Summer of Love by Caro Fraser
Published: 31st May 2018
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Available on Kindle
The dark days of the war are over, but the family secrets they held are only just dawning.
In the hot summer of 1949, a group of family and friends gather at Harry Denholm's country house in Kent. Meg and Dan Ranscombe, emerging from a scandal of their own making; Dan's godmother, Sonia; and her two young girls, Laura and Avril, only one of whom is Sonia's biological daughter. Amongst the heat, memories, and infatuations, a secret is revealed to Meg's son, Max, and soon a terrible tragedy unfolds that will have consequences for them all. Afterwards, Avril, Laura and Max must come of age in a society still reeling from the war, haunted by the choices of that fateful summer. Cold, entitled Avril will go to any lengths to take what is hers. Beautiful, naive Laura finds refuge and love in the London jazz clubs, but Max, with wealth and unrequited love, has the capacity to undo it all.
Summer of Love is the follow on from Caro Fraser’s brilliant The Summer House Party from last year. That was a book I adored, and I’ve found Summer of Love to be just as good if not better.
Summer of Love starts in the summer of 1949, a few years after the previous book ended. Meg and Dan Ranscombe have gone to visit their friend Harry Denholm at his new country home in Kent along with son Max and Sonia Hardon’s two daughters Avril and Laura. One fateful day a secret is revealed which leads to a horrible accident which has dreadful consequences for Max, Avril and Laura. As the story unfolds Max, Avril and Laura shake off the bonds of childhood and go their separate ways in life, only to be drawn back together a few times over the years.
This is a beautifully written novel which explores the effects which our parents and our experiences and feelings from our younger days mould us as adults. Max traumatised by his feelings towards his mother leads a sheltered life pouring himself into his work in the hope this will keep his demons at bay. Laura, knowing she was abandoned by her mother as a baby longs to be loved and her naivety leads her into some difficult situations. Avril, always feeling pushed out by Laura takes the ultimate revenge when she has the chance but is still left feeling she’s alone and on the side-lines.
I loved reading how each of these characters changed over the years experiencing love, loss, betrayal, revenge and forgiveness. Caro Fraser has written a novel which is wonderfully character driven and guides us effortlessly from the restrained end of war years to the emergence of the vibrant atmosphere of the sixties. It’s a novel which covers attitudes to many social factors including racism, feminism, homosexuality to drug taking and unwanted pregnancies, all with such eloquent and engaging writing.
This is a novel not to be missed and judging by the way the ending has been left fairly open ended I’m hoping there is more to come from the lives of Max, Laura and Avril.
Thank you so much to Head of Zeus for sending me a copy to review and inviting me to be part of the blog tour, Summer of Love by Caro Fraser has been a pleasure to read.
About the Author
Caro Fraser is the author of the bestselling Caper Court novels, based on her own experiences as a lawyer. She is the daughter of Flashman author George MacDonald Fraser and lives in London.
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