“Our Summer Together” by Fanny Blake opens with Caro remembering Damir, the summer they’ve just had, the effect he had on her, and the fact that he’s left, without explanation.
So far, so holiday-romance familiar, perhaps. But we quickly learn that Caro’s marriage had been over when he came on the scene, her daughters no longer living at home…
So now Caro becomes more interesting to the reader, more mature and with emotional baggage that we didn’t expect. This is no teen romance.
Turn the page and we learn she’s a grandmother….and that she first met Damir on a train, when he offered her one of those random acts of kindness that instantly reveal a person’s true character.
From there the story increases in pace – and passion. And just as we get to know Caro better as the story progresses, so she gets to know herself better, too. It’s only now that she finds herself breaking free of the conventional, accepted role of daughter/ wife/ mother/ grandmother role and adding lover to that list of titles…
I like the way Fanny Blake writes characters. They’re warm, funny, the kind of women you would want in your own circle of friends. I like that Caro is confident in some situations, uncertain in others. She can be insecure in that way that most middle-aged women recognise, but without ever being wet.
Put simply, she shares the human characteristics that most of us do, especially when faced with a radical life change.
Without immersing us in a load of naval gazing, this book subtly prompts the reader to consider her own life, the routines, ruts, comfort and familiarity of it all, and to gauge how she might cope in Caro’s situation.
I liked it. It’s an entertaining yet thought-provoking read.
“Our Summer Together” by Fanny Blake is out now in Orion paperback.
And Fanny has written a gorgeous story especially for “The People’s Friend”. Her delicious “Lemon Tart” is in Special 149, on sale September 13.