Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Review: Summer's Child by Diane Chamberlain

Summer's Child by Diane Chamberlain
Pages:  416

Summary:  A chance to uncover the secrets of her past On the morning of her eleventh birthday, Daria Cato finds an unexpected gift on the beach – an abandoned baby. Unable to leave the child unclaimed, the Cato family adopt Shelly, but the question of her birth haunts the local community.Twenty years later Rory Taylor returns home – and will not rest until he has answers for Shelly. As closely guarded secrets and sins begin to unravel, piece by piece the mystery of the summer’s child is about to be exposed. A mystery no one involved is prepared to face. A truth that will change her future forever.

Ever since a friend lent me The Lost Daughter, I've been hooked on Diane Chamberlain's books. I picked up Summer's Child to take on holiday with me - as the title seemed holiday appropriate! And once again Chamberlain didn't disappoint.

Summer's Child follows the story of Daria Cato, who found her now-adopted sister Shelly abandoned on the beach as a baby. Daria has grown up to care and protect Shelly but without knowing the truth about the girl's true parentage. Meanwhile Shelly is taking steps to discover who she really is by getting help from TV personality, and Daria's childhood neighbour, Rory.

For the first half of this book I was caught up in the mystery of who Shelly was and who her parents were. Every character that was introduced lead me to play detective with them and try and guess who was involved and what had happened. I was almost reading it like a detective novel. I loved the mystery and the array of characters all who all had these connections to each other, and that drove me on and kept me hooked.

But once I got to the second half of the book, I found myself less concerned with the answer to the mystery, and I don't mean that in a bad way or that I'd lost interest - far from it! I cared much more about the present situations of the characters. I loved Daria and her rekindled friendship with Rory, and seeing how she was passionate about protecting Shelly. I adored Rory and his journey back to his roots, reconnecting with lost friends whilst trying to get closer to his son Zack. I was fascinated by the mysterious Grace and just what she was up to. It was the characters that really made this book.

As a holiday read this book was perfect. I ate it up quite quickly and it didn't feel too heavy. With some of the topics covered in the story it could really have been dragged down with the emotions but it felt like everything was perfectly balanced. The setting had me immersed in the location and I loved picturing the characters sat on their porches overlooking the beach.

There were some flaws - for example the big reveal didn't quite go the way I was expecting, and a few things were maybe just a tad rushed or convenient - but nothing impaired my enjoyment of the story and the characters. If you've read and enjoyed Chamberlain's other novels then this goes up on my list of recommendations, and if you haven't then this is a great book to pick up as a first read this summer.

Rating: 4*