Guys, I am kicking myself for not reading Karen Swan's The Summer Without You last summer when it was sent to me. I could have been recommending this novel to people for a whole year! Especially those who have been looking for vacation or beach or honeymoon reads. The shame! I'm glad I finally did read it because I freaking loved it.
Here's the synopsis:
Rowena Tipton isn't looking for a new life, just a new adventure, something to while away the months as her long-term boyfriend presses pause on their relationship before they become engaged. But when a chance encounter at a New York wedding leads to an audition for a coveted houseshare in The Hamptons - Manhattan's elite beach scene - suddenly a new life is exactly what she's got. Stretching before her is a summer with three eclectic housemates, long days on white sand ocean beaches and parties on gilded tennis courts. But high rewards bring high stakes and Rowena soon finds herself caught in the crossfire of a vicious intimidation campaign. Alone for the first time in her adult life, she has no-one to turn to but a stranger who is everything she doesn't want - but possibly everything she needs...
I would say that The Summer Without You is the perfect summer read. At first glance it could seem like a total fluff book (which you all know I love) but there's so much more to it. I don't want to give much away because I think it's nice to be surprised but I will say there's an intense end to the novel that I didn't see coming. This book is perfect for your next vacation or beach day because it has a great setting (Hamptons, anyone?) and a completely engaging storyline.
So here's a bit of a problem for me with this book. Swan, the author, is English, as is Ro, the main character. I've read a ton of English books so I know a few phrases and words that are unfamiliar to some Canadians and Americans. That's not the issue...the problem is when the American characters are using British phrases. It happened a few times throughout the book but the one instance that really stuck out for me was when one of the roommates used the term "torch" when they were out at night. An American would not use "torch", they'd say "flashlight". It's not a huge deal but it was still a wee bit of an annoyance. (Note: While the copy I read was an ARC, I did check a final copy of the novel and this error was not caught in the final editing process.)
I really liked reading about Ro and her roommates. The story wouldn't have been as fun or enriching had it not been for her roommates. They were all so smart, fun, and sweet (in their own ways) that I found myself wishing for Happily Ever Afters for all of them (as you do when you're reading a novel like this!). I liked that all of the characters who were introduced had an important part to play in the plot. There was a lot going on, and much that you don't even realize is important, so having unnecessary characters would have been annoying. Every character had a journey to go on and I loved that. I almost wish that Swan would take us back to the Hamptons to revisit some of the characters, especially Hump, because I don't feel like everyone's story is finished.
Emotions run high in this novel and I appreciated how Swan wrote the story so I was feeling everything the characters were. Though I was feeling some annoyance at Ro because she hadn't clued in to what had really happened with someone and I hated how she was jumping to conclusions. Actually, Ro kind of annoyed me a lot throughout the book. Her behaviour was questionable at the beginning and I wasn't really sure how I was going to feel about her. Once she started to live her own life, things started to change for the better, thankfully!
I loved The Summer Without You for so many reasons. Karen Swan has written an emotionally engaging novel that is so much more than its cover suggests. It'll hook you like it did me - I couldn't stop thinking about it! You need to pick up a copy and add it to you beach bag!
*An ARC of this novel was provided by the publisher, HarperCollins Canada, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*