Top positive review
Better Than Expected Version of a Typical Tale - Loved This!!
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 6, 2015
"One Summer" took another stab (pun intended) at the "ex-con released back into the small town" romance story. I admit to having a fondness for that storyline, but I find that most stories are, sadly, pretty similar. It's a small town. The townsfolk look down upon the hapless ex-con, who, invariably was innocent all along. Some woman takes pity on the guy, and they fall for each other despite the disapproval from the townsfolk. This story was that story... But, it was more too...
The novel examined differences between social classes and the similarities that all mankind share. Rachel Grant, our heroine, is (as expected) in the higher social class, but she manages a hardware store and tries to care for her very ill, mentally departed, father (as well as her judgmental mother, and, later, her sister, when she shows up with her own troubles, which add even more depth to the novel). Johnny is the handsome man from the proverbial "wrong side of the tracks," and his parole is contingent upon employment, which he appeals to Rachel to provide. She, of course, does so without any hesitation. Their relationship develops as you might expect and, of course, with the full disapproval of everyone around them. I have to to say that I would have enjoyed this book, predictable as that tale is, had it stopped there. It was well-written, and I enjoyed getting to know the characters. I loved Johnny's spirit and refusal to be beaten despite the terrible hand he'd been dealt, and I respected Rachel for making up her own mind despite all of the naysayers.
I don't know if anything supernatural truly happened, but the twists in this story made me double-check that this wasn't meant to be a horror novel as the hairs on the back of my neck stood straight up, and I got the creeps! There is a massive twist embedded in this not-quite-as-predictable-as-I-thought story!! To be accurate, there were three supernatural-like anomalies that weren't explained. Maybe they were beyond this world. Maybe not. Either way, it made this an awesome read for me. I don't like horror books, so this stopped just shy of that—thankfully. Please don't interpret my commentary here to mean that this was a paranormal romance, because it truly wasn't. It just MAY have held an element or two of something "else."
For me, the culprit was guessable at about the 75% mark. I think that we were meant to guess. The author dropped more and more clues as the story progressed. It was quite difficult to predict what would happen (exactly anyway) from the revelation of the true killer through the final confrontation and ending, which housed yet another twist regarding an earlier plot thread that I can't mention without providing a spoiler at the same time.
I loved this. I really did. I always root for the underdogs, so Johnny was great from the start. As someone rooting for the underdogs, I had to love Rachel for trusting her instincts and not letting small-minded judgmental people influence her too much.
They were a great couple. This was a fantastic book. I'd give it more stars if allowed.
"With all the disparity in their backgrounds, they belonged together like two halves of a whole."
I'll leave the review with this quote... It's an insight into what makes this version of the same tale rise above the rest. This is a taste of the uniqueness found within the pages.
From the Perspective of Someone As Yet Unidentified: "From the air, islands dotting the ocean seemed complete in themselves. Only when one delved beneath the surface of the sea did one discover that islands were no more than the tips of gigantic mountains that the water concealed from view. Everyday personalities, the watcher considered, were like islands. But only the most perceptive were permitted to see what lay beneath."