by Robyn Carr
Genres: Women's Fiction
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Mothers and daughters, sisters and cousins--they lived for summers at the lake house until a tragic accident changed everything.
The Summer That Made Us is an unforgettable story about a family learning to accept the past, to forgive and to love each other again.
That was then...
For the Hempsteads, two sisters who married two brothers and had three daughters each, summers were idyllic. The women would escape the city the moment school was out to gather at the family house on Lake Waseka. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree. All of their problems drifted away as the days passed in sun-dappled contentment. Until the summer that changed everything.
This is now...
After an accidental drowning turned the lake house to a site of tragedy and grief, it was closed up. For good. Torn apart, none of the Hempstead women speak of what happened that summer, and relationships between them are uneasy at best to hurtful at worst. But in the face of new challenges, one woman is determined to draw her family together again, and the only way that can happen is to return to the lake and face the truth.
Robyn Carr has crafted a beautifully woven story about the complexities of family dynamics and the value of strong female relationships.
THE SUMMER THAT MADE US by Robyn Carr is a touching tale of family and their summer house on Lake Waseka. A place where the sisters brought their children and spent the summers basking by the lake, until one fateful summer that ripped them apart. Now twenty-five years later one of the children is dying, and the summer house will open for one last summer. Can they recapture the magic? Heal old wounds? Carr takes readers along for this beautiful, funny, heartbreaking and magical summer.
Carr has brought us a delightful multi-generational tale with fully developed and realistic characters. Louise and Jo Hempstead married brothers, one dependable the other charismatic and flighty. They each had three daughters and spent their summers at their parent’s lake house. It was a lovely, carefree time and I envied them their escape from reality.
Charlene “Charley,” loses her job and decides to spend the summer with her sister Meg, who is fighting stage four cancer. Meg wants to spend the summer at Lake Waseka, and Charley agrees to open the house, make repairs and have it ready for June. Through flashbacks and discussions, we learn about the last tragic summer spent at the lake house. The reader along with Meg and Charley, soon realize it was something more than the tragedy that ended those magical summers and pulled the families apart. We meet sisters, Jo and Louise and discover their secrets. Unbeknownst to Charley, Meg invites everyone back for the summer, and slowly they trickle in.
Carr introduces us to all of the siblings and cousins sharing their backstory and current situations. The characters were rich and complex as Carr shed light on the complications of family, misunderstands, preconceived notions and stubbornness. It is so funny how we rehash mistakes and pigeon-hole family members. We can be so stubborn and unforgiving. Carr captured all the complexities of a family from the heartwarming to the cruel allowing readers to identify, feel, and relate to these characters.
There was an air of suspense stitched with sadness that kept me reading. Carr’s series are delightful but I have often felt her stand-alone novels weren’t for me. However, I was drawn to this title and I am so glad that I read their story. It touched my heart and is the perfect end of summer read.
Raw, emotional, heartwarming and at times humorous THE SUMMER THAT MADE US, delivered a family story that will touch even the coldest of hearts.
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I enjoy Carr and hope you do as well.
This sounds good.
I happen to be away now for a week at the beach with family – brought books, but too tired to read much – I’ll make up for that when I get home.
Nothing is better than the beach 🙂
No, I spend my summers at home. Thank you
Good luck Linda 🙂
I have this coming up on my reading list and I’m really excited about it. I agree that Carr’s stand alones don’t have quite the pull that her series books seem too but this sounds really good. I like that there’s a little suspense mixed in because there does sound like there’s so much sadness!
I was pleased and hope you enjoy it as well Katherine
I just got an email about this book and wondered about it. I like that it’s about family, and their complicated fractured relationships.
Yes, I did too 🙂 Hope you get to read it.
Jenea's Book Obsession
I love reads that have to family dynamics, and this ones emotional and amazing.
I do as well Jenea. Have a wonderful weekend!
This one sounds a little sad, but still good. I spend my summers in equal parts working and relaxing 🙂
It did have sad moments, but there was plenty of warm and fuzzy feels too.
Family can do the most damage to each other it seems. I like the sound of this one. I’m dying to know what caused it all.
Very true. and it was good to see healing )
Robyn Carr is the best at creating characters! Thanks for the post.
Yes, I completely agree 🙂
This sounds like such a lovely and emotional read. I also love that it’s multiple generations of a family. Thanks for hosting the giveaway too 🙂
l love that we see the different generations in this story, Suzanne.
Summer is almost over, sad
Damnit I am not ready!!
Why haven’t I read Robyn Carr yet? This really sounds like my kind of book and I think my mom would enjoy it as well. It sounds like a really emotional story.
I wish I spent summers away but I seem to spend them working. When I was a kid, I would spend some weeks with other family.
Her Virgin River books are my absolute favorite 🙂
Oh my goodness, this sounds like a real heartwrencher of a story. So much so that I’m glad that you mention its not without humour.
It was both sad and wonderful Tracy if you know what I mean?
When I was a kid, we spent summers up north in a cabin my dad built. Now that I’m an adult, we have staycations due to lack of time away from school and work.
Ah yes, school and work will put a damper on things.
My parents usually took us on a vacation every year. Now I usually go back to Michigan to spend time with my Sister and enjoy Lake Michigan. Book sounds like an amazing read. Like books that uncover secrets in the story.
Time on the lake sounds wonderful Dianne!
Lover Of Romance
I do love those raw and emotional reads!! they are the best and this author is great to read.
Very true on both counts my friend!
Most of my summers are spent around home or on short road trips.
Road trips are fun, Sherry.
her books always sound so lovely and emotional. I really need to read this one, but I think it’s going to make me cry
This was wonderful in that you experienced laughter, tears, and joy.
I am a recent fan of Robyn Carr, and so far, I’ve loved each book of hers that I’ve read. This one is on my wish list, and you’ve made me wish even harder. I love a story full of complex characters and dynamics. Great review! Thanks for sharing.
Ooo, grab it sooner rather than later my friend!
That sounds good and I love her books even though it’s been a while since I’ve read one.
I loved her Virgin River series.
Ah its been way too long since I’ve read a Carr. Time to get back! Thanks for the wonderful look into her new release.
And it’s a standalone my friend..perfect kind!
Seems like a very touching and interesting read. Nice of you to share.
Happy to do so. Enjoy your weekend!
Back when I was a kid, we used to spend two weeks away at family cottage in northern Wisconsin. A ton of family was up around there with multiple cottages on many lakes. Time passed, we lost family, but my mom and her sisters recently went up there to visit all the cottages during a memorial for one of their (mine, too) uncles.
NOTHING TRAGIC like in this story – wow on the drama!!! I don’t think think my poor weepy heart could handle this one but it sounds fantastic!! A perfect lazy beach read if I ever heard of one 🙂 Super review!!
WE never had a home, but spend weeks at Jersey shore almost every summer.
I’ve been without power due to the hurricane here in texas, but happy to finally catch back up with my book blogging friends. This sounds like wonderfully detailed family drama with just the right tinge of suspense to help drive things along.
I did not realize you were in Texas Ethan. Despite lack of power, I am glad you are ok.
This sounds wonderful. I enjoy these types of stories, thanks for bringing this to my attention.,
I love weaving them in Nadene and this was a good one.
Geybie's Book Blog
Sounds SO good, Kim. I’ve just had a convo with a friend and she asked for a book recommendation that isn’t romance. I think this one is perfect for her. She loves family oriented stories.
Awesome review, as always. ❤️
Oh yes, then recommend The Night the Lights Went Out, Slightly South of Simple and The Garden of Small Beginnings.