I received a copy of The Summer of Good Intentions by Wendy Francis in exchange for an honest review.
Cape Cod summers are supposed to remain reassuringly the same, but everything falls apart when three sisters and their families come together for their annual summer vacation—and they are carrying more secrets than suitcases.
Maggie is the oldest. She feels responsible for managing the summer house and making sure everything is as it always has been. But she’s hurt that her parents’ recent divorce has destroyed the family’s comfortable summer routines, and her own kids seem to be growing up at high speed. Is it too late to have another baby?
Jess is the middle sister. She loves her job but isn’t as passionate about her marriage. She’s not sure she can find the courage to tell Maggie what she’s done—much less talk to her husband about it.
Virgie is the youngest, her dad’s favorite. She’s always been the career girl, but now there’s a man in her life. Her television job on the west coast is beyond stressful, and it’s taking its toll on her—emotionally and physically. She’s counting on this vacation to erase the symptoms she’s not talking about.
The Herington girls are together again, with their husbands and kids, for another summer in the family’s old Cape Cod house. When their mother, Gloria, announces she’s coming for an unscheduled visit—with her new boyfriend—no one is more surprised than their father, Arthur, who has not quite gotten over his divorce. Still, everyone manages to navigate the challenges of living grown-up lives in close quarters, until an accident reveals a new secret that brings everyone together in heartbreak…and then healing.
The title here is a bit misleading—The Summer of Good Intentions is not just a beach read; this is a book to keep close in any season—perhaps to be most cherished during celebrations of family and love. The Summer of Good Intentions is a true family story. Wendy Francis has brought to life three dimensional characters who are flawed and fractured and fabulous and funky. This novel is about being human. SPOILER ALERT: this novel is heartbreaking—cry your eyes out, snot running down your lips, get me more tissues, someone pass the vodka, sad. Francis writes in an authentic way that makes it real to the reader, and (I say begrudgingly) that is a gift. There is a saying, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Francis hits the nail on the head with her title—these sisters are filled with all the best intentions, and yet that does not stop life from happening and continuing to happen even when it feels like everything is collapsing and the warmth of summer will never come again. For that I hated this book. Being the A-type, control freak that I am, I wanted to fling this book across the room. But I couldn’t because I had to keep reading, I needed to know what happened next. And I am so glad I turned the page.
Rating: 4 Stars