"Nothing ever changes at Wauregan." That mystique is the tradition of the idyllic island colony off the shore of Long Island, the comforting tradition that its summer dwellers have lived by for over half a century. Read more...
"Nothing ever changes at Wauregan." That mystique is the tradition of the idyllic island colony off the shore of Long Island, the comforting tradition that its summer dwellers have lived by for over half a century. But in the summer of 1948, after a world war has claimed countless men--even those who came home--the time has come to deal with history's indelible scars.
Helen Wadsworth's husband, Arthur, was declared missing in action during an OSS operation in France, but the official explanation was mysteriously nebulous. Now raising a teenage son who longs to know the truth about his father, Helen turns to Frank Hartman--her husband's best friend and his partner on the mission when he disappeared. Frank, however, seems more intent on filling the void in Helen's life that Arthur's absence has left. As Helen's affection for Frank grows, so does her guilt, especially when Peter Gavin, a handsome Marine who was brutally tortured by the Japanese and has returned with a faithful war dog, unexpectedly stirs new desires. With her heart pulled in multiple directions, Helen doesn't know whom to trust--especially when a shocking discovery forever alters her perception of both love and war.
Part mystery, part love story, and part insider's view of a very private world, A Certain Summer resonates in the heart long after the last page is turned.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-07-08
- Reviewer: Staff
It is the summer of 1948 and the place Helen Wadsworth feels safest is on the remote island of Wauregan, where generations of Wadsworths have summered. WWII ended four years earlier, but her husband, Arthur, is still on the "Missing, presumed dead" list. Her son Jack, now 14, pretends his father will be home soon and talks his mom into allowing him to restore Red Wing, their small, long-unused sailboat. In her fiction debut, Beard eloquently illustrates the effects of war on the small community and the hollow lives of returning heroes. On pristine Wauregan happy couples become drunken shells, while Helen waits for her husband to miraculously return. Enter two men: Frank, Arthur's partner in the OSS, Jack's Godfather, and the last person to see Arthur alive; and Peter, a young architect who falls hard for Helen while trying to let go of his own trauma. Peter brings Max, a German Shepard "war-dog" into the mix, and Max and Jack become fast friends. Woven into this tale of loss and romance are themes of intrigue, growth, betrayal, psychological trauma, and a fulfilling healing process. Beard's attention to historical detail and understanding of the realities and short-falls of privilege make this a satisfying beach read. (June)