When Kate Harris accepts the job of redecorating her brother Aidan’s house in the picturesque town of Willowbury, she knows it’s just a stop gap before she has to decide what to do with the rest of her life. While her three sons spend the summer holiday with their father, Kate has an opportunity to prove to herself that there is a new life, after her divorce.
Harry Sinclair is the owner of Vale Volumes book shop on Willowbury High Street. Content, if a little bored with his lot, his shop, as well as his life, could do with freshening up. When Kate offers to spruce up Vale Volumes ready for the visit of a famous author, they find they have a lot more in common than colour schemes.
But both have secrets and responsibilities, and when the trials of family life threaten their burgeoning friendship, can they overcome the experiences of their pasts? Will Somerset’s most magical town cast its spell on them? Or will Kate and Harry have to concede that their friendship really is just for the summer?
I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
It wasn’t until I looked at Fay’s author page that I realised that I have read and enjoyed quite a few of her books. I also didn’t realise that this was the third in a series, so can honestly say that it works as a standalone story. Having now met the characters in this book, I’m pretty confident that I have a fair grasp of the storyline in the two previous instalments. I will certainly seek them out and feel sure that I will enjoy them as much as Just for the Summer.
I loved Kate’s story and really enjoyed reading about her metamorphosis from a disillusioned and hurt ex-wife into the way she was at the end of this book. I don’t think that it’s a spoiler to suggest that there may be a happy ending. The only problem with fictional villages, is that it’s impossible to visit. I can imagine exploring Willowbury and would certainly pop into Vale Volumes.
For me, the joy in this story came from Kate’s relationships with her brothers and her sons. Each one added a special layer to the story, and it was hard to imagine how she could leave and return to her life in Cambridgeshire. The pain of being left behind, as her sons left for a big-ticket holiday, was tangible and I found myself imagining how I would cope.
The story felt well researched, not all of the storylines were light and fluffy, and the darker elements were handled beautifully. Mental health is a huge focus in today’s world and Just for the Summer treated such issues skilfully and with empathy. That said, the story remained light and an enjoyable read.
Receiving a digital ARC does not influence my opinion of a book. Please note, this review contains affiliate links.