I’m so conflicted on this review. On one hand I think it would be great for zoning out while sitting on the beach. On the other hand I didn’t find it super engaging .
When Ruby gets engaged, three generations of family secrets are forced to come to the surface. All of the secrets are so outlandish and the pure amount of coincidences that would need to happen to make these come true is ridiculous. I’d be more inclined to believe the coincidences if this was taking place in a small town but instead it takes place in NYC. While I believe we live ‘in a small world’, I just couldn’t get on board with the main ‘coincidence’ in the story.
We have quite a few characters in this story and each has major secrets they’re hiding that quickly come to a head when Ruby and Gabe get engaged. On Ruby’s side we have her father Eli, who is quickly folding in on himself. This in turn causes Ruby’s step-mother, Sarah, to begin doubting her relationship with Eli. The lack of communication between the two is mind blowing, and the decisions Sarah specifically makes based on her anger is hard to digest. Then we have Sarah’s brother, Ari and her mother Veronica, who are both harboring massive secrets as well.
In addition we have Gabe’s mother who hasn’t lived in NYC since Gabe was born, but has a secret that ties her to Ruby’s family.
Phew, building that though train without spoilers was a struggle. While these are the primary characters, there are half a dozen additional secondary characters as well. Weiner has structured the story so that each chapter centers on a different character. I usually don’t mind a big cast of characters especially when we get everyone’s POV, but there were just too many to keep track of here and there were multiple chapters I felt added little to the story line. The shear redundancy of events in each character’s chapters was a bit tiresome. Ultimately, I ended up not being able to connect with the characters much, which detracted from the story for me.
Realistically I felt there were too many storylines taking place. While not my favorite Jenifer Weiner book, it’s still entertaining enough to read.
The Summer Place comes out May 10, 2022! Huge thank you to Atria for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my instagram @speakingof_books.