The Summer Without You by Karen Swan
I'm not quite sure when this happened but we seem to be in full blown summer right now. The school summer terms are coming to an end, I am currently sat in the middle of a heatwave and everyone seems to be jetting off to white sandy beaches, or sipping a cocktail with a fancy umbrella in it.
This morning I was going to post a review for a different book, but I took one look at the weather and knew I wanted to talk about The Summer Without You by Karen Swan. Karen Swan features a lot on the blog. Her novels are chock full of glamorous locations, likeable romantic heroines but with a slightly darker subject matter lurking in the background. This is one of her older ones and reminded me how good Karen Swan is as an author.
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 house share in the Hamptons - the beach scene for Manhattan's elite - suddenly a new life is exactly what she got.
Stretching before her is a summer with three eclectic housemates, long days on white sand beaches and parties on a gilded tennis court. 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.
This was definitely a case of right book, right time. Feeling slightly burnt out, I had a lovely week off visiting my Sister by the sea. This was the perfect book to take with me. Especially as the weather was glorious and could almost have been The Hamptons.
This feels like one of Karen Swan's 'classics'. The book was released in 2014 and has the ingredients for a perfect summer read mentioned above - The Hamptons, a likeable heroine in Rowena and a bit of intrigue.
Rowena is lovely. Desperate to be happily settled and married, she is shocked when her boyfriend decides to press 'pause' on their relationship while he goes travelling for 6 months, reassuring her that he can't wait to fall back in love with her. (Run for the hills Rowena!!). At first she is devastated, willing each day to pass quickly, fending for herself for the first time. Gradually and imperceptibly she is pulled into a life with 3 very different house-mates. She pursues her passion for photography, find peace through a gentle yoga class, meets for coffee with some of the town's residents. And slowly her boyfriend figures less and less in her life.
The location is beautiful and we are soon plunged into a world of Hampton society - treasure hunts where the buy in to play is a cool $25k, competitive yoga, designer shops. It is glamorous but fails to affect our heroine. Thank heavens.
The intrigue is there with an intimidation campaign about planning laws surrounding the beach and the houses facing it. Just how far would someone go to substantially increase the value on their home. And who is spearheading this campaign? Gradually Rowena is pulled into the mystery, which adds a hint of drama.
This novel was everything I have come to love about a great Karen Swan novel. It was a 5 Star read for me. I loved it.