Friday, 15 September 2017

Review: The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr

The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr
Publisher:  MIRA
Publication date: September 1st 2017
My rating: 5 Stars
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A perfect family masks the darkest of secrets in this emotional, compelling novel about lies, loyalty - and how the past can hold us captive.
That was then…
For the Hempsteads, two sisters who married two brothers and had three daughters each, summers were idyllic. Escaping the city the moment the school holidays started, the two families would gather at their holiday home on Lake Waseka: a magical haven, where everyday problems drifted away in sun-dappled contentment.
Until the summer that changed everything.
This is now…
After a drowning turned the lake house into a site of tragedy and grief, it was closed up for good. Torn apart, none of the Hempsteads speak of what happened that summer.
Just one woman is determined to draw her family together again. But she knows that the only way that can happen is to face the truth.
And to do that, they must return to the lake house.

My Thoughts:
Robyn Carr weaves an engrossing tale of family bonds, hurt, betrayal and tragedy that touched me deeply!

At the center of the story is Meg and Charlie, sisters enduring their own crisis’, but Meg’s is more urgent.  She’s been battling cancer for four long years and just had a bone marrow transplant after chemo and needs to recuperate.  Her prognosis is not good, and Charlie wants to be there for Meg in whatever way she can.  Life gave Charlie a great opportunity, freed up her time, because she just lost her job as a talk show host, and has no idea what to do next.  Add to that Charlie’s long-time committed man (they’ve been together for twenty-years) has just proposed marriage and for some odd reason this rattles Charlie.  Meg’s wish is to go to the lake house, a place that holds some of their fondest memories, but a place where tragedy changed their lives forever.  Meg and Charlie’s little sister, Bunny, drowned and their mother and aunt parted ways in an ugly way. For twenty-seven years neither family has been back, but that’s about to change.

Spending time at the lake house will stir up drama, but it’s Meg’s wish, and who can deny a woman what is most likely her dying wish?  To get to the heart of why everything went to hell they must travel back with their memories to the time when their mothers: Louise and Josephine, (sisters who married brothers) would take them out to Lake Waseka those summers long ago.  Was Bunny’s death the only reason for their estrangement or was it something more?

I loved this story sooo much! It made me cry, stirring up so many emotions!  It sounds like a lot is going on, but it’s not hard to follow as a reader.  I loved the sister dynamic between Meg and Charlie, they’re so very close, but Krista, Josephine’s daughter, and Meg and Charlie’s cousin quickly bonded with them again after so many years apart.  Krista had a hard life, but managed to see the positive, and I adored her little slow burn romance that was unexpected, but so sweet for her! 

Charlie has basically a marriage-in-crisis sort of situation even though she’s not technically married, her relationship is at odds and I so wanted her to work it out, because Michael was the best kind of man! Meg was just so centered and at peace with her situation, she just broke my heart, though!

Louise, Meg and Charlie’s mom, and Hope, Josephine’s daughter, are also notable characters, but not in a good way.  I was stunned and shocked by their behavior, but also less upset with them by the end, as details of their lives are revealed.  Each and every character, flaws and all came to life; felt realistic they were crafted so well.

The Lake Wasuka house and location was vividly depicted, and sounded gorgeous!  I could smell the pine and wood of the forest, feel the breeze coming off the lake and wish that I was there with Meg, Charlie and Krista having a glass of wine on the porch! 

The Summer That Made Us was a beautiful and intricate story of family and love that took my breath away!  

Connect with Robyn Carr


  1. I actually have never read Robyn Carr but I am not sure why. This sounds like my kind of book though and may have to pick it up!! Great review!

    1. Thanks, Grace. You must try her sometime! :)

  2. I've seen this author's name mentioned quite a bit but I've yet to read any of her work. This sounds like something I may enjoy as well! I really love a strong sense of family in a read. :)

    1. She did a fabulous job with all the family relationships. Flawed and realistic. :)

  3. What a great review, Rachel!! Now you've made me want to read this book asap! I had been wondering if there was some romance in it (I like my drama with some romance), and now I'm definitely excited to read it!

    1. Thank you, Brandie! I need some romance in my drama, too. Even if it's just a little bit of one. I hope you enjoy the story! :)

  4. Great review for this is sounds fantastic!

  5. So glad that you loved this book sweetie :D Lovely review, as always. <3 It would be too much drama for me, I think, lol. But seems good despite all of that :) Thank you for sharing Rachel. <3


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