July 7, 2016
K. L. Romo

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Review of Summer Secrets by Jennifer Levine…

SummerSecrets_CoverFNEveryone has secrets.  Some are big and some are small, but they’re there.  In Summer Secrets, Jennifer Levine takes us through a tumultuous summer in the life of Lauren Breckenridge. She discovers that each member of her family has secrets, and uncovering them nearly breaks her heart.

Lauren seems to have it all.  A loving husband, and two great teenagers.  The perfect family – or so it appears from the outside. But inside, Lauren is struggling.  Her husband, David, has been distant, caught up in his professional life, and his own issues.  He’s been more of a roommate than the romantic man she married.  Her handsome athletic son Jason hardly gives her the time of day, just home to sleep and eat.  And her rebel daughter, Audrey, is a closed book when it comes to sharing with her mother. She is sullen and rebellious; Lauren doesn’t even recognize her anymore. Instead of a mother sharing in the lives of her husband and kids, Lauren feels more like a live-in housekeeper and cook.

The image of her close-knit family is just a mirage.

To help them get to know each other again, Lauren takes her best friend’s suggestion, and plans a getaway vacation. The whole family will stay at an upscale club on the shores of Lake Charlevoix in Michigan for the entire summer. But will her plans for family togetherness mend the distance between them, or unravel right before her eyes?

Lauren painfully discovers that each of her children has been hiding the truth about their lives, and she and David have secrets of their own. How much trauma will they be able to endure and still stay together as a family?

Jennifer Levine has done an excellent job of taking us through a mother’s journey of revelations, disappointments, and dilemmas. Lauren’s raw emotion while struggling to keep her family intact is sewn into the very fabric of the narrative. I appreciate the way Levine makes us feel the pain of a wife and mother whose family may no longer belong to her. What must Lauren do to get a grasp on the life she thought she had? The answer may surprise you.

For a family drama that could be taken right from the newspaper, Jennifer Levine’s Summer Secrets is the perfect read.

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