I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery
Published by HQN Books on March 15, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Family Life / Marriage & Divorce, Fiction / Family Life / Siblings, Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Fiction / Women
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One woman takes the vacation of a lifetime in this poignant and heartwarming story about the threads that hold a family together from #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery.
Single mom Robyn Caldwell needs a new plan for her future. She has always put her family first. Now, with her kids grown, she yearns for a change. But what can she do when her daughter has become the most demanding bride ever, her son won’t even consider college, her best friend is on the brink of marital disaster and her ex is making a monumentally bad decision that could ruin everything?
Take a vacation, of course. Press reset. When her great-aunt Lillian invites her to Santa Barbara for the summer, Robyn hops on the first plane to sunny California.
But it’s hard to get away when you’re the heart of the family. One by one, everyone she loves follows her across the country. Somehow, their baggage doesn’t feel as heavy in the sun-drenched, mishmash mansion. The more time Robyn spends with free-spirited Lillian, the more possibilities she sees—for dreams, love, family. She can have everything she ever wanted, if only she can muster the courage to take a chance on herself.
I’m very happy to bring you an excerpt and review of Susan Mallery’s latest release, THE SUMMER GETAWAY. I’ve yet to read a book by this author that didn’t grab hold of me, and this book was no exception.
“I’m going to sleep with Dimitri.”
Robyn Caldwell picked up her glass of white wine and briefly thought about swallowing the entire contents in one gulp. Mindy’s statement was certainly gulp-worthy. But she knew pacing herself through lunch was the responsible thing to do. A lesson her friend had yet to learn.
“You are not,” Robyn murmured, because shrieking wasn’t attractive. Especially at “the club,” where their friends and frenemies were also enjoying Thursday’s lobster salad. The dining room was filled with forty or so women, all dressed in Florida chic—diamonds sparkling, gold or platinum charm bracelets clinking, necklaces resting on tanned and toned skin.
“I might,” Mindy Krause said, picking up her champagne. “He’s gorgeous.”
“Of course. He’s a thirty-year-old tennis pro. What else would he be?”
Mindy, a petite brunette who was six months from turning forty, sighed. “I need a Dimitri in my life.”
“You have a great husband. Payne loves you and the kids, and never has eyes for another woman. Why would you screw that up?”
“Payne would never know.”
“There aren’t any secrets in this town. Not in our social circle.”
Something Robyn had learned the hard way herself. She’d been blissfully unaware of her ex-husband’s affairs until a “friend” had oh-so-sweetly informed her.
“Maybe just some kissing,” Mindy mused. “I want a little Dimitri action. The fantasies make me happy, so imagine what the real thing would do.”
“The fantasies are safe. The real thing could destroy everything you have. Knowing you’ve cheated would devastate Payne.”
Mindy’s mouth formed a pout. “I never see him anymore. All he does is work.”
Robyn stared at her friend-slash-boss. “You two talked about how that promotion would be more work for him but that it would be worth it. You wanted this for him.”
“I didn’t know how much he’d be gone.”
The unreasonable statement grated nearly as much as Mindy’s whine. “This isn’t a good look for you,” Robyn murmured. “You’re changing the rules without telling your husband. That never ends well.”
Mindy dismissed the warning with a quick shake of her head. “I’m not worried. Besides, if he does find out, I can just move in with you.” She laughed. “You’ll soon have that big house all to yourself.”
“You have four kids,” Robyn pointed out. “If things go south in your marriage, I’d rather have Payne move in.”
“Well, that would get people talking.” Mindy held up her empty glass to the server. “More, please.”
The server obliged.
Mindy took another sip. “My sister called, swears she found a Thomas Pister chest in a tiny shop in Wales. It’s dirt cheap, so I’m afraid it’s a fake. She’s looking for someone to prove authenticity. Wouldn’t that be a find?”
“It would. I’d love to see it.”
Thomas Pister had built beautiful chests and cabinets in the late 1600s and early 1700s. His intricate designs with stunning inlays sold quickly and for huge amounts. Depending on the condition and the materials, a good-sized chest of drawers could go for sixty or eighty thousand dollars.
Excerpted from The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery, Copyright © 2022 by Susan Mallery, Inc. Published by HQN Books.
Taking a break from murder and suspense, this week I read Susan Mallery’s latest release, THE SUMMER GETAWAY. Families always have drama and the mother is usually the rock that everyone depends on. Robyn Caldwell is that person: doting mother, a supportive wife until her husband cheated too many times, the peacemaker between everyone and the one her friends go to in a crisis. But with her youngest child now out of high school, she starts to wonder who she is and where she lost herself along the way.
Robyn has been holding everyone else together for so long she doesn’t know how to take care of herself. When her newly engaged daughter flips into a bridezilla and her son’s immediate future is up in the air, she decides that she’s had enough and flees to her Great-Aunt Lillian’s house in California. Leaving humid Florida behind and most of her worries, Robyn blooms with the support of her 94 years-old aunt. While Lillian is preparing her estate for when she dies, Robyn finally meets the distant relative of her late Uncle Leo who will inherit the very large and quirky mansion at Lillian’s passing: Mason, retired Army turned non-fiction author.
But what seems like a time away for Robyn to find who she is without all the people who take her for granted, her family and friends slowly make the trek across the country to get her help one by one. While the drama has followed her across state lines, it’s somehow easier to deal with her loved ones’ problems in beautiful Santa Barbara with her supportive aunt by her side.
I give THE SUMMER GETAWAY a 4.5 out of 5. If you love family drama, this book is steeped in it, including cheating spouses, dating way younger than is probably smart, jumping into a relationship with someone you don’t really know, lots of entitlement, divorce, grief, and trying to please a parent that’s really only ever been into themselves. A sweet romance blooms between Robyn and Mason, and I really enjoyed how they slowly found each other, becoming one another’s rock when times got tough. All of the characters were so well developed and unique. I really didn’t enjoy the daughter or the ex-husband, but that was by design. But they both grow throughout the book–one more so than the other–so at least one is likable in the end.
The star of this book to me was Aunt Lillian, who was progressive, definitely her own person to the end, and so understanding and supportive of her family–even the family that she finally met in person in Mason. Susan Mallery really knows how to portray realistic family dynamics, even when weaving in the more outlandish behavior of some. I was definitely reminded of how my own son is definitely growing into his own person at soon-to-be thirteen, and I saw this reflected in how Robyn saw her children and dealt with them as best as she can.
I highly recommend THE SUMMER GETAWAY. I read most of it in one sitting, and the emotional ups and downs of this family were engaging and heartfelt.
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About Susan Mallery
SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship and romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—forty million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.
Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two Ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as Mom.
Find Susan Mallery