The Book of Summers

Emylia Hall. Mira, $15.95 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-7783-1411-0
Hall’s lovely and haunting debut novel follows Beth Lowe, a young Englishwoman, as she recalls languid summers spent in Hungary with her mother, Marika, and the betrayal that cast every brilliant season into shadow. After a family trip to Hungary in 1990 when Beth was nine, her mother suddenly announced her intention to stay, rending the family across loyalties and country lines. Each year after the split, Beth spent summers with Marika, until a secret comes to light that impels Beth to turn her back on Hungary and her mother. Years later, Beth’s estranged father arrives with a letter explaining that Marika is dead and has left Beth a scrapbook, a heartrending record of the summers Beth spent with Marika and Tamás, Beth’s adolescent amour. Confronted with the evidence of former joys, Beth must decide whether to embrace the past in light of pain, or forever cast it aside. Each character feels authentic, and Hall does a superb job of balancing their stories. Set against the lush Hungarian countryside, one of “forest pool[s]” and “sad poetry,” Beth’s bittersweet story will entrance readers. Agent: Rowan Lawton, PFD (UK). (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2012
Release date: 05/29/2012
Hardcover - 493 pages - 978-1-4104-5270-2
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-4592-3002-6
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-7553-9084-7
Hardcover - 325 pages - 978-0-7553-9083-0
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