Inside is a letter informing her that her long-estranged mother has died, and a scrapbook Beth has never seen before. Entitled The Book of Summers, it's stuffed with photographs and mementos complied by her mother to record the seven glorious childhood summers Beth spent in rural Hungary.
It was a time when she trod the tightrope between separated parents and two very different countries; her bewitching but imperfect Hungarian mother and her gentle, reticent English father; the dazzling house of a Hungarian artist and an empty-feeling cottage in deepest Devon. And it was a time that came to the most brutal of ends the year Beth turned sixteen.
Since then, Beth hasn't allowed herself to think about those years of her childhood. But the arrival of The Book of Summers brings the past tumbling back into the present; as vivid, painful and vital as ever.
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My Review (Video review at the bottom of the post)
Words really cannot describe how much I loved this book. Even though when reading this book it was typical English weather outside (cloudy, rainy and cold), I felt warm and all summery on the inside. Not only does the cover and title scream out summer but the story just sweeps you away into this summery dream.
The characters in this story were so rich with life and turmoil, I just had to follow the story to find out more. At the beginning, we see Beth living far away from her father in Devon and her mother in Hungary. Her father comes for a visit and you can see that something has gone on in the past as their relationship is trained. He brings with him a package that had been delivered for Beth. She immediately knows that it is from Hungary. That is when she discovers the Book of Summers that record the childhood summers that she spent with her mother.
From glancing through the pages, we are transported back to a time when Beth looked forward to spending her summers in Hungary with her mother, her mother's boyfriend and new friends and as the story unfolds we see a bigger picture of what happened in that last fateful summer that was the downfall of the entire family.
I especially enjoyed the slow pace of the story, which meant that I could sit back, relax and enjoy the summer drama. If you like family drama and emotional summer reads, this is definitely one to pick up.
10 out of 10