The Summer Letters
By: Elyse Douglas
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, Contemporary Romance
When Vanessa finds a rusty coffee can filled with old letters hidden away in a summer beach cottage, she learns of a haunting and secret affair dating back to the 1950s.
Determined to find the woman whose life parallels her own in many ways, Vanessa searches for the woman and her lover, uncovering past and present secrets that finally reveal a shocking truth.
Over the course of the summer, Vanessa’s own life is transformed by the possibilities of love and new beginnings, even as she confronts the lingering pain of her own past.
The Summer Letters is a celebration of the enduring promise of hope and the unbreakable bonds of love.
I remember back in my elementary days I read the book Summer of My German Soldier. I read it a dozen times, not just because I loved it but because I was a member of my school’s Battle of the Books team. Ever since, I’ve had a fascination with the late 1930’s-late 1940’s. I love the fashions, the determination of the people, the growth in normal social norms.
So when I saw The Summer Letters Blog Tour sign up, I knew right away it was my kind of book. And boy, was I not disappointed. Well written in the female MC’s POV, we get to see a parallel between the two women’s lives. Though vastly different people not only in time, but in circumstance, we can easily see how these two women came to stay in the same cottage, on the same beach, and how each fell for someone that changed their lives forever.
I like the way Ms. Douglas switched POVs between the two women. We get glimpses into the Rhonda’s life through her lover’s letters at first, catching a glimpse into the harsh realities of the life of a 1950’s woman. Our curiosity is fed as we time-jump between the two women, who are fighting with the demons of their past to obtain a better future. The letters are windows into Rhonda and Hal’s relationship.
Douglas does an amazing job giving us snips through Hal’s letters, following Vanessa on her chase, and finally showing us through Hal and Rhonda’s eyes what really happened.
I couldn’t stop reading, not for a moment. Vanessa confessed to feeling like family to Rhonda & Hal, and I must admit, I did, too. I wanted to see where Rhonda wound up, where did Hal disappear to? Whatever happened to Casper (Seriously, Douglas, where did that dog end up??)?
The emotions of all the different characters, the drives, passions, memories are all so expertly woven, we get a taste of what life was like for Veterans, women, small town folk, and all those people we think have lived too long to remember (but they never really forget, do they?). Everyone experiences life differently, and we see that in numerous ways here.
I was bound with Vanessa in the hunt for these two people. I wanted to know their story, and I was practically begging for a happy ending for them. I cried tears of joy (tiny tears, but, hey, I can’t wake up the kid with all my ugly crying, now can I?) there at the end.
Such an amazing read. Flawless.
About the Author
Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the husband and wife writing team of Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington. Elyse began writing poems and short stories at an early age, and graduated with a degree in English Literature. Douglas grew up in a family of musicians, astrologers and avid readers, and attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, playing piano professionally for 15 years. His great grandfather lived to be a 134 years old, and was the oldest man in the world when he died in 1922. Their cat, Sir Eaton, loves parties and a few sips from a good glass of Pinot Noir.
Some of Elyse Douglas’ novels include: “The Other Side of Summer,” “The Christmas Eve Letter,” “The Christmas Town,” “The Christmas Diary” and “The Summer Diary.” They live in New York City.