When Tessa arrives at the little house by the lake with her two children Ben and Katherine, it is an escape. For all of them. Never mind that the rental house is a bit small – it’s theirs for the summer. A place to hide…
Their isolation is disrupted when they meet the family from the big house next door. Three children Charlotte, Zoe and Max and their glamorous mother Rebecca – who seems absolutely determined to invite Tessa in to their lives.
But Rebecca is harbouring a dark secret of her own. One that will put not only her family at risk, but Tessa’s too. And when she discovers she has no option but to leave her children for several weeks, Tessa feels like the only person she can trust.
Suddenly Tessa finds herself living a life she could only have dreamed of. Wealth, a large brood of children, and Rebecca’s handsome husband Josh visiting at weekends.
But even as powerful bonds are forming between them, secrets have a way of catching up with people. And as the summer comes to an end, who will learn to love again and who will risk losing everything?
If you love well-written, emotional reads, you should definitely read Kate Hewitt’s titles. She has a way of narrating stories that will take you through all kinds of emotions and haunt you long after the last page. In this story, Tessa and her children, Ben and Katherine are renting an old cottage for the summer. Although, not very welcoming, the cottage is next to the lake. Not the best house but still a much needed getaway. Tessa soon meets her neighbor, Rebecca and her three kids, Zoe, Charlotte and Max. However, unlike Tessa’s old cottage, Rebecca’s rental house is gorgeous and palatial. Unlike Tessa, Rebecca is wealthy. Well, her husband is, anyway. She has a membership at the country and sailing clubs. The only thing that is similar between the two women is that they get to spend their summer in the same town.
Narrated by Tessa and Rebecca through alternating chapters, readers are introduced to the two women and the different lives that they live. Later on, an unlikely, unbalanced friendship begins to form and we get to see how this chance meeting, transforms the two women. I was completely immersed in their world. I loved their highs and but then crashed with their lows.
There are quite a number of themes that emerge such as friendship. This isn’t just about Tessa and Rebecca but it also covers their other friends at home. There is of course the theme of family. Both women are married with kids and through the chapters, we get to experience different relationship dynamics between the husbands and wives and again, the parents and the kids. There are deeper themes of grief, post traumatic disorder, self-harm. Well, the author does create realistic characters and just like us, the characters don’t exist in a stress-free world. They do have more than just one issue.
Let me just say another thing that I absolutely loved about the character development. The author did a brilliant job with the young characters. In most books that I have read, the kids are just in the peripheral, unless they are the MCs. In this title, they were all unique and their characters come alive through each chapter. Zoe was fierce! I can still see her, counting their beach space or standing on the porch with her hands on her hips. Katherine and Charlotte was adorable and so was their friendship. Little Max made me feel like reaching into the book and giving him a hug and then Ben, so misunderstood until the end. I really liked how the author gave each of these characters space to grow and have their presence felt in the narrative.
As I have already mentioned, this was an emotional read. The final chapters broke my heart and even writing this review, takes me back to all those emotions that I felt. The writing is beautiful, the story poignant and memorable and the characters, well developed and realistic. What more can we ask from an author? Kate Hewitt created another masterpiece with this title.