Published: June 3rd, 2014
Publisher: St Martin's Press
2009: When Julia Conley hears that she has inherited a house outside London from an unknown great-aunt, she assumes it’s a joke. She hasn't been back to England since the car crash that killed her mother when she was six, an event she remembers only in her nightmares. But when she arrives at Herne Hill to sort through the house—with the help of her cousin Natasha and sexy antiques dealer Nicholas—bits of memory start coming back. And then she discovers a pre-Raphaelite painting, hidden behind the false back of an old wardrobe, and a window onto the house's shrouded history begins to open...1849: Imogen Grantham has spent nearly a decade trapped in a loveless marriage to a much older man, Arthur. The one bright spot in her life is her step-daughter, Evie, a high-spirited sixteen year old who is the closest thing to a child Imogen hopes to have. But everything changes when three young painters come to see Arthur's collection of medieval artifacts, including Gavin Thorne, a quiet man with the unsettling ability to read Imogen better than anyone ever has. When Arthur hires Gavin to paint her portrait, none of them can guess what the hands of fate have set in motion.From modern-day England to the early days of the Preraphaelite movement, Lauren Willig's That Summer takes readers on an un-put-downable journey through a mysterious old house, a hidden love affair, and one woman’s search for the truth about her past—and herself.
One particular type of novel that I enjoy is where a present day storyline solves a past problem or mystery, with both stories being told at simultaneously. Lauren Willig is an absolute master at this, (so is Barbara Erskine if you like this style) as anyone who is a fan of her Pink Carnation series can attest.
'That Summer' is a lovely stand-alone novel in that same style, that grabbed me from the get-go and carried me along to the conclusion. In 2009 Julia inherits a house in England and finds somthing hidden in the back of a wardrobe. Why is it there and where did it come from? In 1849, Imogen is trapped in a loveless marriage. How are the two things related.
2 love stories. 2 mysteries. 2 solutions. All wrapped up in the nice little bundle that is 'That Summer'.
It's a fairly gentle read that won't take you long to finish and you migh guess the solutions to the mysteries, but you'll enjoy the read while you do. I'm going to be recommending this one a lot.