The Summer Getaway
by Susan Mallery
Release Date: March 15, 2022
Reviewed by PJ
Single mom Robyn Caldwell needs a new plan for her future. She has always put her family first. Now, with her kids grown, she yearns for a change. But what can she do when her daughter has become the most demanding bride ever, her son won’t even consider college, her best friend is on the brink of marital disaster and her ex is making a monumentally bad decision that could ruin everything?
Take a vacation, of course. Press reset. When her great-aunt Lillian invites her to Santa Barbara for the summer, Robyn hops on the first plane to sunny California.
But it’s hard to get away when you’re the heart of the family. One by one, everyone she loves follows her across the country. Somehow, their baggage doesn’t feel as heavy in the sun-drenched, mishmash mansion. The more time Robyn spends with free-spirited Lillian, the more possibilities she sees—for dreams, love, family. She can have everything she ever wanted, if only she can muster the courage to take a chance on herself.
I've been reading Susan Mallery for years. Her books never fail to make me think and make me feel. Among all those stories, this newest book ranks as one of my favorites. There was just something about these characters, Robyn and Lillian, in particular, that resonated with me.
The Summer Getaway is a story of relationships and connections, of putting the past behind, rediscovering oneself, and exploring the potential in opening one's life to new chapters, regardless of age. Mallery explores familial relationships between Robyn and her adult children, between those same children and their father, and between Robyn and her great-aunt. She also explores the complex relationship between former spouses, as well as new relationships with romantic potential. The ups and downs of all these relationships are seamlessly interwoven into a human quilt fraught with tension, anger, curiosity, humor, sadness, understanding, growth, and love. Even the self-absorbed jerk of an ex grows and, believe me, that's no mean feat.
I connected with Robyn almost immediately and by the end of the book was emotionally attached to the entire family. The characters became real to me, engaging me as if they were actual friends. I was invested in their success, and in their happiness, experiencing all of the highs and lows right along with them. The story flowed at a steady pace, keeping me involved and turning pages without interruption. Even the sadness near the end of the book, though it caused some tears, was handled with an air of hope. And the conclusion was happy smiles all around.
This one comes with my enthusiastic recommendation.