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The Summer Country: Book summary and reviews of The Summer Country by Lauren Willig

The Summer Country

A Novel

by Lauren Willig

The Summer Country by Lauren Willig X
The Summer Country by Lauren Willig
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About this book

Book Summary

The New York Times bestselling historical novelist delivers her biggest, boldest, and most ambitious novel yet—a sweeping Victorian epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados.

Barbados, 1854: Emily Dawson has always been the poor cousin in a prosperous English merchant clan-- merely a vicar's daughter, and a reform-minded vicar's daughter, at that. Everyone knows that the family's lucrative shipping business will go to her cousin, Adam, one day.  But when her grandfather dies, Emily receives an unexpected inheritance: Peverills, a sugar plantation in Barbados—a plantation her grandfather never told anyone he owned. 

When Emily accompanies her cousin and his new wife to Barbados, she finds Peverills a burnt-out shell, reduced to ruins in 1816, when a rising of enslaved people sent the island up in flames. Rumors swirl around the derelict plantation; people whisper of ghosts.

Why would her practical-minded grandfather leave her a property in ruins?  Why are the neighboring plantation owners, the Davenants, so eager to acquire Peverills? The answer lies in the past— a tangled history of lies, greed, clandestine love, heartbreaking betrayal, and a bold bid for freedom.

A brilliant, multigenerational saga in the tradition of The Thorn Birds and North and South, The Summer Country will beguile readers with its rendering of families, heartbreak, and the endurance of hope against all odds. 

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A deep dive into Caribbean history which requires, and ultimately rewards, close reading." - Kirkus Reviews

"Powerful, emotional, beautiful, and historically fascinating, The Summer Country is a simply breathtaking saga. This is the kind of book you fall into, that absorbs you for the entire time you are reading it and that after, haunts you.... long after." - M.J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author of Tiffany Blues

"In this evocative family saga, The Summer Country, Willig sweeps the reader away to the heartbreak of colonial Barbados, where love across the color line is forbidden, and the repercussions of slavery's cruelty echoes through the generations. Bold and beautifully told, with unexpected twists, the puzzle pieces fit together with a satisfying click. Brava!" - Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of My Dear Hamilton

"Lauren Willig's The Summer Country is a sumptuous read, evoking M.M. Kaye's lush and sweeping tales of nineteenth century colonial life. I read The Summer Country slowly—doling out exquisite chapters one at a time—because there are too few books written today that harken back to that delicious way of storytelling that doesn't rush things just to keep up with modern trends. I would count this one as a new classic and encourage every reader who cares about quality writing to quickly add this one to their list of to-be-favorites." - Camille Di Maio, author of The Beautiful Strangers

"So steeped in Caribbean culture, my hands were sweating while turning the pages. Lauren Willig has ventured to story territory near and dear to my heart. The Summer Country is a daring, meticulously researched narrative of complicated love. A hot summer read for historical fiction fans!" - Sarah McCoy, New York Times bestselling author of Marilla of Marilla of Green Gables

This information about The Summer Country was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

The Summer Country - review by Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
A run-down sugar plantation was the last thing Emily thought her uncle would leave to her, but Emily was thrilled about it even though her cousin wasn't.

Emily, her cousin, and his wife traveled to Barbados to meet a few people and to see the plantation.

We meet the family from 1812 and the opulence of their home, food, and life style and then turn to 1845 and meet “friends” of the family.

The connection between the time periods was smoothly done. I really liked how Ms. Willig ended one chapter with a comment and started the next chapter with that comment but in a different time period.

Some of the characters were quite devious, and as the pages turned we find out there was more to the family than what was known or heard and something about the plantation and about the Davenant family that someone wanted to keep a secret.

Ms. Willig definitely knows how to use adjectives for describing the characters and settings with her beautiful prose. The characters are described and perfectly portrayed for the time periods.

It was as though I were right there immersed in the lives of the characters whether they were the wealthy or the indentured. I became attached to a few of the characters.

If you enjoy learning about past cultures, delving into life in another country and century, and finding out family secrets that were kept for years, THE SUMMER COUNTRY should be on your summer reading list.

You will definitely get a vocabulary work out. :)

THE SUMMER COUNTRY is another beautiful, enjoyable, well-researched read by Lauren Willig. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Author Information

Lauren Willig Author Biography

Lauren Willig is also the author of the New York Times bestselling Pink Carnation series and a RITA Award-winner for Best Regency Historical for The Mischief of the Mistletoe. A graduate of Yale University, she has a graduate degree in English history from Harvard and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.

Link to Lauren Willig's Website

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