Willig, Lauren. That Summer
Booklist Reviews 2014 June #1
When Julia inherits her great-aunt's house in Herne Hill, outside London, it's a good time for her to take a break from New York, where she has no work or romantic ties. Returning to England, however, brings up suppressed memories of her dead mother and childhood, and while sorting through the home's myriad belongings, Julia uncovers a mysterious painting that not only played a significant role in her family's story but also in art history. We learn that Julia's ancestor, Imogen, came to Herne Hill as a young bride in 1849 and became trapped in a passionless, childless marriage. When her husband hires a young artist to paint her portrait, he and Julia have an ill-fated affair. Popular novelist Willig (The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, 2013) weaves together Julia's and Imogen's stories and further enriches the tale with details about the Pre-Raphaelite movement, gleaned from Julia's involvement with Nicholas, an enigmatic antiques dealer. Willig's latest is a smart blend of historical romance and contemporary self-discovery story. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2014 May #1
In Cornwall, 1839, youthful Imogene Hadley is wooed by Arthur Grantham, who appreciates her bright, curious mind. In New York City, 2009, Julia Conley inherits the Grantham estate after her Aunt Regina's passing. Arriving in London, Julia discovers a hidden painting of doomed lovers but featuring the proper lady from the full-length portrait in the drawing room. Soon secrets from the distant and recent past come alive, leaving no one untouched. There is something for every reader in Willig's latest stand-alone (after The Ashford Affair). Looking for a mystery? Found. Looking for a family drama? Found in two different centuries. And romance seals the deal! But the romantic pairings aren't predictable, offering relationships that are forbidden, meant-to-be, sickly obsessive, and tentatively beginning. VERDICT A well-rounded group of characters, clearly connected ties between alternating time periods, and a jaw-dropping conclusion make for one engaging story. Fans will appreciate the author's nod to her "Pink Carnation" series, but this title can be read alone. A winning suggestion for any age, this satisfying novel could also be a strong book discussion selection. [See Prepub Alert, 11/18/13; library marketing.]—Stacey Hayman, Rocky River P.L., OH[Page 72]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.