Cliff House is a grand home that unfortunately appears to be collapsing into the sea due to erosion. Its current resident Cissy Codman is doing everything in her power to stop the home's impending demise, but her daughter Bess believes it is time to move out and move on. Cliff House has been in their family for generations and Cissy believes it is her duty to save it.
The Book of Summer also gives the reader the opportunity to step back in time and meet Ruby Packard, grandmother to Bess, as she navigates life in Cliff House during World War II and after. Ruby's wide-eyed naivety is perfectly captured by the author and then her character develops and changes throughout the course of the novel, in much the same way as Bess's character does as well. There is a rich cast of characters in this novel from the quirky Cissy Codman to the glamorous Hattie Rutter to the charming Topper Packard. The author does an excellent job providing us a glimpse into society at that time.
For me, The Book of Summer was a tribute to the bond of families and also the strength of women during difficult times. Ruby, Cissy and Bess have each encountered their own challenges, but stay strong and positive.
I found it interesting that the author based this book upon the homes in Sankaty Bluff in Sconset, the easternmost spot on Nantucket Island. It did inspire me to learn more about the erosion occurring there and I can only imagine how difficult it would be to potentially lose a family home in that way.
The Book of Summer was a 4 star read for me. I received this book courtesy of St. Martin's Press, Thomas Dunne Books, through Net Galley, in exchange for an honest review.