The Summer Place

Jennifer Weiner (That Summer) brings readers a lighthearted family novel that makes for perfect beach reading in The Summer Place. Sarah Levy-Weinberg is appalled when her stepdaughter, Ruby, announces at the mere age of 22 that she's marrying Gabe, whom Sarah calls Ruby's "pandemic boyfriend." Sarah thought the forced proximity of lockdown would doom their relationship, but instead Ruby is determined to have a wedding on Cape Cod at a summer place Sarah's mother owns.

Fun and effervescent, The Summer Place is told from the perspectives of multiple characters, revealing scads of family secrets that the wedding fervor is bringing to light. Ruby and Gabe, as it turns out, aren't the only ones ruminating on love. Sarah is frustrated because working from home while schooling her sons was hard enough. Now her husband, Eli, distances himself from her, and she doesn't understand why--or how to get him truly to notice her again.

Sarah's twin brother, Sam, is mourning the loss of his wife and struggling as a single parent. And Sam and Sarah's mother, the famous novelist Veronica Levy, spends her summer thinking wistfully of her late husband and her own youthful peccadilloes as she prepares her home to host Ruby's wedding. Exploring the effects of pandemic proximity on close relationships, Weiner ably captures the tense vibes of the last few years but combines them with a beachy breeziness, which results in an extremely engaging novel sure to appeal to fans of Elin Hilderbrand or Liane Moriarty. --Jessica Howard, freelance book reviewer

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