Review: One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak

Title: One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak
Publisher: Mira
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 464 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Some families we’re born into

Some we find for ourselves

When Serenity Alston swabbed her cheek for 23andMe, she joked about uncovering some dark ancestral scandal. The last thing she expected was to discover two half sisters she didn’t know existed. Suddenly, everything about her loving family is drawn into question. And meeting these newfound sisters might be the only way to get answers.

The women decide to dig into the mystery together at Serenity’s family cabin in Lake Tahoe. With Reagan navigating romantic politics at work and Lorelei staring down the collapse of her marriage, all three women are converging at a crossroads in their lives. Before the summer is over, they’ll have to confront the past and determine how to move forward when everything they previously thought to be true was a lie. But any future is easier to face with family by your side.


One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak is a captivating novel about three half-sisters and the challenges facing them as they get to know one another.

Serenity Alston is a true crime writer who unexpectedly discovers half-sisters Reagan Sands and Lorelei Cipriano after taking a popular DNA test. Having decided to spend a week at her family’s Lake Tahoe cabin with her sisters, Serenity is nervous about meeting Reagan and Lorelei face to face. Serenity is also struggling with the events of the past year and a half which she has managed to keep out of the public eye.  Suffering from writer’s block, Serenity is hoping to salvage her career after getting to know her sisters.

Lorelei is the midst of a marriage crisis when she and her four year old daughter Lucy head to Lake Tahoe. She is uncertain what the future holds for her and her husband, Mark, and she ignores his numerous attempts to convince her to return home.  Having grown up in the foster care system, Lorelei is thrilled to get to know her half-sisters, but she is also resentful her childhood was so different from theirs. Of the three women, Lorelei undergoes the most growth as she decides the fate of her marriage and her future.

Reagan is a workaholic who deeply regrets an impetuous decision she recently made.  She, too, is trying to figure out what do in the aftermath. Reagan is afraid her mother  will be deeply disappointed in her.  After the sisters decide to extend their time together, Reagan must come to terms with the unintended consequences of her actions.

Despite their very disparate lives, Serenity, Lorelei and Reagan slowly form a tight bond with one another. Even when they are on opposite sides of an issue, they are supportive of each other.  Serenity is grateful for Reagan’s career advice  and her unanticipated generous offer to help her. Although Reagan is reluctant to confide in her sisters, she is pleasantly surprised by their reactions to her unanticipated news. Lorelei values her sisters’ input as she weighs the pros and cons of staying with Mark.

Over the course of the summer, Serenity, Lorelei and Reagan try to piece together who their father is. Serenity is extremely curious because her parents have been happily married for decades. Reagan’s father died when she was very young and her mother refuses to discuss the past. As for Lorelei, she has no information at all about her parents since she entered  the foster care system at a very young age. They entertain various theories but will the sisters figure out who their father is before summer’s end?

One Perfect Summer is a heartfelt and engaging novel with a fantastic set of characters and interesting storyline. Each of the sisters is three dimensional with relatable flaws and enviable strengths.  Their respective issues are true to life and the resolutions to their problems are realistic. The sisters’ relationships develop  naturally over time and they sometimes struggle with one another’s mistakes and decisions.  With a jaw-dropping, impossible to predict plot twist, Brenda Novak brings this heartwarming novel to an absolutely delightful conclusion.   I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this charming novel to readers of contemporary fiction.

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Filed under Brenda Novak, Contemporary, Harlequin, Mira, One Perfect Summer, Rated B+, Review, Women's Fiction

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