Jennifer Weiner | The Summer Place

The Book: 

The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner
Published May 10, 2022 by Atria Books
Date read: October 26, 2022

The Characters: 

Sarah and her husband Eli
Eli’s daughter Ruby
Ruby’s fiance Gabe
Sarah’s mother Veronica and brother Sam


Buy it on | Amazon

The Plot (from Goodreads):

When her twenty-two-year-old stepdaughter announces her engagement to her pandemic boyfriend, Sarah Danhauser is shocked. But the wheels are in motion. Headstrong Ruby has already set a date (just three months away!) and spoken to her beloved safta, Sarah’s mother Veronica, about having the wedding at the family’s beach house on Cape Cod. Sarah might be worried, but Veronica is thrilled to be bringing the family together one last time before putting the big house on the market.

But the road to a wedding day usually comes with a few bumps. Ruby has always known exactly what she wants, but as the wedding date approaches, she finds herself grappling with the wounds left by the mother who walked out when she was a baby. Veronica ends up facing unexpected news, thanks to her meddling sister, and must revisit the choices she made long ago, when she was a bestselling novelist with a different life. Sarah’s twin brother, Sam, is recovering from a terrible loss, and confronting big questions about who he is—questions he hopes to resolve during his stay on the Cape. Sarah’s husband, Eli, who’s been inexplicably distant during the pandemic, confronts the consequences of a long-ago lapse from his typical good-guy behavior. And Sarah, frustrated by her husband, concerned about her stepdaughter, and worn out by challenges of life during quarantine, faces the alluring reappearance of someone from her past and a life that could have been.

When the wedding day arrives, lovers are revealed as their true selves, misunderstandings take on a life of their own, and secrets come to light. There are confrontations and revelations that will touch each member of the extended family, ensuring that nothing will ever be the same.

The Review: 

Thank you to Simon Audio for this ALC.

Who knew an anthropomorphization of a freaking house would make me cry?

I really enjoy ensemble novels like this, where each character has a secret and the reader gets to slowly unravel each one. This family was the definition of dysfunctional, but for the most part I found the characters to be realistically flawed. (The only exception being one overreaction and drastic and regrettable retaliation from Sarah). I could guess some of the twists, but certainly not all, and really enjoyed the way the plot unfolded.

I didn’t notice until my aunt pointed it out that Big Summer, That Summer, and The Summer Place are all in the same universe, with hints at the past characters in each one. I caught Diana’s mention in this book, but don’t remember enough about Big Summer to catch any references this time.

Audio Review: I adore Sutton Foster. I pictured her as Sarah’s character, and would love to see her play Sarah if this book ever gets a screen adaptation. Foster has the most pleasant, clear voice, and it made this book so nice to listen to. We always talk about auto-buy authors, but Sutton Foster is certainly one of my auto-listen narrators!

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