Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Contemporary Novel That Addresses Real Issues

That Certain Summer
by Irene Hannon
Christian Fiction / Contemporary
Available June 2013
Revell Books
304 pages

Buy a copy
Read an excerpt

About the Book
Two very different sisters . . . an unexpected homecoming . . . one unforgettable summer
Karen and Val are family—yet they're anything but close. Karen has carried the burden of responsibility for her aging mother ever since her sister left town years ago to pursue a career in theater. But Val had other reasons for moving away-as well as a secret to keep-and coming home has never been an option . . . until their mother suffers a stroke.

Reunited in their hometown, Karen and Val must grapple with past mistakes as they care for their ailing mother. When two handsome men enter the picture, the summer takes on a surprising new dimension. As their lives intersect, can each of them learn how to forgive, let go, and move on? And strengthened by the healing power of faith, might they also find the courage to love?

With her trademark compelling characters and heartwarming hope, award-winning author Irene Hannon pens an inspiring true-to-life tale of complex relationships, the search for forgiveness, and the life-changing process of finding love.

My Thoughts
I'm a huge fan of Irene Hannon's books. In That Certain Summer though, Irene makes a departure from the romantic suspense novels that I've enjoyed in the past. This newest book features two sisters who are reconnecting after nearly 20 years apart. They've never been close, but as they join together to care for their mother, they realize just how much they need each other. Interspersed within Karen and Val's stories, readers are also introduced to David and Scott who become special friends to Karen and Val.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about all four of these characters. They were interesting, and each had a great back story and growth throughout the book. The friendship that developed between Karen and Val was really special, and I was reminded repeatedly of how unique relationships between siblings are! One of the downsides, though, was that there was almost too much going on. There were four complete stories, and I wished at times that I could stick with one character or the other and continue with their story for a few more pages and/or chapters.

Irene addressed some pretty heavy issues were introduced (i.e., divorce, faithfulness, abortion, lack of faith/trust in God), and I loved how she handled them with both sensitivity and realism.

Midway through, I wasn't sure how all of these stories were going conclude, and I was torn about how I wanted a few things to turn out (a great thing, in my opinion!). Irene did a wonderful job pulling everything together, but I felt that I missed out on a lot of how we got to the ending. It seemed that a second book could have been written—a sequel—to give a fuller picture of the story to readers. I was left feeling like I might have missed out on some of the best parts.

Overall, though, I did enjoy That Certain Summer. Irene is a wonderful writer and has a special talent for telling stories that feature Jesus at the center. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy contemporary novels that address real issues. [3.5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Revell Books in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Available June 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell,
a division of Baker Publishing Group.

About the Author
Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of over forty books, including more than two dozen contemporary romance novels and the Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series. Her books have garnered many honors, including two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, and two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. In addition, Booklist included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011. She lives in Missouri.

Irene Hannon Online
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