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Jennifer Weiner's THAT SUMMER - Compelling Characters Build Suspense

Book cover of Jennifer Weiner's That Summer

by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)

Thanks to Partner NetGalley and Atria Books for the digital ARC of Jennifer Weiner’s That Summer (Amazon | in exchange for an honest review. The book will be published on Tuesday, May 11.

Somehow, That Summer is only my third book by Jennifer Weiner, but I definitely need to dive into her backlist because I devoured this novel. I could NOT put it down. It’s (1) a great summer read (and it’s finally feeling like summer!); (2) a book with an important social issue at its core; (3) a suspenseful revenge story; and (4) a sweet, sincere romance.

That Summer is the story of three women: Diana, Daisy (whose real name is Diana), and Daisy’s daughter Beatrice. The novel opens with Diana, a fifteen-year-old girl working as a mother’s helper for the summer at Truro. She loves the job and is gaining confidence in who she is and who she wants to be, thrilled to have found friends with whom to bond and older boys with whom to flirt.

The book then moves to Daisy, who is realizing that something is not quite right with her life. She loves her husband Hal and her daughter Beatrice, but she’s lonely—Beatrice is away at boarding school, and Hal is busy with his job. Daisy loves her own work, teaching people to cook, but she’s lonely. Her best friend just died, and her casual acquaintances just aren’t the same. So, when she starts receiving emails for another woman at her address by mistake, she can’t help but be drawn in by that woman’s glamorous, busy life. She forwards the messages to this other woman, and they strike up a conversation that seems as if it could lead to true friendship.

I’ll say little more because the way this novel unwinds, the way it weaves through Daisy’s story and Diana’s history and then loops in Beatrice, is just a joy. Yes, there were elements that I saw coming, but this isn’t a book whose success lies in shock and surprise. Instead, it’s a book whose brilliance lies in these characters, these women who seem all too real. I just loved it.

Note: There are elements that may be triggering for some readers.

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