The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner: A review
The central plot line involves a planned wedding. Twenty-two-year-old Ruby, daughter of Eli and stepdaughter of Sarah, is planning to get married to Gabe in three months. This takes place during the pandemic and everyone is already feeling the strain of so much enforced togetherness during this time. At some points, it seems like this wedding might be the final straw that breaks the family apart.
The matriarch of this family is 80-year-old Veronica, called Ronnie, of course. Ronnie is widowed and is staying at the family beach house on Cape Cod. She is very excited about her granddaughter's wedding, especially the fact that it will bring all the family together one more time. She looks forward to that because when she has them all together, she has something she wants to tell them.
Ronnie was once a popular published author but she stopped publishing years ago. Stopped publishing but didn't stop writing and now she has a closet full of her unpublished work.
The stepmother Sarah has a twin brother Sam who is now a widower taking care of his stepson Connor. Sam was actually probably my favorite character and there are a LOT of characters in this tale and it was not always easy to keep them straight in my mind. That may have had something to do with the writing which I did not find particularly compelling. It was not bad, but I would not describe it as riveting. I found my mind wandering from time to time.
And then there is Rosa who is the mother of the groom. Rosa had had dreams of a theater career in New York but she gave that all up to raise Gabe on her own. She became a nurse in order to support him and herself. When Eli learns who she is, he realizes in horror that he knows her from the past; that, in fact, he "knew" her in the biblical sense. This does not bode well for a marriage between Ruby and Gabe.
Well, that's it. I can't go on. It's just too convoluted. Actually, reading the book was a reasonably pleasurable experience but trying to accurately describe the rather labyrinthine plot is just mind-numbing.
The beach read is Jennifer Weiner's forte and this one does not disappoint. She keeps the action coming and pulls the reader along at a fairly lively clip with her slightly dysfunctional family and their complicated relationships and juicy secrets. You can almost feel the sand between the pages.