Summer at the Lake – Erica James

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Published 27 February 2014 by Orion


From Goodreads:

It was a wedding invitation that changed everything for Floriana…

If she hadn’t been so distracted at the thought of having to witness the one true love of her life get married, she would have seen the car coming.

If she’d seen the car coming, there would have been no need for elderly spinster Esme Silcox and local property developer Adam Strong to rush to her aid.

And if Floriana hadn’t met Adam and Esme she would never have had the courage to agree to attend Seb’s wedding in beautiful Lake Como.

For Esme, Lake Como awakens memories of when she stayed at the lake as a nineteen-year-old girl and fell in love for the first time. So often she’s wondered what happened to the man who stole her heart all those years ago, a man who changed the course of her life.

Now it’s time for both Esme and Floriana to face the past – and the future – on the shores of this most romantic and enchanting of lakes.

My thoughts:

I’ve read all of Erica’s books over the years (with the exception of The Hidden Cottage, which I have waiting patiently on my Kindle) and have always enjoyed them – and this current book (her 18th!) was no exception.

The story is set partly in Oxford and also the beautiful Italian Lakes.  I’ve spent a couple of lovely holidays by Lake Como and have stayed at the very pretty lakeside town of Bellagio, also mentioned in the book so in some ways this was a trip down memory lane for me.  

When Oxford tour guide Floriana is knocked down by a car, she can have no idea that such a traumatic event would lead to her finding two new friends.  Property developer Adam, nursing a newly broken heart and elderly spinster Esme go to her aid, and despite all three being very different people from diverse backgrounds, they find a connection in each other and, following  Floriana’s recovery,  vow to keep in touch.  I loved all three main characters, they each had something different to bring to the story – the quirkiness of Floriana, Adam, the serious natured problem solver and the wise and perceptive Esme.  I became so completely engrossed in their lives that I couldn’t put the book down.    

The part of the story that particularly stood out for me was Esme’s.  She never married and lived alone with her cat Euridice however back in the 1950’s when she was a young woman, she and her father did their own version of ‘the Grand Tour’ and spent some time at the idyllic sounding Hotel Margherita at Lake Como.  This trip was to have life changing consequences for Esme and when, many decades later, she returns to Lake Como accompanied by Floriana and Adam, it is a chance for her to lay to rest old ghosts.  However it is not only Esme who has to come to terms with the past  – Floriana also faces the heartache of seeing her former love Seb marry someone else. 

Each character’s story is superbly woven together to create a really lovely read.  With such excellent descriptions of the Italian scenery and well developed and engaging characters, there was so much to enjoy that I was quite sad to come to the end.   

My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the digitial copy to review.  I also bought a copy for my bookshelf. 

About the author:

With an insatiable appetite for other people’s business, Erica James will readily strike up conversation with strangers in the hope of unearthing a useful gem for her writing. The author of numerous bestselling novels, including Gardens of Delight, winner of the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award , Erica now divides her time between Cheshire and Lake Como in Italy. Visit her website www.ericajames.co.uk, Twitter page, or Facebook page

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