I come from a family of voracious readers. I started reading at age four, thanks to my sisters who were both in school. They played “school” after school each day and I was their student, so learning to read early was the natural result of that. Also, Mom read aloud to us constantly and was a big reader herself. Honestly, only my sister PJ rivals Mom’s ability to be so completely absorbed in a book that she can read anywhere, anytime, while anything at all is going on around her. I once saw PJ read a book in the middle of a chaotic, crowded airport with Kate and I on either side of her having a conversation over the top of her head. So enraptured was she by the novel she held in her hands that she may as well have been all alone on an island somewhere. That’s concentration, my friends.
I can get caught up like that, too, but between editing for a living and writing, it happens less frequently now. But, it happened this weekend. Yesterday morning , I started reading Liz Flaherty’s ONE MORE SUMMER on my Kindle and I read pretty much all day. I just finished it this morning and it was a rapturous read! Not simply a romance novel, it was also the story of friendship, family connection, and moving beyond the past to embrace the present.
Grace Elliot’s father has finally died and at 33, she’s left with a big house, not much money, and the memory of her father’s constant reminders of how she’d never be good enough. She opens a rooming house and ends up sharing her home with a fascinating array of characters, including an aging former soap opera star, a sweet old man who’s heart is as big as the moon, her best friend from childhood who’s struggling with cancer, and her brother’s best friend, Dillon. A writer, who is haunted by his own memories, Dillon moves into Grace’s guest house and Grace discovers that her high-school crush on him hasn’t abated in all the years they’ve been apart. He’s ready to make amends for standing her up at her prom, but first he has to get past all Liz’s baggage, as well as some of his own.
Flaherty’s story carries you right to the small town of Peacock Tennessee and into the hearts and lives of these rich and absorbing characters. You laugh with them, cry with them, and cheer for them to overcome their obstacles. Honestly, I haven’t cried out loud at a book in ages, but ONE MORE SUMMER is a moving and emotional read. I dare anyone to read it without tearing up at Grace’s pain and struggles, as well as her joys.
Liz Flaherty is a great writer–she challenges me to be a better writer myself. I want my books to affect readers as hers has affected me. One day, maybe…