Friday, August 18, 2023

The Best Summer of Our Lives by Rachel Hauck

Twenty years ago, the summer of '77 was supposed to be the best summer of Summer Wilde's life. She and her best friends, Spring, Autumn, and Snow--the Four Seasons--had big plans.

But those plans never had a chance. After a teenage prank gone awry, the Seasons found themselves on a bus to Tumbleweed, "Nowhere," Oklahoma, to spend eight weeks as camp counselors. All four of them arrived with hidden secrets and buried fears, and the events that unfolded in those two months forever altered their friendships, their lives, and their futures.

Now, thirtysomething, Summer is at a crossroads. When her latest girl band leaves her in a motel outside Tulsa, she is forced to face the shadows of her past. Returning to the place where everything changed, she soon learns Tumbleweed is more than a town she never wanted to see again. It's a place for healing, for reconciling the past with the present, and for finally listening to love's voice.

Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 27, 2023 
by Bethany House Publishers
3.5/5 stars

I have read a number of Rachel Hauck books over the years, which I have really enjoyed. This her latest is the story of four friends, known as the Four Seasons, since each name a season.

The story weaves between 1977 and 1997. In 1977 the story is told of that fateful summer that was suppose to be the best summer of their lives.

There are alternating points of view, but the majority is taken with Summer and her life both before and after those 20 years. This book gave off a different vibe then other Hauck's previous novels. I found the story and their friendship interesting but the names well, unique, I found distracting.  There was a lot to keep straight with that many main players. It was a summer of drama and given that they were teenagers it makes sense that their decisions were immature with some parts being frustrating.

The Best Summer of Our Lives is a story of friendship, family, first loves and secrets.  Though ultimately it is about healing and discovering what really matters. This is Christian fiction which played out nicely here with redemption and restoration.

I enjoyed the 1977 time period, it was a trip down memory lane for me.  I loved how each chapter was named after a popular song. The author weaved in a little bit of real historical events into the narrative and giving names to those taken too soon - nice.

All in all while this isn’t my favorite Rachel Hauck book it was entertaining and one I will recommend to our church library.

My thanks to Graf-Martin Communication for a print copy in exchange for a honest review.

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