Author: Patricia Beard
Published: Gallery Books; May 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction
Synopsis: "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.
My Take: I had to read A Certain Summer this summer! Why you ask? Well, because a. it has 'summer' in the title and b. it has all the elements of a book I would love. It was calling to me to read it! And yes, it was a fabulous summer read but really, you could read it anytime and be transported to this faraway land and time.
A Certain Summer by Patricia Beard is set shortly after the end of WWII in 1948. It follows Helen Wadsworth and her son as they summer in Wauregan, a made up island near New York where all of the wealthy have been going to for the past fifty years or more. Basically its like a really fancy summer camp for rich people. If I could be invited to spend my summers there, I totally would have!
Helen's husband, Arthur, was a spy during the war and has yet to come home. Declared missing in action, Helen and her son, Jack, are in a kind of limbo. Arthur is presumed dead but until they actually get confirmation, hope remains that he will come home and they can all resume life as it was.
This summer at Wauregan is different then previous ones though. Most of the husbands are back to help run the island, but few are the same person they were when they left. This leaves many wives wondering what to do next. I found this glimpse into what was probably a very real after effect of the war really interesting.
Helen and her son both miss having a man in their lives. There are two men in particular that are starting to have a greater importance in their lives during the period in which A Certain Summer takes place. The first, Frank, was friends with Helen and Arthur before the war and was a spy with Arthur during. Everyone thinks it's suspicious that he returned and Arthur didn't. The second man is Peter. He is handsome and gets along great with Jack but is dealing with the demons of the war he fought and could be considered a little young for Helen.
Without giving anything else away that is the premise of A Certain Summer. Will Helen end up with either of these two men? Or, will her husband finally return home? If you like love stories, historical fiction, and a bit of mystery, you really can't go wrong with Patricia Beard's A Certain Summer.
Cover Lust: I was really drawn to this cover and I think it is really fitting for the story contained within.