The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux

By  Sarah     2/13/2014    Tags:,, 
If you're looking for fun, refreshing, lighthearted summer reading, then look no further. Here is a summertime favorite of mine.

The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux follows the lives of three women: Leslie, a promising ballet dancer; Madison, a gorgeous, up-and-coming model; Ellie, a spunky, aspiring writer - all of whom share the same birthday. The women meet for the first time at a DMV while waiting to renew their license and a unique bond develops between the three of them.
Twenty years after their once-in-a-lifetime chance encounter, Ellie - now a famous romance-mystery novelist suffering from depression - decides to contact Leslie and Madison, even though the girls have not seen each other since their fateful encounter at the DMV.
Due to some questionably strange supernatural circumstances, Ellie, Madison, and Leslie are given the chance to "re-do" the climaxes of their lives, and thus change their futures for the better...

What I liked about The Summerhouse is that for the first half of the book, the plot is focused on the current, miserable lives the women grew to live as they recount to each other all of the mistakes they've made and the regrets they've had to live with. The women's banter have a worldweary wittiness about them that is refreshing to read. Though at times cliche, this book is the perfect, lighthearted go-to read for some heartwarming summer reading.

There is a supernatural element in this book that feels a touch out-of-place, but gives a unique flavor to an otherwise run-of-the-mill coming-of-age story. The greater mysteries of this supernatural occurrence are never elaborated upon, but it works as a great plot device all the same.
I'm sure that a cursory glance at the cover is enough to judge this as a "chick lit." However, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it. There are absolutely no graphic sexual encounters in it at all. (I either sold it to some of you just now or ruined it.)


Rather, The Summerhouse focuses on the hardships of these three, unhappy adult women and their slow epiphanies about life. It really is sort of like a late bloomer's coming-of-age story. There are numerous lessons and worthwhile reminders to be found in this book and though I feel that it is certainly geared towards a more adult audience, I think a quite mature thirteen year-old would be able appreciate The Summerhouse for what it is. 


Deveraux's evident love for her characters shine brightly on these pages, making them quite memorable. They are described and told with care, as though hearing about them from a doting mother. There were many times when I felt like Ellie, Madison, and Leslie could have been my own friends.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised when I first read this book. I must admit, I didn't have high expectations of it, but I ended up enjoying the book more than I thought I would. I hope you give this refreshing story a chance; it may surprise you.

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