Author: Lauren WilligSummary: 2009: When Julia Conley hears that she has inherited a house outside London from an unknown great-aunt, she assumes it’s a joke. She hasn't been back to England since the car crash that killed her mother when she was six, an event she remembers only in her nightmares. But when she arrives at Herne Hill to sort through the house—with the help of her cousin Natasha and sexy antiques dealer Nicholas—bits of memory start coming back. And then she discovers a pre-Raphaelite painting, hidden behind the false back of an old wardrobe, and a window onto the house's shrouded history begins to open... 1849: Imogen Grantham has spent nearly a decade trapped in a loveless marriage to a much older man, Arthur. The one bright spot in her life is her step-daughter, Evie, a high-spirited sixteen year old who is the closest thing to a child Imogen hopes to have. But everything changes when three young painters come to see Arthur's collection of medieval artifacts, including Gavin Thorne, a quiet man with the unsettling ability to read Imogen better than anyone ever has. When Arthur hires Gavin to paint her portrait, none of them can guess what the hands of fate have set in motion. From modern-day England to the early days of the Preraphaelite movement, Lauren Willig's That Summer takes readers on an un-put-downable journey through a mysterious old house, a hidden love affair, and one woman’s search for the truth about her past—and herself. ~amazon.com
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Bottom Line: Modern story more interesting than historical story
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Review: That Summer is a novel of two love stories: one forbidden and one with complications. It's pretty evident from the onset of Imogen's introduction to one of the artists where her story is going to go. She's in a love-less marriage and has been raising her step-daughter, Evie, as her own. Her husband, Arthur, is wrapped up in his business affairs and treats his wife in the same manner. Basically, Imogen is bored. What a better way to cure boredom than to have an illicit affair with an artist.
Julia grew up not knowing much about her mother or her mother's side of the family, so when she inherits the old family house, she decides to go to England to clean it out. As she discovers a painting that is tucked away in an old wardrobe, the mystery of who painted it. The house is also starting to bring back memories of her childhood before she moved to New York with her father.
This is only my second Lauren Willig book and I have to say I enjoyed The Ashford Affair much more. It wasn't too hard to figure out the mystery of the novel. What interested me more was what Julia started to uncover about her mother and the accident that killed her. I also liked how falling for Nicholas made her reflect on her inablity to stay in long term relationships.
While it might not be my pick for book of the year, I still enjoyed reading it.