Review + Giveaway: A Certain Summer by Patricia Beard (General Market Fiction)

A Certain Summer
by Patricia Beard
Copyright 2013
Gallery Books
ISBN: 9781476710266
The Story:
"Nothing ever changes at Wauregan.” That mystique is the tradition of the idyllic island colony off the shore of Long Island, the comforting tradition that its summer dwellers have lived by for over half a century. But in the summer of 1948, after a world war has claimed countless men—even those who came home—the time has come to deal with history’s indelible scars.

Helen Wadsworth’s husband, Arthur, was declared missing in action during an OSS operation in France, but the official explanation was mysteriously nebulous. Now raising a teenage son who longs to know the truth about his father, Helen turns to Frank Hartman—her husband’s best friend and his partner on the mission when he disappeared. Frank, however, seems more intent on filling the void in Helen’s life that Arthur’s absence has left. As Helen’s affection for Frank grows, so does her guilt, especially when Peter Gavin, a handsome Marine who was brutally tortured by the Japanese and has returned with a faithful war dog, unexpectedly stirs new desires. With her heart pulled in multiple directions, Helen doesn’t know whom to trust—especially when a shocking discovery forever alters her perception of both love and war.

 Part mystery, part love story, and part insider’s view of a very private world, A Certain Summer resonates in the heart long after the last page is turned.

My Thoughts:
Sadly, summer does not last forever, but those who long for sunny, lazy days can always have them close at hand if they have a book beside them. A Certain Summer is a great example of a story to read if you want to hang on to these last days of summer or to read in winter when the bitter cold days make summer seem like a far off dream. While it may not be a favorite of mine, the setting was to die for, especially if you love seaside living or beach vacations. A Certain Summer definitely captures the carefree spirit of summer while reminding readers of the struggles that soldiers and their families faced following World War II.

Having just finished a novel set during the second World War last week, this book made it easier for me to imagine what heartaches and dilemmas families on the home-front had to deal with as well as those returning home from service. I've read many books that addressed PTSD in our current generation and it's really interesting how far we've come since the 40s when it was sort of frowned upon to talk about what vets saw during war. A Certain Summer also features a military war dog named Max. How citizens looked at returning war dogs was also interesting -- some with fear that dogs who were trained for the battlefield could never be rehabilitated and some with respect and care that they deserved. Max, definitely added to the uniqueness of the book.

A Certain Summer is certainly not a "fluffy" read, but nevertheless it's a book that you can take with you and enjoy at the beach. The sand and surf of the seaside at Wauregan, the exclusive private island for some of New York's most elite families, was brought to life -- so much so that I could almost hear the waves hitting the shore. A talent show, boating trips, ferry rides, and bicycles all hearken back to the days when life was a bit more slow. Helen, Jack, Peter, The Judge, and even the MWD Max are equally complex and interesting characters -- anyone who you could have met at the beach in the 1940s. I'm not really sure what to say about how the story ended but I felt like there were some things left open that I wish were settled. Overall, this was a good story and I will probably end up giving Patricia Beard's next book a try.

Note: Some strong language and mild sexual content.

To purchase a copy of the book, visit Amazon or your favorite bookseller.

To learn more about the author, visit her website:

~ My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ~

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*


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Happy Reading!


  1. I think this would be a great summer read. It sure sounds interesting.

    -Britt T.

  2. enjoyed reading your thoughts, renee...and thanks for the chance to read this novel, too.

    go steelers!!!

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com


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