Title: Summer Breeze by Nancy Thayer
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s, Fiction
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley
New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer never fails to imbue her novels with warmth and wisdom. In Summer Breeze, the author of Beachcombers and Heat Wave tells the wonderfully moving story of three women who forge a unique bond one sun-drenched summer on New England’s Dragonfly Lake.
Morgan O’Keefe feels trapped in a gilded cage. True, the thirty-year-old mother agreed to put her science career on hold to raise her young son while her husband pursued his high-powered job. But though Morgan loves many things about staying home with her child, she misses the thrill of working with her colleagues in the lab. She’s restless and in dire need of a change.
Fed up with New York City’s hectic pace, Natalie Reynolds takes up her aunt’s offer to move to the Berkshires and house-sit her fabulous lakeside house for a year. Passionate about applying brush to canvas, Natalie is poised to become the artist she has forever longed to be. But life on Dragonfly Lake is never without surprises, and for a novice swimmer like Natalie, the most welcome surprise proves to be the arms of a handsome neighbor pulling her up from the water for a gulp of air.
When her mother breaks her leg, Bella Barnaby quits her job in Austin and returns home to help out her large, boisterous family. Among her new duties: manning the counter at the family business, Barnaby’s Barn, an outdated shop sorely in need of a makeover. While attractive architect Aaron has designs on her, Bella harbors long held secret dreams of her own.
Summer on Dragonfly Lake is ripe for romance, temptation, and self-discovery as the lives of these three women unexpectedly intertwine. Summer Breeze illustrates how the best of friends can offer comfort, infuriate, or even—sometimes—open one’s eyes to the astonishing possibilities of life lived in a different way. This captivating novel displays a prestigiously gifted writer at the height of her storytelling powers.
Nancy Thayer’s Summer Breeze is a light, breezy summer read. Despite their varied backgrounds, neighbors Morgan O’Keefe, Natalie Reynolds and Bella Barnaby’s quickly form a close friendship. The three women are at different places in their lives and as the summer progresses, they are all confronted with life-altering decisions.
Morgan O’Keefe is a stay at home mom who loves her son but desperately misses her career. She also feels disconnected from her husband Josh whose high paying and demanding job keeps him away from his family. She finds it difficult to articulate her discontent and her resentment of Josh’s career leads her down an unexpected path. Of the three women, I found her the most difficult to relate to but I did like her character.
Bella Barnaby’s return home makes her realize how much she has missed her family. While she enjoys her teaching career, she discovers her true passion while working in her mother’s shop. With her soon to be fiancé Aaron entertaining a job offer in California, Bella finds herself torn between the man she loves and her desire to stay in Dragonfly Lake.
Natalie Reynolds returns to Dragonfly Lake to concentrate on her career as an artist. She is definitely not looking for love but she is undeniably attracted to Bella’s brother Ben. Natalie’s childhood was rather dysfunctional and she has a difficult relationship with her mom. Her character undergoes the most growth as she comes terms with her past and gains a new perspective and appreciation of her mother.
Natalie’s brother Slade is an unexpected delight. He is super sexy with a love ’em and leave ’em reputation. Very enigmatic and utterly charming, he shakes up and complicates both Morgan and Bella’s lives.
Summer Breeze by Nancy Thayer is a refreshing, multi-layered, angst free novel. The characters are engaging and the plot is distinctive with unexpected twists and turns. An appealing story about friendship, love and self-discovery that I enjoyed immensely and highly recommend.