Review by Shellie for: The Book of Summers ~ by Emylia Hall
It’s a poetic trip to Hungary for the reader, with a bittersweet ending. A coming-of-age story that is tied to the decisions one can make in anger, and the regrets about those choices, but ultimately leading to forgiveness and maturity.
About: Beth (Erzsi - her Hungarian name) is now in her thirties and lives in London. She has repressed anger which comes out toward her father who lives miles away in Devon. When her father calls to visit she becomes excited, but then angry because she finds it’s only to bring her a letter and a handmade book from Hungary. It’s a lovely book in which her trips to the country have been cataloged lovingly by Marika, her Hungarian mom.
Perusing the book, she has no choice but to take a trip back to the wonderful summers she spent there with loved ones. As Erzsi reminisces while looking at her childhood pictures from each summer spent in Hungary, the reader follows her back in lolling experiences, which culminate in a heartbreaking choice made by the main character.
Thoughts: This is a lovely novel with long poetic depictions of Hungary. It’s definitely women’s fiction, but having the flow of literary fiction since the characters are well developed. The accounts of Erzsi’s visits take up most of the book’s content, which is important to remember when choosing this book to read, since this may make or break the book for some readers.
It’s a book which I think would be an excellent choice for a woman’s book group discussion since it will evoke strong emotions in many readers. It involves the choices made in anger, at an age when maturity has not set in, also it reveals the emotions around secrets kept and shared too late, regret, and ultimately forgiveness. Recommended for anyone wanting a summer trip to the area, for readers who like to savor lengthy descriptions, and bittersweet endings. I give this story a 3.5 stars, it’s a good book for a vicarious summer trip.
Mira; 363 pages; (May 29, 2012); US cover top; UK cover bottom.
For more about the author see Emylia Hall’s blog: http://emyliahall.blogspot.com/