That Camden Summer

LaVyrle Spencer, Author Putnam $23.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-399-14120-1
A resilient divorcee returns with her three daughters to her childhood hometown; a lonely widower makes the rough journey out of the shell of his own isolated soul; and the perennially bestselling Spencer (Home Song) doesn't miss a beat as she expertly gives them a second chance at love. First, however, they have to suffer. It's the summer of 1916 when Roberta Jewett returns to Camden, Maine, after 18 years. As a divorcee, she finds herself a social outcast and even her mother thinks she's a tramp (besides which she wants to work, of all things, and own a car). What makes her really mad, however, are men. She doesn't like them, having learned, she thinks, all there is to know from her disastrous marriage. But it turns out that the brutes can be both worse and better than she has ever dreamed. On the one hand, there's Elfred, her lecherous brother-in-law, who can hardly keep his mitts off her; on the other hand, there's Gabriel Farley, the widowed carpenter, and she can hardly keep her mind off him. From the very start, Gabe and Roberta are bickering (``Don't you laugh at me, Mr. Farley!.... I shall own a motorcar, come hell or high water.''). Then, little by little, without really trying, they become friends (as do their children). Her hatred of men wanes, his obsession with his dead wife becomes muted and their attraction heats up with the summer. But when Roberta is brutally raped, all her hopes are threatened. Will she be able to pick up the pieces? Can she face family secrets and challenge the town's benighted hypocrisy? Will Gabe do the right thing? Spencer, famous for her heart-rending slices of Americana, delivers the goods again. First serial to Readers Digest; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1996
Release date: 01/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
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Hardcover - 439 pages - 978-0-7838-1604-3
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