by Jennifer Weiner
Summertime often brings an influx of beach time – and with it, beach reads (at least, it does if you’re a librarian). Jennifer Weiner can easily be counted on for an unputdownable blend of family secrets, love, loss and humour, and her latest hit, The Summer Place, is no exception.
The story opens with a surprise wedding announcement from Ruby Danhauser, and though her family is shocked by the sudden decision to marry her pandemic sweetheart, the marriage brings the perfect opportunity for the family to gather at matriarch Ronnie Levy-Weinberg’s vacation home at Cape Cod before it is sold. As the wedding date approaches, numerous family secrets come to light, culminating in a story that left this reader saying, aloud, “really?” throughout the whole book. There’s Eli, Ruby’s dentist father, who has spent every day since Ruby brought her fiancé home in deep-seated distress over a mistake made 22 years prior. There’s Sarah, Ruby’s stepmother, at a loss for what to do with her troubled husband and her once-forgotten music career. There’s Sam, Sarah’s brother, left grappling with the recent loss of his wife and a step into self-discovery. Finally, there’s Ruby herself – someone who has always stood strong in what she wants, and now finds herself entirely unsure.
Jennifer Weiner is a master of the relatable, and these characters are no exception, crafted with such skill that they could easily be your own family members. While The Summer Place brims with so many – so many – family secrets that it borders on unrealistic, readers are still left laughing, nodding, and with the sense that they have found something that speaks to their very core. The Summer Place is the perfect summer read if you are looking to immerse yourself in a messy, funny, and heartwarming family tale.