Review of THE SUMMER HIDEAWAY by Susan Wiggs (see her website)
THE LAKESHORE CHRONICLES
Mira, February 2010
She's been on the run since she saw her foster father murder two boys. Now, she's a nurse, but Claire Turner specializes in helping the terminally ill. With them, there's no chance of long-term connections, no chance that she won't be able to run. Her latest job, with George Bellamy, shouldn't be any different. Sure it's inconvenient that George wants to spend his last days at the converted summer-camp where he spent the happiest days of his childhood, but Claire can handle even the dangerous small-town atmosphere. What she can't handle is George's super-hot grandson, Ross. Ross has just returned from deployment in Afghanistan and his family sends him to rescue George from the gold-digging internet-nurse. Claire doesn't dare form any attachment, it would only make it harder to run and put another person in danger. Still, can she resist?
George has had an active life but he has regrets as well. He lost contact with his brother when both young men fell for the same girl. He's got a list of what he wants to accomplish before dying, including sky-diving, riding a Harley, and finally contacting his brother.
Author Susan Wiggs (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Wiggs) is at her best detailing the doomed love triangle between George, Charles and Jane. With his efforts to recover from Polio, his battle between prejudice and his heart, and his present-day will to live life even while only days from death, George makes a sympathetic character even as we shake our heads at his inability to close the deal with Jane. Claire is also high-potential with her history and danger. And Wiggs is a dependably talented author, writing compelling descriptions and narrative.
For me, Ross came off as a little one-dimensional. He's back from the war but he really doesn't have any goals, any career aspirations, anything really going for him other than a hot bod and a grandfather who thinks he's wonderful. I would have been more interested in the romance if Ross had been more interesting as a character. He did reflect some of his grandfather's attitude, allowing Wiggs to play George's doomed romance against Ross's, but then again, Ross didn't have a compelling brother he needed to compete with...he had a grandfather setting everything up for him. Similarly, although we eventually learn the facts behind Claire's fears, initially, I was tempted to shake my head and wonder if she wasn't over-reacting to her supposed sense of danger.
Wiggs is such a good author that these story defects didn't really keep THE SUMMER HIDEAWAY from being an enjoyable read. It isn't her best book, though.
Ready to buy? Click the 'buy from Amazon button':