My enormous thanks to Elaine Egan at Orion for sending me a surprise copy of Our Summer Together by Fanny Blake in return for an honest review.
Our Summer Together was published by Orion on 13th July 2017 and is available for purchase here.
Our Summer Together
Our Summer Together is an uplifting story about family, friendship and the happy surprise of finding love later in life.
Caro knows how to be a mother – advising her grown-up daughters on career and relationship worries. She knows how to be a grandmother – enjoying the hectic energy of her three-year-old grandson. She knows how to be a daughter – helping her aging mother retain her independence.
She thought she knew everything about being a wife, but when her husband suddenly leaves her for another woman, everything is thrown in the air. So, when a chance meeting introduces her to Damir – younger, intriguing and attentive – she realises that opening up to a man so different from everyone else in her life, might also mean getting to know who she really is…
My Review of Our Summer Together
Caro is at crossroads in her life as her husband leaves her for a much younger woman, but a chance encounter on a train could impact more than she imagines.
Our Summer Together is a glorious celebration of womanhood in middle life. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m not far off the age Caro is at in her early sixties, but I absolutely adored this read. I thought Caro’s strengths and insecurities, her sense of self and identity, were those any woman would encounter at some point in their lives. It was so wonderful to have a female protagonist who retains her sensuality beyond the age of sixty without being a vamp. She is such a realistic character so that I felt every one of her emotions as if I were her. Indeed, all Fanny Blake’s characters felt like real people to me to the extent that I could quite cheerfully have slapped Lauren because I despised her so much at one point. It says something too about the quality of Fanny Blake’s writing, that she made me change my views later.
I loved the overall style. Dialogue is natural and descriptions so finely balanced that they add to the settings without a single extraneous word. This is beautiful writing that manages at once to be both charming and realistic, making for a hugely satisfying read.
I loved the plot of Our Summer Together too and the essential message that we should live in the moment and make the most of every precious day. There is intense passion, fear, loneliness and contentment woven into the narrative so that I felt totally immersed in an experience rather than just a read. The concept of identity is so well explored and it made such a change to have a realistic middle aged woman at the centre of the action. I thought Our Summer Together was a grown up, realistic story and I absolutely devoured it in less than 24 hours because once I’d started I HAD to know what happened to them all, even Chris and Lauren whom I didn’t much like. Added depth comes from the background to Damir’s story too so that I felt I had understood the impact of recent history on the individual, taking me beyond the vague memories of news stories in the past.
Our Summer Together celebrates the pain and joy of living, of being a woman, of making the most of life, including when it challenges us. I loved it.
About Fanny Blake
Fanny Blake was a publisher for many years, editing both fiction and non-fiction before becoming a freelance journalist and writer. She has written various non-fiction titles, acted as ghost writer for a number of celebrities, and is also Books Editor of Woman & Home magazine. She has written seven novels, including House of Dreams and Our Summer Together.