I’ve mentioned before that Elin Hilderbrand is one of my summertime guilty pleasures. I love to lay back and lose myself in her Nantucket stories. It just makes me feel like summer.
The Summer House by Hannah McKinnon gave me that same vibe, but better!
McKinnon breathes new life into cottage living with a little bit of added family drama and dynamics, colourful characters and many heartwarming and humorous moments.
In The Summer House, a different member of the Merrill family narrates each chapter. Clem, the youngest daughter, and a recently widowed mother is struggling with raising her family on her own and with her budding feelings for the boy (turned man) next door. Sam and Evan, trying desperately to adopt a baby. Paige, the know it all oldest sister, struggling to keep her family afloat after her husband loses his job and her children starting acting out. They are all brought together by their matriarch, Flossy, who is trying to throw one last hurrah for her husband’s birthday before their family summer house is sold.
McKinnon’s easy narrative style sucks you in and allows you to settle comfortably in the plot and get to know the characters. This one really reminded me of The Family Stone, which is one of my favourite feel-good holiday movies that I watch every year. There were lots of laugh-out-loud hilarious moments but also some really heartfelt and touching ones as well. McKinnon does a brilliant job at writing a family dynamic and making it come alive on the pages.
My only complaint (and it was a small complaint), was that the ending felt a little bit abrupt. I was absorbed in this story and then it was just over. Not a lot of resolution or neatly tied ends, which is what I have come to know with novels like these.
Regardless, I feel like this book would be perfect for fans of Elin Hilderbrand and the like. A perfect, feel good, summer beach read. 4/5 stars.