It Happened One Summer

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Author: Polly Williams
ISBN: 978-0-7553-5925-7
RRP: $19.99

It Happened One Summer tells the tale of Nell Stockdale, a 37 year old single mother who is working hard in London and trying to juggle her career and her darling daughter while still having ‘grown-up time’ without the accompanying relationship. But it’s not all about Nell, the story centres largely around her deliciously dysfunctional family and the summer spent at the Stockdale house in Cornwall.


There is also a secondary thread to the plotline revolving around April, 43yr old housewife in a very comfortable life preparing to become a grandmother and the summer she follows her dream to return to painting.

Polly Williams tells the tale from a third person point of view in a way that will keep you turning pages trying to get to the bottom of the common denominator tying two of the lead characters together.

it happened one summer

The story remains fresh with many juicy dramas, as is to be expected when a dysfunctional family band together over summer to take care of their ageing mother when her primary carer takes an extended holiday.  Nell and her daughter Cass take up permanent residence in Cornwall for the duration of the summer while the rest of the family pop in and out as their lives allow.

There is tension, remorse and reminiscence in abundance as everyone learns, grows and changes with the turning of the seasons – and some rather large revelations.

It Happened One Summer is a tale of family; relationships being broken and reconstructed, unpacked baggage that is long overdue and some serious self development.

Reading back that makes this sound like quite a heavy going read but it’s not. Williams writes in a style that is easy to read and exciting. It’s light and humorous even though it can get quite messy.

Nell’s romantic drought has been going on far too long and it’s all set to come crashing down around her. She has a sexy young fling happening in London, a great bit of fun but far from getting serious, and it’s a long time between drinks considering mobile reception is patchy at best.

There is also her ex-boyfriend who is hanging around a bit over summer; and in the midst of planning his wedding – to Nell’s little sister. (Messy much?) No real surprise that Nell was reluctant to take on carers duty for the summer, it’s much easier to avoid the soon-to-be-brother-in-law ex-boyfriend if you stay in London.

But then there’s the hot surfer dude who own the beach cafe; he just happens to be on his way to single, successful and a great deal of fun to hang with.

Are all of Nell’s years of drought about to catch up with her in one giant crash?

The bigger question though is how much difference can one summer make to the baggage collected over a lifetime? Nell could be about to find out.

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