We’ve had some hot summer days recently and so Vanessa Lafaye‘s Summertime was the perfect companion to get me through a couple of thunderstorms.
In 1935, Heron Key, Florida is a typical Southern town with the exception that many of its new residents are war veterans who are there to build a bridge. While almost everyone prepares for the Independence Day celebrations, Jenson Mitchell, owner of the town’s general store, watches the barometer with concern. There is news of a storm that hit the Bahamas and it could very well head their way. Heron Key’s residents are used to hurricanes, but the veterans don’t know what they are facing.
In the dramatic few hours before and during the storm, Missy, a young woman working as a domestic help for a white family, and Henry, who has finally returned home after his 18-year absence, have to find out if they are still close to each other while trying to save their and many other lives.
Summertime is loosely based on the events during the 1935 Labor Day hurricane², which was the strongest landfalling hurricane in the Atlantic Basin and the US in recorded history. This knowledge gives the fast-paced novel an even more dramatic aspect. The characters are mostly predictable but that doesn’t spoil the read. If you want to get a feeling for what being in one of the biggest storms in history must have been like, and you don’t shy away from the ugly details of a catastrophe like this, Summertime is the book for you.
Orion Books provided me with a copy of Summertime in exchange for an honest review.
² Changed to Independence Day because of the date’s patriotic significance for the veterans.