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That Certain Summer

Irene Hannon
That Certain Summer
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Karen and Val are family - yet they're anything but close. Karen has carried the burden of responsibility for their aging mother ever since her gorgeous sister left town years ago to pursue a career in theater. But Val had darker reasons for leaving town (as well as a secret... Read More

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Karen and Val are family - yet they're anything but close. Karen has carried the burden of responsibility for their aging mother ever since her gorgeous sister left town years ago to pursue a career in theater. But Val had darker reasons for leaving town (as well as a secret to keep) and coming home has never been an option - until their mother suffers a stroke.

Reunited in their hometown, Karen and Val must grapple with their past mistakes, their relationship with each other and their issues with a mother who is far from ideal. When a physical therapist raising his daughter alone and a handsome but hurting musician enter the picture, the summer takes on a whole new dimension. As their lives intersect and entwine, can each learn how to forgive, how to let go, and how to move on? And strengthened by the healing power of faith, might they also find the courage to love?

With her trademark compelling characters and heartwarming hope, in That Certain Summer, fan favorite Irene Hannon offers her readers an inspiring true-to-life tale of complex family relationships, transgressions revealed and forgiven and the complicated process of finding love.

Product Details:
Page Count: 304
Released: 06/2013
  • Store Only: Yes
  • Product type: Book
  • Format: Softcover
  • Release Date: May 1, 2013
  • UPC: 9780800722494
  • Height: 0
  • Width: 0
  • Length: 0
  • Volumes/Discs: 1
  • Pages: 299
  • Publish Date: Jun 1, 2013
  • Language: English
  • Audience Age Maximum: 0
  • Audience Age Minimum: 0
  • BISAC: "FIC042040"
  • ISBN: 0800722493

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Review: That Certain Summer by Carole on 6/4/2013
Rating

That Certain Summer by Irene Hannon is a tender, heartwarming romance that takes place in the river town of Washington, Missouri - a departure from her trademark romantic suspense. It is an inspiring, true-to-life tale of complex family relationships, transgressions revealed and forgiven, and the complicated process of finding love. I enjoyed this uplifting story very much and am glad Irene again ventured into the women's fiction genre.

Summary

Karen and Val are family-yet they're anything but close. Karen has carried the burden of responsibility for her aging mother ever since her sister left town years ago to pursue a career in theater. But Val had darker reasons for leaving town – and had a secret to keep – so coming home has never been an option . . . until their mother suffers a stroke.

Reunited in their hometown, Karen and Val must grapple with their past mistakes, their own relationship and their issues with a mother who is far from ideal. When a physical therapist raising his daughter alone and a handsome but hurting musician enter the picture, the summer takes on a whole new dimension. As their lives intersect and entwine, each sister learns how to forgive, how to let go and how to move on. And strengthened by the healing power of faith, they also find the courage to love.

My thoughts

Irene has written numerous shorter novels in the women's fiction genre, but That Certain Summer is her first long contemporary romance, and I hope there will be many more. It is easy to read because the writing flows so smoothly, but there is great depth through its complex characters.

The story begins when two very different sisters, because of their mother's stroke, are brought together after years of hardly speaking.

"Storms, she could handle. This, however, was a tsunami." Karen has always been organized, competent, able to cope with whatever - the responsible daughter, in other words. "So far, she'd kept all her balls in the air, but how many more could she juggle? Didn't a shattered marriage, a job outside the home for the first time in more than a dozen years, and a rebellious daughter whose transition to teenager had been complicated by her parents' split provide enough challenges?"

Val, on the surface, seems to be the golden girl with a charmed life, Mom's favorite. But when David, Margaret's physical therapist, first meets Val, he realizes that "There were layers there, and deep, turbulent pools beneath the placid surface. Complexities and shadows and hidden corners, all safely concealed behind a beautiful face and great body."

Two other characters add richness to this story: Margaret, a manipulative, self-centered mother with a martyr complex, and Scott, a jazz musician and sole survivor of a horrible traffic accident.

I think the greatest strength of this story is its spiritual theme, which shows through fiction how Christ's teachings can be implemented in our daily lives. Val sought freedom from guilt by confronting her mistakes and dealing with them once and for all. Karen had spent her life trying to please people by being passive and giving in. Scott struggled with having to give up the musical career he had planned. Each character's spiritual journey unfolds in a realistic and interesting way. Repentance also enters into this story, an element not often mentioned in Christian fiction.

Something else that I loved about this story was the effective way Irene used the ministry of a local church - the minister's sermons and counseling, the church choir and Scott's interim directing, the hosting of a benefit to raise funds for a much-needed ministry. The church is the bride of Christ, where God works through believers, and many authors barely even mention it. Irene showed in a realistic way how effective the church can be in changing people's lives.

Irene excels at suspense fiction, but she also ranks among the best at contemporary romance and character development. That Certain Summer is a beautiful story of love and redemption, and I highly recommend it to all readers.

For more information about Irene and her books, visit her website at irenehannon.com.

Questions for group discussion can be found at: irenehannon.com/thatcertainsummer.html

Available June 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing.

This book was provided by Donna Hausler as part of the Revell Blog Tour in exchange for my honest review.

Struggling Sisters by Smiling Sally on 6/3/2013
Rating

This Christian fiction novel reveals an old secret combined with love and forgiveness.

Karen, a divorced mother of a teenager, feels frustrated as she bears all of the burdens of her life as well as those of her mother's illness. Her sister, Val, a high school drama teacher, chooses to live a good distance away and until now, has not found many opportunities to visit. However, when their mother suffers a stroke, Karen calls upon Val for help.

The two sisters struggle as they learn to work together to care for their unappreciative mother. Rehab therapy sessions, meal preparation, laundry, and other necessary errands fill their lives. Somehow, the sisters discover a comfortable respect for each other.

Thank you to Donna Hausler at Baker Publishing Group for my copy. Available June, 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


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