Jane Green’s ‘Summer Secrets’ Offers Surprising Depth [REVIEW]
September 12, 2016 1 Comment
As the old saying goes, “Never judge a book by its cover.” That has never been more true than with Jane Green’s Summer Secrets. Upon first examination of the book jacket and the novel’s synopsis, I thought this would be a lighthearted beach read, yet it proved to be anything but fun.
Cat Coombs was a London party girl, drinking and hanging out with her friends every night… at least until she discovers that the father she never knew is living in Nantucket. We watch as her life goes hurtling off the rails before she learns to deal with the past to salvage her future. This is a multilayered, emotional read that will resonate with readers, particularly those who have ever had to delve into their own past and relive painful memories.
Green has a gift for bringing her characters to life, and she particularly does a wonderful job with Cat. From the moment I started reading this novel until the very end, I understood why Cat had so many questions about her family life, and how her past affects her even now. However, throughout the book, I couldn’t help but wonder if the obstacles in her past would keep her from ever obtaining the life she actually wanted for herself.
Cat, like so many great, complex characters in literature, is deeply flawed. She intends to improve her life, but her execution in doing so fails to hit the mark. As a result, she loses not only her husband, but custody of her child as well. It isn’t until this point that Cat takes changing her life seriously. Readers may feel as I did upon first meeting Cat, because I couldn’t help but think that I would never be friends with this woman because she doesn’t have any desire to change.
But therein lies the beauty of Summer Secrets. Green gives Cat’s life a vivid, realistic arc, so that the novel finally comes full circle, leaving readers happy that she is able to find some peace in her turbulent life, come to terms with her past, avoid the lure of alcohol, and ultimately become a complete person.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Green is the author of 16 New York Times bestsellers, including Summer Secrets, The Beach House, Second Chance, Jemima J, and Tempting Fate. Her books have been published in more than 25 languages and she has over 10 million books in print.
A former journalist in the UK, she has worked for ABC News, BBC Radio London, and is a regular contributor on radio and television. She’s appeared on shows like Good Morning America, The Martha Stewart Show, and The Today Show.
She also contributes to blogs and other publications online and in print, including The Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, Cosmopolitan and Self. She has taught at writers conferences, does regular keynote speaking, and has a weekly column in The Lady, England’s longest running weekly magazine.