If you read this blog regularly, you know I didn’t spend a summer in this California town, but I just finished reading a book with this title by Robyn Carr. It takes place during the summer. Years after high school graduation, four friends still live in the same town, keep in touch, and support each other through domestic woes and other difficulties.
Cassie, an emergency room nurse, is trying not to fall in love with a man on a motorcycle who rescues her from a rapist. Julie, a stay at home mom with a husband and three kids, is deep in debt, and her husband, a fireman, doesn’t get it. Marty, a hairdresser, is married to another firefighter who leaves dirty dishes and clothes in his wake and doesn’t shower or shave unless he’s going to work; yet the yard, garage, and his boat are immaculate. Beth, an obstetrician, has breast cancer which forces the others to put their lives in perspective.
Reading this book also helped me put my life in perspective as well. At one point in our marriage, Bill had to file for bankrupcy, but at least we didn’t have three kids, and I wasn’t eating cereal all the time so they could have more nutritious meals. Bill was also a bit of a slob, but he couldn’t help it. With the use of only one arm and leg, it was nearly impossible to pick up after himself. At least he was showered and shaved three days a week. I no longer have a husband, father, or mother, but at least I don’t have cancer. I wanted to tell Marty, though, so what if her husband didn’t pick up after himself. Neither did my father, and my mother complained about that all the time, but at least she didn’t have to wipe his butt, dress him, and transfer him from one place to another, dropping him on the floor a few times in the process.
Since a retired fire chief I know might be reading this, let me say that not all firemen are slobs or irresponsible with money. I can see why the author made both husbands firefighters in the same department, though. It made it easier to justify them both being good buddies. I like the way she resolves everything in the end, leaving a few minor details to the reader’s imagination. This book is a Rita award winner.
Robyn Carr was first published in 1978, and it took her thirty years to make it to the New York Times bestseller list with A Virgin River Christmas in 2007. In 2011, Bring Me Home for Christmas, the sixteenth novel in the Virgin River series, made not only The New York Times roster but also the Barnes & Noble and Publishers Weekly lists. Her last five novels made the #1 slot on The New York Times list their first week on sale. To learn more about her and her books, click here.
A Summer in Sonoma is available in paperback and Kindle formats from Amazon and in recorded format from Audible. I received it in recorded format on a digital cartridge from my talking book library, and the narrator was very good. I’m sure it’ll be available for download on the National Library Service’s BARD site when the government is back up and running. Although this book takes place during the summer, it’s a good read year round, and I definitely recommend it.
Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver