Read A Certain Summer by Patricia Beard Online


A richly evocative debut novel set in an exclusive summer colony along the east coast during the aftermath of World War II—for fans of Kate Morton and Jamie Ford."Nothing ever changes at Wauregan.” That mystique is the tradition of the idyllic island colony off the shore of Long Island, the comforting tradition that its summer dwellers have lived by for over half a centuryA richly evocative debut novel set in an exclusive summer colony along the east coast during the aftermath of World War II—for fans of Kate Morton and Jamie Ford."Nothing ever changes at Wauregan.” That mystique is the tradition of the idyllic island colony off the shore of Long Island, the comforting tradition that its summer dwellers have lived by for over half a century. But in the summer of 1948, after a world war has claimed countless men—even those who came home—the time has come to deal with history’s indelible scars.Helen Wadsworth’s husband, Arthur, was declared missing in action during an OSS operation in France, but the official explanation was mysteriously nebulous. Now raising a teenage son who longs to know the truth about his father, Helen turns to Frank Hartman—her husband’s best friend and his partner on the mission when he disappeared. Frank, however, seems more intent on filling the void in Helen’s life that Arthur’s absence has left. As Helen’s affection for Frank grows, so does her guilt, especially when Peter Gavin, a handsome Marine who was brutally tortured by the Japanese and has returned with a faithful war dog, unexpectedly stirs new desires. With her heart pulled in multiple directions, Helen doesn’t know whom to trust—especially when a shocking discovery forever alters her perception of both love and war. Part mystery, part love story, and part insider’s view of a very private world, A Certain Summer resonates in the heart long after the last page is turned....

Title : A Certain Summer
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781476710266
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Certain Summer Reviews

  • Renee
    2019-05-15 01:35

    Sadly, summer does not last forever, but those who long for sunny, lazy days can always have them close at hand if they have a book beside them. A Certain Summer is a great example of a story to read if you want to hang on to these last days of summer or to read in winter when the bitter cold days make summer seem like a far off dream. While it may not be a favorite of mine, the setting was to die for, especially if you love seaside living or beach vacations. A Certain Summer definitely captures the carefree spirit of summer while reminding readers of the struggles that soldiers and their families faced following World War II.Having just finished a novel set during the second World War last week, this book made it easier for me to imagine what heartaches and dilemmas families on the home-front had to deal with as well as those returning home from service. I've read many books that addressed PTSD in our current generation and it's really interesting how far we've come since the 40s when it was sort of frowned upon to talk about what vets saw during war. A Certain Summer also features a military war dog named Max. How citizens looked at returning war dogs was also interesting -- some with fear that dogs who were trained for the battlefield could never be rehabilitated and some with respect and care that they deserved. Max, definitely added to the uniqueness of the book.A Certain Summer is certainly not a "fluffy" read, but nevertheless it's a book that you can take with you and enjoy at the beach. The sand and surf of the seaside at Wauregan, the exclusive private island for some of New York's most elite families, was brought to life -- so much so that I could almost hear the waves hitting the shore. A talent show, boating trips, ferry rides, and bicycles all hearken back to the days when life was a bit more slow. Helen, Jack, Peter, The Judge, and even the MWD Max are equally complex and interesting characters -- anyone who you could have met at the beach in the 1940s. I'm not really sure what to say about how the story ended but I felt like there were some things left open that I wish were settled. Overall, this was a good story and I will probably end up giving Patricia Beard's next book a try. Note: Some strong language and mild sexual content.*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*

  • Ionia
    2019-05-17 19:25

    I think 'incredibly moving' would be a good way to describe this book. This is really a magnificent example of literature. Set in the days soon after World War II, in the small summer community of Wauregan, this book begins with a character who has lost her husband to the war. He is neither alive nor dead in her mind, as he was officially "lost" and remains unaccounted for. While I have seen a plot similar to this before in other books, I have never read a fictional account of the suffering those left behind go through that was as well written or intelligent as this one. The town is small, and therefore has the usual amount of gossip, betrayal and secrets amongst the residents that you find in any summer town, where tourism and "outsiders" pay the bills for the locals who have lived there for generations. This made for a lot of interesting side plots that made the book even more compelling. This novel has a lot going for it. Along with the interesting setting and historical feel, there is a complex romance involving the main character and two suitors who each have qualities that make them both ideal and not. This is the kind of romance that fans of the genre hope for. You can't figure out exactly what is going to happen until it does, and the emotions of the characters are very clear and helps you to relate to them as you are reading. The romance feels natural and not at all pushed or contrived. You will naturally choose your pick for the main character and stand your ground throughout the rest of the novel.This is very much a novel about redemption in the face of adversity. It is about pain, anguish, uncertainty, love, hope and the enduring power of the human heart to heal wounds deep within our own heart. The single thing that amazed me the most about this book, was the way the author described the husbands that had returned home from the war. In an in-depth and creative way, she showed their difficulty returning to civilian life, the desperation they felt to blend in and be "normal" for their families again and the struggles of the wives to understand what the men had gone through during the war. This novel, collectively, is one of the best books I have read this year. I can't think of a romance reader who would not find this simply amazing. This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher.

  • Nancy
    2019-04-28 19:26

    This book is a lot of history following WWII that is rarely addressed in other books. On the island of Wauregan, the reader sees a microcosm of society following a horrific period of history. It's summer and the quietly elite return to their summer homes to resume life like before the war. Of course, there are absences felt as some of the men did not return. Also becoming apparent is that the men who did return left a vital piece of themselves behind. The scars left on them are rarely ones that can be seen. This is how we meet Peter, a younger man who spent time in a psych. ward before returning to society. This is looked upon with some abhorrence. Peter must be weak if he had to go to the nut house. Of course, it becomes much more apparent that Peter may be a lucky one to have had the time to talk and process the horrors of the war. The other men simply came home with the expectation they would insert themselves into their old lives, carrying their horrors and memories stoically and without repercussions.Helen doesn't know if she's a war widow or not. She is raising her teenage son while her husband, Arthur, has been missing in action for the past four years. He joined the OSS. and was reported missing. His best friend, Frank, keeps coming around and he intimates that he will find out more as he is in the infancy of the CIA but it is clear from the onset that something is weird about Frank. The history and glimpses into the lesser known elements of post war are very well researched and covered in the book. Peter returns with a German Shepherd that was used as a scout in the Pacific. There is a history on the use of dogs in war and how they were retrained afterward. The story shows the complete dedication the dogs had to their trainers and owners. This is touching and interesting. The story gives snippets of the men on the island and the way they are adapting back into civilian life. Some have turned to liquor. Others have become withdrawn. Most have nightmares and awaken to themselves screaming. All have seen and experienced horrific scenes. Other books describe the horrors of war and specifically this war. This book is really about what happened after the conflict ended. The story itself was interesting although it didn't grab my attention as much as other books have. At the same time, I really did enjoy knowing more about the post war experiences and the way everybody learned to adapt. I was particularly drawn to any of the characters besides Peter and Max. Even Helen was mostly uninteresting to me. I did like the ending quite a bit. There is appropriately closure with an open invitation that is accepted but the reader is not privy to the actual scene. But the ending is very appropriate.

  • Carrie
    2019-05-13 01:34

    3.5 StarsOkay this book started off iffy for me. I don't know if it was the time setting or the main character didn’t ring true. I would read a few chapters at a time and after I made it a third of the way through I finished the book in that one sitting. I started to get into the whole Wauregan atmosphere, not a care in the world. I’m not a big fan of love triangles and there is one well sort of. Well it’s mostly in Helen's mind between Frank and Peter. Helen doesn’t know if her husband, Arthur, is still alive he’s been missing for 4 years. She doesn’t want to move on with the chance of Arthur coming home. Even if there was little chance of him returning home. I do think that the author Patricia Beard held my hand a little too much, always steering me into the relationship that she wanted the reader to form a bond with. You knew just by a few scenes at the beginning how everything was going to turn out. I’m okay with that but I would have liked a little more speculation on my side. Frank is a family friend who was with Arthur during the war who adapts to who he needs to be. Peter is also a friend of the family that Helen knows from Wauregan. Peter knows who he is and deals with his return from the war the best that he can. Peter has a little help with his war veteran friend Max. Max I have to say is my favorite character. I might be a little bias because I have my own German Shepherd. I think he was a great addition to the story. I did feel that the men who came back from war their behaviors were spot on. I can only imagine what it would be like to be in those positions and then come back to your jobs and families like nothing has changed trying fit into your old way of life. Jack, Helen’s son, behaves better than what I think a 14year old boy would. He didn't rebel as much as I thought a teenage boy with hopes that his father would return from war as he watches mothers relationship with **** grow. He did a little but he seemed to accept everything much better than I would have thought. Overall I liked the story even though I knew how it was going to end. It’s a good summer read. I wish I could spend a whole summer at the beach and not have to work. Would I read this book again? Maybe. Would I read this author again? Definitely.

  • Amanda
    2019-05-06 01:29

    A Certain Summer is, as the title suggests, a decent beach read. Personally, I found Beard's writing a little too stiff for my tastes, and I was not able to easily empathize with the core cast of characters. Despite long passages of exposition and characters gossiping, by the end, I still did not feel emotionally Invested. For some reason, the dramatic parts of the book never rose above a swell for me when what I wanted was a big cresting wave of tension. The most interesting part of the book actually came at the end in a completely different country from where 98% of the book took place. That said, it's perfect for a vacation or a plane ride, or whenever you want something light that won't leave you depressed!

  • Katie
    2019-05-04 17:32

    I thought this book had the makings of a great story until the ending fell completely flat. It was like she just got sick of the story at the end and wrapped it up as quickly as possible.

  • Cindy
    2019-04-23 17:47

    I just won this book! Thank you Goodreads!

  • April Hammar
    2019-05-14 00:52

    This book lacked emotion. It had such promise, but every time I thought I would finally care about one of the characters, the author jumped to a different storyline. Very frustrating read!

  • Gina
    2019-04-19 01:50 I finished the book a few hours ago and let it process through my brain because I hate when I automatically jump to a 5 star review because I want to have really good reasons to give it a five star review.The book is set in a fictional summer community off Long Island, Wauregan. It is an idyllic place where people from high society go to summer where they claim they can "just be themselves". There are no cars allowed on the island so everyone walks or rides bikes and drags a wagon behind them to carry home they things they bought at the market that day etc... The book is set in 1948, just after the end of WWII, and the main character is Helen Wadsworth. Her husband Arthur was too old to join up so he joined the newly formed OSS which led to the creation of the CIA. I think at this point it is important to add that this is the author's first jab at writing fiction. Before this novel, she was a successful non-fiction writer. However, the plotline she chose as well as the time period allowed Beard to research the heck out of this book! Even in her acknowledgments she stated that it was her fault that she said the moon was full on a certain date because a full moon lent better to the story of Helen's date night with Peter. I mean come on...who researches when there was a full moon in 1948?? With that in mind, I realized that all of the facts Peter (another main character back from the war) gave about how dogs were used in the military beginning in the Roman times was probably pretty well researched and could be backed up by a hundred books that she also listed in her acknowledgements. Ok...I digress. Patricia Beard is a wonderful researcher which led to a wonderful book.Back to her husband, Arthur, joined the OSS with his long time friend Frank and near the end of the war, Arthur, was declared MIA. Helen and her son Jack keep their hopes up that one day Arthur will walk off the ferry and greet them just like old times. But as the years pass, the rest of the community, especially the women, gossip and say that Arthur is probably dead and that Helen should give up her hopes. They also secretly talk behind her backs worrying that such a pretty woman might try to steal their husbands. Remember when I said the people of the community just wanted to "be themselves" and not be tied up in all of the societal expectations back home. Well they aren't really any different, especially in the gossip department.Helen must soon realize that she must accept the fact that Arthur is gone. She has 2 men is may be interested in. One is Frank, Arthur's best friend and her son's godfather. The other is Peter, a much younger man who has just returned from the Japanese theatre and months in a psychiatric hospital because he was tortured by the Japanese soldiers just months before V-day in Japan. Peter starts off the story as a loner with his trusty german shepherd, Max, by his side. Many of the residents don't trust the dog because he is a war dog and could be aggressive toward the kids but Peter eventually earns the residents trust by showing everyone how peaceful Max can be. I really could go on and on about this book it was that good. There was even a hint of mystery with a twist at the end that I certainly didn't see coming. One other major plot theme was Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how every solder who came back had some sort of difficulties adjusting to life back home. It was interesting to read how life was taken care of during the war when it was just the woman in charge and then how different it was when the men came back. Some had mild symptoms such as flinching at loud noises but other husbands began drinking heavily and many other more disturbing actions. The author made sure to point out that, even though Peter didn't want to talk about his time in the psychiatric ward after the war was over, it was Peter who was doing the best emotionally once he came home. The author expressed her thoughts through Helen by her saying "I wonder if it would have been better if all of our men had had the time to recuperate before coming home to their families. If they wouldn't have as many problems. If the women didn't have to hide what happened in their homes after the lights went out." I just thought that was very insightful especially now that we have men and women coming home from war everyday who then sometimes turn to drugs, alcohol, or violence to deal with what they saw on the front lines of battle.What I am basically trying to get at is to read this book. The author doesn't bog you down with historical facts but I did end the book knowing more than I did before I read it. The plotline itself is worth it. But to also have so much insight into all the things Beard broached in her book was a fun was of learning. And I promise it is not a difficult read whatsoever. It reads like a contemporary women's fiction novel. This is a 5 star read for me and I hope that Patricia Beard gives it another go at writing fiction because this was just a gem! 5 stars!

  • Lupe
    2019-05-19 18:45

    Very good book. Not a typical beach read. Explores fidelity, PTSD, and coming of age. I was pleased with the ending, too.

  • Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
    2019-04-23 17:37

    Wauregan is a beach town that is pretty close to perfection. The year is 1948 and this sleepy town is a getaway where people leave it all behind for the summer, including the memories of the war. Helen Wadsworth and her son, Jack, have a house on the island and their housekeeper is accompanying them for a summer of relaxation on the island. Helen's husband never returned home after the war and has been MIA for a few years; however, Helen is still holding out hope for his return. All is honkey-dory on the island, except there's someone new. Her neighbor's grandson returns to the island for some rest and to recover from the war. He brings along his dog, Max, who also served in the war. Helen has met him once before, but there's something about him now that attracts her to him, even though she feels he is much too young for her. There's also Jack's godson and her husband's best friend, Frank, who spends some time with them this summer. Frank has feelings for Helen, but how can she move on to another man when she is still hoping her husband will return, especially when this man is her husband's best friend? This summer on Wauregan proves to be a life altering summer for both Helen and Jack. A Certain Summer by Patricia Beard is a moving tale about the importance of that one life changing summer. It also touches on more serious issues, like life after World War II; fans of historical fiction will relish this tale.Helen is an interesting character in A Certain Summer. I wouldn't say I was a huge fan of hers, but she was likable nonetheless. She had a lot to deal with along with most of her friends who were dealing with the aftermath of World War II. It really impacted their marriages and many of the female characters would spend a lot of time trying to figure out why their husbands had changed or why they act the way they do. For these females, it was a mystery as to what actually occurred at war and even though the war was over, the emotional and physical scars still remained. Not many novels deal with this issue from the female's perspective and I found that to be quite interesting.Since I am a dog lover, I viewed Jack and his connection to the German Shepard, Max, to be one of the best parts of the novel. The sections that focused on Jack really demonstrated how this summer was his coming-of-age tale and what's better than a boy coming of age with a trusty dog as a sidekick? What Max has to go through during the war and afterwards broke my heart, but I loved how both Jack and Max were good for each other.The romance in A Certain Summer had a bit of the whole love triangle to it, but it didn't bother me too much. I just wanted Helen to move on past her husband since it has been many years since he's been missing. There were definitely some swoon-worthy moments in this book, so fans of romance won't be disappointed.The setting in A Certain Summer is to-die-for. It's definitely my kind of setting. The island seemed to be perfect; Wauregan is definitely a place I would want to visit. The simplicity, the carefree feeling, the beach, the boats, the dances, and the fact that most people were barefoot all summer were details that brought the setting to life. The beautiful setting of Wauregan and the time period of the late forties really made this novel special.I did have a few minor issues with A Certain Summer. One being the fact that the point of view jumped around a little between various characters, which sometimes I found to be jarring. Also, the ending was abrupt. I wanted a bit more and it just kind of left me hanging. Other than that, I found A Certain Summer to be wholly captivating. Fans of historical fiction, especially World War II, will definitely want to put a copy of A Certain Summer in their beach bag this year.

  • Rachel T
    2019-04-26 00:48

    As posted at The Reading Cafe out of 5 stars for this reader folksA Certain Summer by Patricia Beard is classified as historical fiction with a lump of romance. The setting is 1948 on a small town beach tourist island that draws the same crowd each and every summer. The beach houses are beautiful, the festivals are crowd pleasers and life is generally good when you are there despite the typical small town gossipers and expectations of how one is to live. We are also set post WWII where men have come home to a life that they are expected to adapt right back into after living their own personal hell overseas.Helen Wadworth is our leading lady who has to live with the fact that her husband Arthur was lost overseas for years. Not knowing for sure what on earth happened or if he is in fact deceased, she is in constant limbo, torn between having to remain faithful to her husband, raising her teenage son (Jack) alone, wondering if love will ever find her again and finding out once and for all what happened on that fateful mission her husband was engaged in. Arthur's best friend Frank (who just so happened to serve overseas with Arthur and on that fateful mission) comes to visit Helen and begins to woo her, and in many ways takes on the husband role. Helen is attracted to Frank and I think she relishes the familiarity that he brings to the summer beach home. He is comfortable. Another important character is Peter Gavin. Peter is a young marine that lives next door to Helen and is nursing a damaged body and mind from the war he fought in. He was captured and tortured at enemy hands and is currently trying to move on with his life. Max, his war dog, is a tremendous help in this process. Before Helen realizes it, she is engaged in a love triangle with Frank and Peter. Helen also begins to actively investigate the details of her husbands disappearance and before you know it, you are reading a story about mystery, love, betrayal, history acceptance and understanding.Okay so here is the nitty gritty. I didn't LOVE this book. I didn't HATE it either! It was a good solid read but I have to admit I had a hard time remaining engaged. The first half of the book I had to read in many sittings as it was so detailed in description and flashbacks that it took away from the flow of the story and I found myself wanting to scream "get on with it already". It has a slow pace which begins to pick up half way through and that is where to story redeems itself for me. I really liked the second half of this book as the relationships begin to develop, Helen gets off her fine rear end and begins to really question what happened to her husband. We even get some travel off the island and overseas.My fave ... that's easy! Max and Peter (especially Max the dog Reading how these two bonded was so endearing and if you are an animal lover you'll appreciate this part of the book too. It amazes me how soldiers bonded with certain animals during war time and what pivotal roles dogs had to play. I think Max is Peter's salvation and once Helen was added you begin to see the wounds knit together.If you are looking for a beach read this summer and you enjoy love triangles with some history, then check out this book. I did enjoy beautiful scenic pictures in my mind, but keep in mind the story is a little sad with some happy.HAPPY READING! :)

  • Blue
    2019-05-10 21:34

    After closing the last page of A CERTAIN SUMMER by PATRICIA BEARD, I had a strong desire to learn more about World War II. When I ask myself why this desire to gain more knowledge about a war is so deep, I think it's because of the wonderful way Patricia Beard writes a book. From the timeI began to read the novel there was this feeling that my body had slipped away to Wauregan, the community on Long Island, and become a neighbor and friend who knew everything happening to Helen, a woman whose husband is counted as missing during WWII overseas across the street from a bakery in a house, etc. I also felt close to her son, Jack, the men in her life Frank and Peter and also, her housekeeper and friend, Kathleen. Really, I think it's impossible not to become one in spirit with these people while reading the book. Also, I loved Max, the war dog, who is now licking his war wounds like the soldiers coming back home from the battle fields. None of these men are the same as when they left to go to war. Although, it is very difficult for these men to share what they saw, heard and smelled.However, I did wish the novel had begun with the heroes and heroines of the Resistance and Frank and Peter's fight to escape. Instead the reader isn't taken overseas until nearly the end of the book. Putting the Resistance movement at the end of A Certain Summer makes the war lose its importance. Usually, on a phone call or an emergency visit the most important circumstances are told first. Instead, here we learn about Helen's love life way before the reader is taken to the most significant part of the book, the situation where Peter goes missing. I also think Kathleen's voice was muffled. Usually, a housekeeper has a very strong voice.Still, the novel is intense with the feelings of the soldiers who make it home, with the feelings of a child who loses his dad and the importance of a place in our lives. Also, there is the inability to discern who is a true hero and who is a false hero. Perhaps, this is because the people left at home find it hard not to sympathize and believe the words of every soul who makes it back home.The novel is remarkable. I will not forget the new knowledge I gained about war dogs. Didn't know about dogs who help in the war and come home to become Therapy pets. So Max opened a whole new world to me. Perhaps Max is the reason I want to know more about WWII. War dogs are still used in wars.Patricia Beard writes, "In regard to war dogs, in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade center, trained German shepherds have become more familiar sights, even in civilian situations. The most famous shepherd was the dog parachuted into Pakistan with the team that killed Osama bin Laden."War_Dogs

  • Dana
    2019-05-01 20:33

    A Certain Summer was set in an exclusive neighborhood on the East coast. The stringent community rules on ownership and family pedigree reminded me of my visit to a similar neighborhood in New York, Breezy Point. Three years after the end of World War II, Helen and her son Jack lived in limbo waiting to see if her husband Arthur would move off the list of soldiers missing in action and return home. The seaside location was the backdrop to a story about romance, loss, and family. Frank and Peter both vied for Helen's love through their relationship with Jack. Frank was Arthur's best friend growing up and was the last one to see him alive. As Frank's duty toward his godson, Jack, intensified so did his feelings for Helen. Peter was a neighbor to Helen, and my pick for her romantic interest. He was charming and respectful, and seemed to genuinely care for Helen and Jack. However, there simply wasn't enough build up for these romances. The conversations between Helen and the men were hardly more than friendly banter when suddenly the men cared deeply for Helen. Helen's own feelings for the men also happened without any real basis. While I liked her, I wanted more. More of a reason to root for her, more of glimpse into her feelings for her husband and potential feelings for another man, more of an understanding of her background and who she was as a woman.There wasn't enough time to delve into the romances because the author spent so much time describing Max, the army search and rescue dog Peter had. I am not a dog person, so I wasn't interested in the excessive stories about hero dogs in war. Much of this book felt like short novellas loosely tied together. Several minor characters appeared for a few pages, which aided in the general effort to describe the difficult reentry of war veterans back home, but didn't further Helen's story line. I thought the ending was extremely obvious, but again, there was hardly any build up to the shocking resolution.The best thing about this novel was the location! I could see and feel all the details of the tiny seaside town. But this wasn't my favorite summer war mystery, for that I would recommend Folly Beach.Please read more of my reviews on my blog: http://fastpageturner.wordpress.comor follow me on twitter at @dana_heyde

  • Kathy
    2019-04-19 22:27

    Overall, this was a nice story but it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. I received this book from Netgalley and started it right away. However about 20% in I stopped and started reading something else. Actually I read a bunch of other books. To be honest, if I didn’t have to review this, I probably wouldn’t have finished it. Oh how I hate saying those words. I know how hard authors work on their novels and how much they love them. And, really, I could do no better.The bulk of this novel was set on the vacation island. This was a problem for me because I didn’t like the island. It was a snobby island with nosy inhabitants and strange rules. They say nothing ever changes in Wauregan, and that may be true, but the author and characters put in a lot of time forcing that issue. Maybe some things needed to change. It was just boring to me.Also, the story was depressing. Poor Helen didn’t know whether her husband was dead or alive and all she could do was wait. It seemed as if she spent the summer just going through the motions. Of course this is understandable, just boring.So why did I give it three stars? First off I loved the Peter character. I thought that he was the only person on the island that even seemed awake. He could see through the behavior of the islanders to what was really going on with them. And we can’t forget his dog. I may have liked his dog even better. Their relationship was just beautiful. Peter was also wonderful with Helen and Jack. They both seemed to come alive when interacting with Peter. I was never tempted to put the book down while he was on the scene.Secondly, once this story finally got off the island and went oversees it was wonderful. It moved along and kept me thinking. Helen was finally doing something to find out about her husband’s fate. I will say that I really enjoyed that part of it.So in the end, I guess I am happy that I had to review it. The ending saved the book. I just wish the whole novel was as interesting.Checkout this review and MORE at

  • Eileen Kerrigan
    2019-05-05 01:46

    I wanted to like this book. Really, I did. It seemed to have so much of my favorite topics: World War II, France, even a German Shepherd! Unfortunately, the book turned out to be a huge disappointment, for so many reasons. The two main issues:1. The writing was, for the most part, shockingly bland -- and I say "shockingly" because I'm astounded that this got past a good copy editor or publisher. Even the fairly exciting parts seemed to be written with all the enthusiasm of a third-grader composing a "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" essay. I just couldn't bring myself to really care about any of the characters, because the author surely didn't. I felt as if I was reading a children's book, with the occasional grown-up word thrown in for fun. 2. The fact-checking was all over the map, ranging from spot-on to not-even-close :-/ If you're going to present something as fact, for the love of god, do your research! The killer for me was in the author's notes following the story, in which she sings the praises of the German Shepherd breed (a breed she seems to know little about), and then explains that it was a German Shepherd that was involved in the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound. I'm sure that would come as a great surprise to the Belgian Malinois that actually WAS involved in the raid, as well as all of his teammates, everyone who knows anything about dogs, and even most of the general public, who -- following the raid -- read and saw one story after another extolling the virtues of the Malinois breed. Finally, I agree completely with everyone who noted that the ending of this book was abrupt and confusing. It was as if the author simply decided she was sick of the whole business, threw down her pen, and said, "Ah, the hell with this!" I kept flipping to the back of the book to look for the missing last chapter, but to no avail. I've never read anything else by this author, but if her other works are similar, think I'll give them a pass :-/

  • Claudia
    2019-05-18 17:24

    I really enjoyed this book, even though it turned out to be a little bit more sad than I expected. The story is set in the aftermath of WW II and deals with the problems husbands and wives encounter after the husbands returned from war. Back then, it was not common for the men to speak to their wives about the horrible things they saw and did in the war. Post traumatic stress disorder was not really addressed as it is nowadays. I remember that my dad said that his father would not talk about the war with his family, only with other veterans.The main character is still waiting to find out what happened to her husband, and the story will tell what happened to him and if he will come back. The way the author described her fears and feelings was very well drafted and well written. I cared for the character, and I was torn between her hope that her husband would come back after several years, and her shy attempts at starting a new life. Her inner struggle was heart breaking and I kept hoping that there would be a positive ending for her. The book does indeed finish on a positive note without being unbelievable or overly sappy.Another interesting part of the book was the story about the war dog. I had never heard about war dogs before, or the part they played in war, and their fates. Some were pets from families who donated them to the government. Some dogs were returned to civilian life, and others were euthanized because they could not be returned. This story line affected me a lot, because I am a huge animal lover. I almost gave up the book because of it, and it made me cry. But it also prompted me to research this further, which is always something I like about good historical fiction: it makes me want to find out more and learn something new.Copy provided through NetGalley

  • Barb Klein
    2019-04-22 17:24

    “A Certain Summer” was written by Patricia Beard. It is a story set in post-war New England at a time when the privileged spent the hot summers in cooler places away from the cities. This practice started during the early 1900’s when the wealthy from New York gathered at camps in the Adirondacks and Southampton to spend the summers every year. The wives and children stayed for weeks, while the men continued to commute to their businesses in the city and return on the weekends to spend time with their families. Wauregan was such a place, an island where the summer residents came every year to while away the hot days by the beaches and sit on their porches in the cool shade.Helen and Jack, her son, came back to Wauregan for the summer. Helen’s husband, Arthur, was an OSS agent in France during the war and was listed as missing in action. Helen didn’t know for sure that he was dead, but neither did she know if he was alive. While living there that summer, Helen became friends with the grandson of the older gentleman who lived next door. Jack became Peter’s shadow and looked up to him as a father figure. Also visiting was Frank, Arthur’s partner in the OSS in France. He intended to court Helen when Arthur had not returned after seven years and would be declared legally dead. The book provides a glimpse at the lives of those wealthy during the summers at their “away” camps and a sample of their activities.This book was an easy read and very interesting to me. I was not ready for the ending, which will surprise you, but thought it fitting. I think you will enjoy reading this book. I look forward to reading more books by Patricia Beard.Night Owl Reviews and Gallery Books sent a free print copy in return for my honest review of this book.You can find this review on my blog at

  • Star
    2019-04-18 18:49

    Wauregan is a beautiful island where the same families have had houses there for generations. Up until now, nothing had ever changed at Wauregan. It’s now 1948 and World War II has changed the world and taken millions of lives. There is an air of sadness and confusion over Wauregan as couples are trying to learn to live together again, widows are learning to live without their husbands, and Helen Wadsworth is still trying to discover what happened to her missing husband, Arthur. The world is different now and as much as everyone would like it to go back to the way it was “before”, that egg has been long broken. As Helen struggles to find the truth, she has to also take care of her teenage son, Jack, and do what’s best for him, too. Two men are vying for her attentions – a wounded war vet, Peter, and her husband’s best friend and OSS partner, Frank. As Helen delves deeper, she realizes all she thought to be true about her husband’s disappearance was a lie.‘A Certain Summer’ has almost an epic feel to it, with a fantastic setting and very human characters, written about a time in history which scarred the entire world. It also contains many parts: history, mystery, romance, and the end of an innocent age. ‘A Certain Summer’ is Ms. Beard’s first novel and it will touch your heart. It reminded me in an odd way of ‘Brighton Beach Memoirs’ and ‘Dirty Dancing’ (don’t ask how my mind works!) and to me, by the end it felt like a novel of redemption and healing. Compelling characters really bring this book to life, my favorites being Max (the dog) and Peter (his handler). ‘A Certain Summer’ is a beautiful tale of the human condition.

  • Wendy Hines
    2019-04-19 22:39

    Helen is a strong character and I struggled and became anxious right along with her as the story progressed. Set right after WWII, the men are coming home and trying to get used to civilian living again. They can't share the horrors of war with their wives because it just wasn't something to discuss. They just wanted to fit back into their lives and appear normal. The wives tried to empathize with their husbands and understand, but not knowing the realities of what they endured makes it very challenging.For Helen, her husband hasn't come home. He's not dead, he's missing in action. I can't imagine trying to come to terms with that. A Certain Summer is set in a small town. Growing up in one myself, I know how much privacy you really have. Really none at all, someone always knows your business. And in the town of Wauregan, it's not much different. Helen's husband's best friend, Frank, wants to fill the void that Helen's husband, Arthur, left. While she can appreciate some of the stories of her husband that Frank shares with her teenage son, she also begins to have feelings for him, even though she also is filled with guilt. That's not to mention the handsome Marine, Peter, who also vies for her affection.Love story, yes, but also an emotionally filled journey that is filled with intricate details that held this reader riveted. The characters are compelling and memorable and if you read just one book this summer, read A Certain Summer. A captivating tale that I highly recommend!

  • Theresa
    2019-05-16 22:52

    A CERTAIN SUMMER by Patricia BeardThis is a great time for this book to come out. The nostalgia of the end of World War 2 has made it hard for people today to realize the cost in emotion, and spirit because of the ravages of war. I think that this book truly shows in its fictional characters and places, the true human cost of war. I would recommend this book to all family, friends and relations of our modern soldiers so that they can begin to comprehend the devastation and difficulty that our modern soldiers are facing. I think that this book encompasses the dramatic scope of life after war. The cost of the individuals of the family is not done when they return home, or are declared lost. The young family has been torn asunder by the war. Helen is alone, lost while she is waiting for the official declaration of her husband’s death. He has been missing for four years, and she has adapted to life without him. But the only place she can breathe is the remote island town, Wauregan a summer colony that has a protective and supportive atmosphere. Jack her young son is on the cusp of manhood, fourteen years old and about to go to boarding school at the end of summer. He misses his father, and the house in Wauregan is where he can remember his father the most. He has many lessons to learn this summer; most of them are letting someone go from his short life. Peter is a war hero, who has PTSD, and many ghosts in his closet. This summer he needs to find a new path in life.

  • Book of Secrets ☘
    2019-04-28 00:24

    A CERTAIN SUMMER is a bittersweet story set just after the end of World War II. It’s 1948, and on the summer getaway island of Wauregan, the residents are having a difficult time adjusting to the new normal. Men back from the war are silently suffering from the horrors they experienced, and their wives feel helpless. Widows are grieving the deaths of their husbands and trying to forge ahead as single parents, and the wives of men missing in action are living in an agonizing limbo.Helen Wadsworth’s husband Arthur went missing during the war, and she longs for closure for herself and her teenage son, Jack. As she waits for word on Arthur, Helen has two men vying for her attention – Frank, her husband’s OSS partner, and Peter, a Marine who fought in the Pacific. Helen’s character was strong, and she was easy to sympathize with. This book was a journey of discoveries for Helen – uncovering the truth and rediscovering love.The plot moved slowly at first, but it really grabbed me at the halfway point. There were a few nail-biting scenes that kept me flipping the pages, and the ending was amazing. The author presented a memorable and moving account of life post-WWII through the eyes of her characters. With the island setting, a bit of romance, and a bit of mystery, this was a satisfying summer read.Source: Review copy from NetGalley

  • Diane
    2019-05-01 17:26

    A Certain Summer by Patricia BeardChallenges read for: Goodreads, Ebook, Historical FictionBook cover: Beautiful I loved this book. It reminded me of summers on Long Island and my great uncle's beach house. Helen and Jack Wadsworth are in a sort of limbo, their beloved husband and father, Arthur, did not come home after the war. He is missing and no one, including the government, seems to know the circumstances--no one but Frank, Arthur's best friend and fellow OSS partner.Helen and Jack retreat to the family home on the fictitious island of Wauregan off the coast of Long Island in the summer of 1948. Here we get a glimpse of what life was like immediately after the war for the soldiers that did make it back--the nightmares, drinking, violence and tears. Peter, new neighbor of Helen's and grandson of "The Judge" is one of these soldiers. He and his war dog, Max, spend the summer in the process of healing and find a little love along the way.Infused with mystery, loss, betrayal and finally understanding, A Certain Summer proved to be the perfect summer read.

  • Dan
    2019-05-17 17:26

    Set on the small island of Wauregan right after WWII, Helen Wadsworth prays that her husband is still alive as he was declared MIA during a secret mission in occupied France. She has a son to take care off and begins to fall for Frank Hartman, her husband’s friend and partner on that ill-fated mission. She also starts to have feelings for yet another man, Peter Gavin, younger and also a survivor of the war with Japan. She finds it difficult to come to terms with the past and move on so that she and her son can move forward.This is more than a love story or mystery; it is a novel of human emotions, frailty and endurance. I found the characters to be well written and felt for each of the three. The reader gets to feel what it is like for those left behind without some sort of closure. The mystery wasn’t too mysterious, but didn’t take away from the drama. This one was certainly an enjoyable read!

  • Colleen
    2019-05-12 01:41

    I'm not quite sure why I didn't like this one more. There was something about the way the author wrote that just didn't grab me. I can't put my finger on it. It's like the main character's thoughts jumped almost randomly from person to person, somehow in a detached or unemotional way. She was almost too cold or clinical. I didn't feel as much sympathy for her as I should have.Otherwise it was interesting, touching on the topic of men returning from war and trying to get back into civilian life. I liked the last part of the book, when Helen goes to Europe to find out more about her husband.I don't think I'd go so far as to recommend this book to anyone, but if someone wants a light summer read this would do the trick.

  • Connie
    2019-05-15 22:27

    This book takes place in post-WWII (1948) Long Island and involves Helen Wadsworth, her teenage son Jack, and her long-time housekeeper, Kathleen. Helen's husband Arthur was a member of the OSS, (during WWII) which was the forerunner of the CIA. He was declared MIA with very few details available in regard to the circumstances. The plot involves Helen's life without her beloved husband and her attempts to discover if he is indeed deceased.The plot is much more involved than this, but this is the basic premise. Other topics included are: intrigue, romance, loyalty, deceit, alcoholism, post traumatic stress disorder, dogs, and adolescence.

  • Kaitlyn
    2019-04-28 17:33

    2.5 stars...The way it was written seemed extremely unemotional, too detailed, and very obviously and obnoxiously third person. It didn't flow like a book should; it jumped around to the different characters thoughts while staying very detached of personality and warmth. The storyline was interesting, as it was a historical fiction novel, and held extremely entertaining ideas pertaining to this little-almost utopian- community and the balance, in the way of everyday or familiar life. The ending really was my favorite part, because it introduces a little mystery that the reader can't help but think about.

  • Dawn Gaskin
    2019-04-22 19:48

    Another book that I was unable to put down. Set on an idyllic summer resort island, where the residents have summered for generations. Time frame is right after WWII, families are adjusting to what is the new normal after the men have returned from the war, or, in Helen's case, not returned. The book drew me in, and, towards the end, had me sobbing so hard I could barely see the words on the page (those who read this and know me will know what caused me such anguish). I don't usually read novels from the WWII era but I'm glad that I picked this one up.

  • Mandi
    2019-05-03 23:37

    Both the title and the cover of this novel leads the reader to believe that they are about to read a romance novel set in an idyllic setting. This is a bit true, as the setting is idyllic and there is a romance embedded into the story. The core of this novel, however, is anything but romantic. It is about those who return from war, but as different people. And, most of all, those who never come home, and the people whose lives are forever changed by the missing. Read full review at: http://theinsomniacbibliophile.blogsp...

  • Liz V.
    2019-05-09 17:42

    From: SOS Aloha via retreats are intended to encompass the ideal. WWII, however, has intervened, so that only a thin veneer preserves the illusion for battle scarred veterans and their families and the widowed and their children. Among the most charming inhabitants is Max, a rehabilitated war dog who still lends support to his wounded warrior.