BOOK CLUB: White Sands of Summer

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Author: J.H. Fletcher
ISBN: 9781489259073
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: 20 May 2019
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

White Sands of Summer is the latest release by bestselling Australian author J.H. Fletcher, an epic Australian saga with dual timelines and a love that knows no bounds.


I read In The Valley of the Blue Gums last year and quite enjoyed it, so am looking forward to reading this one; and to hearing what our members thought.

Synopsis from the Publisher’s Website:

This multi-faceted saga tells the interlinked story of two sisters as they face poverty, loss and betrayal through the changing landscape of Australia in the 40s and 60s.

Will wealth and love be theirs for the taking or will they run like sand through their fingers?

No-one thought barmaid Shannon Harcourt stood a chance with Hal Maitland, heir to the vast Maitland fortune. Yet their unlikely relationship flourishes until, one summer’s day on the white sands of Charles Green Island, they realise their true feelings for each other – feelings that must motivate them to survive the coming war.

Forty years on, Shannon, a successful businesswoman and younger sister Jess, an accomplished chef, have left their days of poverty far behind. Shannon now has her sights set on purchasing the island where her young love began.

But when reclusive businessman, Dermot Black, becomes acquainted with Jess and shows interest in Charles Green, Shannon is wary of his motives. What could Black possibly want with the island, and why is he so interested in the Harcourt sisters?

A story of love and competing ambitions, and a reminder to never underestimate the determination of a woman.

White Sands of Summer is published by Harlequin Mira and available now where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harlequin Mira 15 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading White Sands of Summer so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: White Sands of Summer

  1. A first read of a novel by author J H Fletcher, was the book ‘White Sands of Summer’.

    A novel starting in the 1940s World War II error that introduced main characters Shannon Harcourt, a struggling impoverished country girl and her blossoming relationship with her rich neighbours son, Hal Maitland. Based in the environs of Queensland’s east coast we are also introduced to her step-sister Jess, various family members and the later characters of their children and those closely related to their work environment.

    I must admit I found the first few pages a little dull until the story line began to recount the early days of Shannon’s life. Her trials and tribulations and that of her step-sister Jess, were very poignant. A steady stream of occurring life experiences and a toughness of nature and maturity develops throughout the book, the two main female characters being very solid in nature by the time the book ends. Although I did find that some negative situations that occurred seemed to be brushed off too easily by the author; that being when Jess’ husband up and left her and their young son. Very little was made of this and I found the character’s reaction to this situation quite unrealistic. Also very little of Hal’s character was expanded on after the of post war era. The reader seemed to lose the essence of this character as the book developed. The minor characters weren’t concentrated on as solidly as the main characters.

    The underlying reference to urban development in the building industry wasn’t really to my liking but the ultimate strength of the characters still held my interest.

    It was an average book, one that spanned over a 40 year time frame, however it didn’t hold me spellbound. I read it in fits and starts as the story lost its impact towards the later part of the book. I found the reference to expanding business into Hong Kong and China and talk of construction tedious. The ending was dull. I’m not sure if I’d bother seeking out further books by this particular author.

    I’d like to thank Beauty & Lace and publishers Harlequin Mira for supplying this book for review.

  2. June 2019 selection
    Beauty and Lace Book Club, 11 July, 2019
    Book Review: White Sands of Summer by J.H.Fletcher
    An Australian historical story from 1925 – 1983 about two sisters who began in poverty but with determination and some help along the way each was able to achieve lifelong desires of success in their professional lives. Together, the two sisters work to achieve a goal of purchasing an island holding memories of young love.
    Initially I was interested in the story of rags to riches and found the first third of the book pulled me in as the characters developed. The middle third rounded out the characters well but the last third of the book let the story down. It felt like there was a race to the finish line, characters acted irrationally and without emotion in the rush to complete the story with an unsatisfying ending.
    Thank you Beauty & Lace and Harlequin, for the opportunity to read and review J.H.Fletcher “White Sands of Summer”.

  3. J.H. Fletcher has again kept me enthralled.
    Shannon and her sister Jess come from a harsh background as they were growing up. Going through more than young girls should. There relationship has grown over the years from sisters to business partners as they work hard to realise dreams.
    The reality of life has stepped in the way on many occasions but through love, support, guidance and stamina they have proven that you can make dreams a reality.
    A little guidance along the way, businessmen stepping in to hinder some plans but the result is truly a wonderful story of family, relationships, love, stamina and business.
    A great read!

  4. White sands of summer was fast paced story of the life of Shannon Harcourt intermingled with her half sister Jess and long time love Hal. It read easily, was well thought out with descriptions that were not over the top.
    Shannon came from a hard life which stood her in good stead to create the life she dreamed off and her daughter suffered from her driven goal. She was a product of her own creation. Hal was always in the back ground and did not seem to be overly fussed or involved in either his wifes or daughters futures which I found quite strange.
    Towards the end it felt the story was just ongoing trying to get to a certain point to finish. This seemed quite drawn out rather than actually telling and describing it like in the beginning.
    Overall I wasn’t that excited by it, but a good read none the less.

  5. White Sands of Summer by J H Fletcher is an historical novel set in Australia in Queensland during the nineteen 40s and 60s and concludes in the 1980s.
    It is a story of poverty, loss and love and the struggle of two sisters to rise above their disadvantaged childhood.
    The characters of the two girls are strong and well portrayed but I found the male characters, apart from Mr Black, not particularly well developed. Overall however I quite enjoyed the book.
    Thanks Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Mira for the opportunity to read and review White Sands of Summer.

  6. This is a hard one to review, I loved the first 2/3 of this novel, I was completely engaged, could totally feel what the characters were going through, their growing up, their developing relationship, the war, the attack on Darwin were all well developed. Then the last third totally let me down. I wasn’t in the story any more. I was just being told what happened in short choppy chapters, the addition of several characters story didn’t add a great deal, especially Shannon and Hal’s daughter, she I felt was a redundant character. I was also disappointed in how Hal faded into the background after starting off with such a wonderful relationship with Shannon, at one point I had to flick back to the beginning to make sure I’d read they were still married.
    This definitely isn’t my favourite JH Fletcher novel, if the last third had been more fleshed out it would have helped. The last chapter was good though.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Harlequin for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

  7. I wasn’t far into this book when I had the feeling that a saga would unfold. As an older woman, I was pleased to hear the voices of two quite middle aged women in Shannon and Jess. I was also quietly pleased that this was not the tome that some of my recent reads for Beauty and Lace had offered. This, I believe was the reason for my overall disappointment with J.H. Fletcher’s White Sands of Summer. I waited a week from finishing my read to confirm my feelings. There are gaps in the storyline that I wish had been expanded. There are so many positive aspects to the novel: the handling of Shannon’s service in wartime Darwin, the vivid descriptions of the time Jess spent in Singapore, the lovely sailing images. I wanted more words. I wanted more development in many of the relationships. I wanted to know more about characters, particularly Hal Maitland. There is a disturbing coldness in the parenting across generations that makes this reader wonder what chances Andrew and Erica may have for satisfying parent roles and what chances any offspring may have for fulfilling family lives. Thank you to Beauty & Lace and to Harlequin Mira for the opportunity to read and comment. I award 3 stars.

  8. White Sands of Summer is a novel set across the lives of the two main characters Shannon Harcourt and her sister Jess. They grew up in not the best circumstances but fourty years later Shannon is a successful businesswomen who has her heart set on buying the island where her young love began. I enjoyed most of the book but I feel like there were some parts of the story that weren’t realistic and the ending left me disappointed. And their was also a lot of property development themes as well which wasn’t that interesting. Overall it was an average book for me but thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Mira for the opportunity to review it.

  9. J.H. Fletcher’s White Sands of Summer.is not the favorite book I have read this year. The story tells of two sisters Shannon and Jess. They overcame poverty to become successful women. I did not think their relationship was portrayed very well. I did not get a good sense of them as sisters.
    Shannon’s beloved husband, Hal, was a shadowy figure and I could not quite believe Jess’s relationship with the elusive Mr Black. It seemed too contrived.
    Some parts of the story I really enjoyed. Especially the portrayal of Darwin during the war and the need to keep the island safe.
    There is always some great parts in most novels and although I am critical of this one I am pleased that I was given the opportunity to read it

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