being taken back to each summer and living them out through the magnificent, detailed descriptions in each chapter.

    This book was very well written and easy to understand and follow. It constantly kept me guessing and eagerly reading each word, page after page and losing track of time.

    I look forward to seeing more books by this author and reading them in the future.

    Thank you Beauty & Lace for another enjoyable reading experience to keep my mind out of reality! 🙂

  19. By the end of the first chapter I felt the strong and undeniable ‘hook’ that the author sends out to grasp the readers attention. I couldn’t put it down after chapter 1! In the chapters 2,3 & 4 the book is like a flower bud opening it’s all-interesting petals to produce a platform for the rest of the book to be read from.

    There is little sexual references in this novel after about chapter 5, as the teen Beth grows up, and it personally annoyed me to see a teen in that light but maybe that was just me because I’m probably more prudish than most unfortunately! Most people probably wouldn’t even batt an eyelid.

    It was an interesting novel which kept me intrigued as to how it was all going to end. By the end, I did feel like I still wanted to know more about the rest of these characters lives: a great trampoline for the next book to follow on! This could have been done on purpose by the author I think??

    A lovely cover with pretty flowers made me want to read it in the beginning just to hold it. Plus the fact that it was about ‘summers’ grabbed me because I love summer!

  20. I won’t say this book was exciting or action packed, nor was it a book I would have chosen to read from a book store.However, this is a book which totally took me by surprise with the beautiful imagery and simple, believable story, one which in many ways I could relate to personally. Delightfully descriptive I absolutely loved the Hungarian setting with its vivacious and open hearted people. What I would give to know a woman as wonderful as Marika –so what if there was an untruth at the base of the story –this woman loved with a full heart. Poor David, his heart was full of pain and grief over his wife that he had nothing left to give.
    A lovely, well written book which evoked feelings of longing in me for the wonderful summers in Hungary, rich in art, love, strength and vitaltiy.
    I would recommend reading this book but don,t expect the usual.
    Also loved the bag.

  21. This book didn’t grab me instantly, but once it did I certainly got carried away. I actually felt I could smell the Hungarian foods and countryside alongside Beth, and truly got to share in her emotions as she relived her past and learnt so much about her mother and her history.
    I particularly liked the cover design of the book as well! Helped me to get into the frame of mind and indulge in this story.

    Thank you for the chance to review it!

  22. I sat down and read this book in my break and I was just kept reading.
    It was well described the whole way through the book. The author was clever with the way they described every aspect within the book and the story.
    I liked the main character and thought she was relate-able to myself in some ways.
    I loved the look of the book and it was the perfect size to carry around in a small bag and take with you on your daily commute.
    Thanks for a wonderful read.

  23. I was very excited to receive this book, it came beautifully presented. i was excited to be reading this book as a quick read of the inside cover and the intrigue starts. The book slowly revealed little secrets of forgotten summers. While I enjoyed the book I was very much wanting to be “taken back” into the summer that was being described. I felt I was left that little bit wanting and was more an observer from outside the window (so to speak) than part of the story being told. When reading I like to be transported to that time. In saying this, in some parts of the book was really good at this I just found that the “remembering parts” did not transport you. Overall I thought the author did a marvellous job of keeping you guessing until the end, and even then it was nothing that I would have imagined. I very much look forward to reading this author again.

  24. I have just finished reading this book, and I do have to admit, like some other reviewers, it took me a while to “get in to it”, but I’m glad that I persevered! What a beautiful, if not a melancholic, story, that was well written. The way the scenery of both Hungary and England were described in the written word, made you feel like YOU were there too. I loved the story of Beth’s life and how she dealt with it, as I felt like that too when I was growing up, which did make me reminisce somewhat. Thank you again for the opportunity to review this wonderful book (and thank you also for the cute bag). I am now going to pass it on to someone else, so that they can discover the beauty of reading this book.

  25. when i received my copy i was delighted with the bag and the pretty cover,this is not my usual type of book and i found the first few chapters slow going bit i persevered, i enjoyed reading about beths summers in hungary and being english myself and brought up in dorset which is the county next to devon i was familar with the area of beths childhood all the worries of growing up are there with a bigger puzzle in the background i found it quite sad in the respect that if only these people had talked to each other so much could have been shared by them all, and aunt jessica nearly everyone has a relative just like her on the whole a good read especially sitting out in the sun in the back garden i will be passsing on the book to a friend who did spend her childhood being shunted between seperated parents to see what she thinks .

  26. Well I finished this book last night. Usually I don’t take this long to read a book but I couldn’t get into this story straight away. It was very slow to begin with.
    I love the books cover, gorgeous and I loved the free environmental bag that came with it. Thanks for that Beauty and Lace.
    As I said I found the story very hard to get into. But then about 1/4 of the way through I began to enjoy it and get carried along with the story. I preferred reading the parts of the story that were set in Hungary and Villa Serena, the author wrote with much more passion in these areas the parts of the story set in England were dull and boring.
    I loved the freedom and earthiness that portrayed Marika and Zoltan and how that rubbed off on Erzsi after one visit. The Summer’s were wonderful and reminded me of how much fun Summer was for me too when I was growing up. And of having a first love.
    But the end of the story I absolutely hated with a passion. I was so frustrated with Erzsi and how her decision took away everything, not only from her but also from Marika, Zoltan and Tamas. I was hoping that she would’ve changed her mind and honestly could not understand the Author’s thinking of making a character so shallow and uncaring. And I’m sorry but making amends with Zoltan after Marika dies doesn’t count. I was angry that she kept her relationship with her Dad alive but wiped Marika completely, when all Marika showed Erzsi was love and maternal caring. She was more of a Mum to Erzsi than her real Dad was a father.

  27. What a great book!! I was a little unsure at first but it didn’t take long to intrigue me!

    I think the author portrayed the character of Erzsi perfectly, her thoughts , her feelings, her outlook on life are all something that I can completely relate to. The things that young girls dwell on that looking back now as a 40 year old seem so unimportant. I laughed out loud at some of the Erzsi/Tamas exchanges (or rather lack of!) eg : when she would completely ignore him but be willing him to notice her with all of her being!!! Who hasn’t been there as a young girl!!

    Although I loved the book, I did find it incredibly sad that Erzsi and Marika’s relationship was just severed so completely after them having grown so close over the summers with Erszi living the rest of the year just waiting for those precious weeks. Maybe it is a result of the book looking at the whole situation through a teenagers eyes, the fact that the revelation brought the truth of Erzsi’s life so bluntly back. I think she had such a mundane life the rest of the year and looked forward so much to hungary and being like “her mother”, so care free and full of life that she just couldn’t comprehend the idea that she wasn’t a part of Marika and felt bitterly betrayed or maybe ashamed?. Her only way to deal with it was to pretend it never happened.

    Finally, is there to be a sequel where we find out about Tamas et al??? I was left feeling that maybe we hadn’t heard the last of Erszi/Beth!!! Am I the only one???

  28. THis book is a true delight.
    To start with it took me a little to get into the book bit all of a sudden things clicked and i was away. The really interesting thing for me was that my eldest daughter had just printed of a bunch of her travel photos and delighted in showing me her photos of Hungary and blow me down…she had photos of the locations mentioned in the book so i felt an even stronger connection.
    The story is a delight and takes you on the emotional journey that Erszi takes when her father delivers a package to her which contains a scrapbook that her mother had gathered together over the years and covers each year that Erszi had spent with her in Hungary. As Erszi’z parents had parted ways and she was living with her father in england so would spend a few weeks each year with her mother. Now that her mother has passed away and Erszi has the scrapbook she is taken back through the years one by one as she views the photos that her mother had collected. Memories of her first kiss and the emotions she felt over the boy.
    I found this to be a wonderful book and very much showed you the world from a young teens outlook.
    Its ceartainly one that i would suggest you read and persist with as once it captures you as im sure it will then you will find you hunger to know what will happen next.

  29. I loved the cover of this book – it’s so pretty and it was lovely to come in a matching bag, which will come in handy to carry my books around in. I was looking forward to reading this book, but once I started I actually found it really hard to read. I just couldn’t get into it because I couldn’t work out what it was all about. I didn’t really care about each separate summer story because I couldn’t see the link. I had to force myself to finish the book for this review, but if I didn’t have to review it, I’m not sure that the book would have ever been finished. At the end of the book, however, the stories all come together and I ended up thinking it was a really beautiful story. I now want to go back and read it again, with a new understanding about the ‘secret’ for the book. I’m really glad that I persisted and thank you to Beauty and Lace for ‘encouraging’ me to read something that I would have just normally left >:o)

  30. I love the title of this book and the cover was very pretty. The calico bag that it was presented in was a nice surprise,that I now regularly use as a library bag.:)

    I also was really looking forward to reading this book as the blurb sounded so good and addictive. But, sadly as other people have already mentioned, I found this book difficult to read.

    I persisted with this book and occasionally enjoyed reading about the summer secrets,lies and truths. But honestly this book wasn’t my cup of tea and often found myself bored or sleepy after reading a chapter or two.

  31. Thank you for giving me the chance to review this book. My first impression was the gorgeous presentation it came in, in a tote bag labelled The Book of Summers and the book cover too with its beautiful blue and green cover was equally gorgeous and well presented. But onto the book. I have to be honest and say this book was really slow and it took ages to take off but yet still I was intrigued by the stark contrast of Devon and Hungary and the relationships between Beth and her father and that of her and Marika. I did feel that the relationship of Beth and her father could have been acknowledged abit more earlier in the piece rather than just focusing on the exotic Marika and the relationship of Beth and Tams could have been explored further at the end of the book.
    Other than that, in the end, once the twists and revelations came about, the author finished the story up well.

  32. I started the book and found it very slow going, found it very easy to put down after reading a few pages, and read on and off over a week, as I had lost interest in the story as it sometimes was to descriptive. Chapter 9 started with a twist, that I did not expect, and I read the rest of the book without stopping, sometimes with a tear in my eye , for Eresi her father and Marika and their relationship

  33. The Book of Summers is definitely one to add to your ‘must read’ list. I found it a little slow going to begin with, but it’s definitely worth sticking with as it’s a real gem of a read that has left me planning my next holiday to Hungary.

  34. From the moment I opened the package in the mail and saw the book, I took an immediate liking to it. The warm blue, hints of metallic gold and air of mysterious summers in distant lands – it was an enticing literary invitation. The tote bag that also arrived from the publishers was another nice surprise!

    Though I did personally find the book a bit slow to get into, it quickly developed into a captivating story of memories, relationships and emotional growth – a very universal exploration of humanity that allows the audience to easily empathize and relate to the very realistic characters of the novel, specifically Beth. Her childhood summers in rural Hungary provide the backbone of the story and slowly unravel to reveal the aspects of her past that contributed to the person that she is today. The story also builds up well to the final revealing chapters at the end – for those who are yet to read it, hang in there because it will be worth it.

    Emylia Hall writes in a style that flows smoothly and makes for easy reading, whilst continuing to capture the raw essence of the story, and I specifically enjoyed the very rich and detailed descriptions of the Hungarian scenery. The book will probably not appeal strongly to readers who enjoy fast-paced novels with a lot of action as this is more of a melancholy, narrated tale, but if you are looking for a journey into exotic places and stepping into the shoes of some interesting characters, this will be a good book for you.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to review this book. 🙂

  35. I was very lucky to be able to read this Book Club book and this is very different to movie & TV reviewing. I have a new respect for Michelle, that’s for sure.

    As a woman with a difficult relationship with my mother, I found the story all too familiar. I was drawn into Beth’s world, especially in Hungary, as she tried to anchor herself to the land, desperate to belong somewhere. I felt there was always something simmering beneath the surface and if Beth relinquished any control of her emotions, her world would come crashing down again.

    I could feel the differences between England & Hungary as keenly as Beth could….. the colours, the food, the smells, the landscape. The author gave us 2 worlds and painted both with equal passion.

    A lovely book with hidden depths as we meander through summers in Hungary and watch a woman discover who she really is.

  36. This book dragged me in pretty much instantly. The author’s use of words paints such vivid pictures that I felt i was there amongst it. Beth’s character intrigues me, I loved the way her mind works, the way she sees things & processes them.
    I would definately recommend this book & thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thanks so much beauty & lace! 🙂

  37. All I can say it’s a beautiful story. Difficult to get into in the beginning, and took longer for me to finish as it was easy to put down. But I persisted and I’m glad I did . Hungary was never on my list of holiday destinations before I read this book. Now it is!
    I loved the over and the calico bag was a great touch.

  38. Well, it looks like I’m going to have to disagree with most of you…..I just could not get into this book; made it about half way through and had to concede defeat which is most unlike me.
    I could not connect with any of the characters at all: the mother Marika seemed to be a caricature of which I have read many times before. When I read the blurb about the book I anticipated that I would really enjoy it: it sounded quite intruiging – but it was just not to be.
    I really wanted to like this book, but it just failed to grip me.

  39. I found this a very sad book but extremely vivid and descriptive but not boringly so! I did not see the ending coming…I mean I knew something was bubbling there but now I can kind of understand why Marika left Beth to pursue her own life. Still a tough decision and very sad that the two of them never made peace. One of those books that remind us to make the most of each day and not to hold grudges.

  40. The Book of Summers .
    Firstly I thought the artwork was stunning. Had I seen it on a shelf it would have enticed me to buy it! The calico bag was also a nice idea.
    Like some of the others I found it somewhat hard to “get into” but I did persist and glad I had. The characters were interesting enough.. although I didnt have a lot of empathy for the father in the story.
    I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others.
    Thanks B&L for the opportunity to review. x

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