Title: That Summer in Maine
Author: Brianna Wolfson
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: June 23, 2020
A novel about mothers and daughters, about taking chances, about exploding secrets and testing the boundaries of family
Years ago, during a certain summer in Maine, two young women, unaware of each other, met a charismatic man at a craft fair and each had a brief affair with him. For Jane it was a chance to bury her recent pain in raw passion and redirect her life. For Sue it was a fling that gave her troubled marriage a way forward.
Now, sixteen years later, the family lives these women have made are suddenly upended when their teenage girls meet as strangers on social media. They concoct a plan to spend the summer in Maine with the man who is their biological father. Their determination puts them on a collision course with their mothers, who must finally meet and acknowledge their shared past and join forces as they risk losing their only daughters to a man they barely know.
Since her mother, Jane, had twins, Hazel has felt left out of her family. It used to be just her and her mom, but then her mom married Cam and they had twin sons. She doesn’t even look like anyone in her family, with her dark hair while they are all blonde. One night, she gets a message online from a girl who claims to be Hazel’s half-sister. Eve suggests that Hazel and her go to visit their father, Silas, together for the summer. That seems like the perfect escape for Hazel to leave her family behind and find new relatives. Hazel and Eve seem to bond over their new found biological father, while their moms have their own shared history with Silas.
This was an intriguing concept for a story. I read an article once about a young woman who found out she had 30-something half-siblings because their mothers all used the same sperm donor. That isn’t the way Hazel’s and Eve’s mom’s had their daughters, but it was similar in the way that these girls had many close relatives that they didn’t know about.
There were a few loose ends at the end of the story. Some of the subplots weren’t explained. Silas had a former girlfriend who he almost had a baby with, and their story was only told in parts, though it seemed important to the overall story. The format of the story was a little confusing as well. The first part was about Jane and Hazel in their home. The second part was about what Jane did when Hazel was visiting Silas, as well as stories about how she met Silas and how Eve’s mother met him. The next part was about Hazel and Eve spending the summer with Silas. The final part was when they were leaving his home. The second and third parts happened simultaneously, so I wish they had been combined so the story continued to move forward. The way the story jumped between time periods was disjointed and anticlimactic.
I liked the premise for the story, but I wish it had been organized more clearly.
Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson
About the author:
Brianna Wolfson is a New York native living in San Francisco. Her narrative nonfiction has been featured on Medium, Upworthy and The Moth. She buys a lottery ticket every Friday.
Have you read That Summer in Maine? What did you think of it?