Title: The Summer I Found Myself
Author: Colleen French
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Page Count: 304
My rating: 3 1/2 stars
About the book:
In Colleen French’s heartfelt summer read, a Delaware oceanside cottage is the perfect setting for a season of surprising lessons about how much there is to gain–when you finally let go…
In the last two years, English professor Ellen Tolliver has weathered heartache with grace–including an unwelcome divorce and losing her parents. In her more honest moments, Ellen might admit that she’s sick of loss. She longs to stretch and grow, to truly fill her days. Maybe this year, she’ll have something to recount in her Christmas letter other than her son’s travel adventures. Maybe she’ll be too busy to even write a Christmas letter.
On impulse, Ellen invites her ailing best friend, Lara, to spend the summer with her at the Delaware beach house she inherited from her parents. Lara can relax on the big front porch after chemo while Ellen readies the house for sale. But Lara has plans too–she’d like to help Ellen discover who she is, or better yet, who she can still become.
At Lara’s urging, Ellen joins a local writer’s group, tries online dating, and mingles with the new friends Lara brings home from her support group. She forgoes white wine (won’t stain if you spill it!) for red and eats French fries for breakfast. She even flirts with the local bookstore owner, a handsome, sun-kissed, younger man. And as she embraces the freedom that comes with breaking her own rules, she wonders if it’s not just her past that lies in this beloved quirky town, but her future too…
The Summer I Found Myself by Colleen French is a women’s fiction title that I will admit I picked up after what was a case of instant cover love. I ended up enjoying the story inside although I will admit not quite as much as that cover. The story pulled at the heartstrings along the way and was one of personal growth for the main character Ellen.
Ellen Tolliver is an English Professor who always dreamed of writing her own novel one day and after going through an unwanted divorce Ellen wonders if it’s time to give writing a try. Ellen’s plan was to pack up and head to the Delaware beach house she inherited from her parents for the summer to clean out the home and get it ready for sale and with the time figure out what she wanted from her now empty life.
However, before Ellen was ready to leave to head to the beach house her friend, Lara, shared the horrible news that Lara’s cancer had returned. Without thinking twice Ellen invites Lara to spend the summer with her as Lara goes through her treatment at the local hospital so Lara wouldn’t have to be alone. Little did Ellen realize Lara was just what Ellen needed in her life to open her eyes to the world around her.
I have to say The Summer I Found Myself was a perfect title for this one as the book certainly encompassed Ellen’s time finding herself and all of her personal growth. The story got off to a rocky start for me because quite honestly Ellen didn’t start off as all that likable as she wallowed in her own personal problems and seemed to only think of herself too often. However, the many side characters brought in along the way more than made up for the rocky beginning and with them they brought a light to the story and the emotional connection I didn’t have in the start. Overall I would give this one three and a half stars noting that it did improve along the way for me.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Colleen French has a unique gift for capturing the essence of passion in her breathtaking tales of romance and adventure. A multiple award-winning and bestselling novelist, she is the daughter of bestselling novelist Judith E. French who first taught her how to write novels. Colleen has written more than 130 print novels which have sold more than 5 million copies and been translated into Bulgarian, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, and Spanish. Her Native American novels are inspired by her English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and Lenni–Lenape ancestry and her home near the Chesapeake Bay, where her family has lived for more than 300 years. Her books appeal to fans of Christi Caldwell, Mary Balogh, C. J. Petit, Shirleen Davies, Karen Kay, Madeline Baker, Elle Marlow, Ellen O’Connell, Vonna Harper, Judith E. French, Kathryn Le Veque, Julie Garwood, Caroline Fyffe, and Hannah Howell.
She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.