Zoe, is a widowed mother raising her twin children, Hobson and Penelope by herself. She is a working mother, and works on Nantucket Island as a private chef to a family.
Jordan, owns the newspaper, the only newspaper on the island. They have a child, Jake. Only a few years ago, they had a son name Ernie. Ernie died from SIDS and Ava, and Jordan can't seem to get their marriage back together. Ava has lost all of her connection of friends, and isolates herself from everyone. She misses her homeland of Australia.
Lynn, and Al are competitive people, they don't even notice their daughter, or her problems of alcoholism. They are wrapped up in their competitive life and can't slow down and smell the roses. They have three children, two boys, that have left home, and their Daughter Demeter.
Every year the end of the school year, the teens attend the annually bonfire. The friends get into the car with Penny. But, what is wrong with Penny, she is a raving lunatic, she is speeding so fast. Then the car goes over the ravine, and kills Penny, and leaves her brother, Hobby in a coma for days. This leaves her boyfriend, Jake and Demeter unscathed. What led her to be so upset, and angry. Everyone is wondering, what happened to the beautiful, and vivacious Penny, with the beautiful voice.
The whole mystery behind the book, what drove Penelope to get so angry and drive so fast that killed her, and almost killed the three others traveling with her, her brother Hobby, and her boyfriend, Jake, and Demeter.
We will never truly know why she got so angry But, we do know Demeter is behind it all. She is the last person that Penny spoke to before the before the accident. Hobby learns that Penny has a close relationship with Ava, Jake's mother. Too close maybe, that may have caused her to be so angry? Or learning that Jake had sex with one of the friends at school? Penny heard that Hobby, got Claire pregnant? Or her mother Zoe, and Jordan was having a affair?
The last part of the novel, is self discovery and forgiveness. The parents and the children learn how to forgive each other and move on to find their happiness. There is such enlightenment, Hobby told Demeter it was not your fault, her behavior was not caused by what you did. It was, her and her alone, and she reacted, by causing the accident, and pretty much killed herself.
Sometimes, we as adult think teenagers do things so stupid, and not a big deal but, to a teenager it isn't. Did not make sense to me, why did she over react? It was not a big deal, but to Penny it was.
Penny was depressed, lonely, her voice and her future. These things were revealed in her journal. We realize there was much more pain than her brother, Hobby realized.
Realize, this is a deep book. It was well written and flowed but for me, It was just so depressing. The book also reminded me of other movies I have seen about teenagers and their families, and how they deal with the self destruction of sadness, loneliness, etc.
I was not expecting this kind of book,Elin Hilderbrand is known for her beach reads. Let me tell you, yes this is a page turner. But, the story is so sad to me. During the summer months I like to read books that are light reading, with some meat to it. Yes, it had meat, but it was so hard to get through with the sadness.
Perhaps because I know two friends of mine, that children went through rehab, and both died the same tragic death. It was just so tragic, and the story was so hard because each of the children and family had something to hide, and find themselves. This is a tough book to read, even if it wasn't summer
. Not knowing what the actual book was about, I was going to lend it to my friend, who lost her son almost a year ago. Thank g-d, I decided not to tell her about it. I am going to lend her Silver Girl instead. who likes light. I don't call this romance even though her mother's romantic interest came back.
Summerland is my third novel, I read from the author. I do appreciate her writing style. Especially, she doesn't divulge the events right away, but it is savored slowly, and revealed slowly, with tidbits here and there until the puzzle fits. That is why her novels appeal to me.
Ms. Hilderbrand, did this with her last novel, Silver Girl.
In honor of the release of Summerland. Here are the other stops for Summerland's blog tour.