Cover Image: Summer After Summer

Summer After Summer

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When Olivia Taylor agrees to return home to the Hamptons to help her father and sister pack up the family estate, her marriage to Wes, is on the rocks. After years of financial problems, the solution to their problems seems possible with an offer to buy the family home. However, the sale of the home is integral to Olivia, as she also met Fred, the love of her life. It’s been five years since the last time things blew up between Olivia and Fred, but much longer since the first time. Yet when she sees him again, it seems that they might have a second chance.
An interesting story with flashbacks over the years that Olivia and Fred have known each other and broken up. I must admit that this component of the story whilst essential to why Olivia and Fred’s relationship faltered, it did feel disjointed and dragged out the storyline. There was plenty of chemistry between the couple, but I didn’t find myself enjoying them as much as I wanted to.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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How? How is this a debut? The fact that Summer after Summer is Lauren Bailey’s first novel is insane as her writing skills are up there with many other seasoned authors. So there’s that.

Secondly, this is a modern re-telling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion (my second of the year), and I thought she did a great job with that as well.

Finally, the story itself. I truly enjoyed everything about this book. The characters, the plot, the back and forth timeline, all of it. Fred and Olivia met at age 16 and were each other’s first loves. But time and circumstance has never been on their side. As Olivia returns to her childhood home in the Hamptons to help her father and sister move, she learns Fred has purchased her childhood home, and she has no idea why.

As Olivia navigates her family’s drama and expectations, she’s also dealing with her soon to be ex, Wes, and her emotions towards being near her first love once again.

Again, incredibly impressed by the entire story. If I were to say anything negative, it would be that the dialogue was only a bit choppy, but it wasn’t even enough for me to take away a star. This is really just such a great beach read with great characters.

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Persuasion is my favorite book by Jane Austen and I can easily say that this is the best retelling of it that I've ever read. I absolutely loved this book and I know it will be a perfect summer read!! I loved the pacing, the longing, the setting, the characters and there was so MUCH swooning! Definitely add this one to your TBR!

Summer After Summer comes out next week on May 7, 2024, and you can purchase HERE!

"Why me, though? The girl you haven't been able to make it work with?"

"I've asked myself that."

"And?"

"There's something about you. Us. I don't know how to explain it: I've tried with other people, but nobody fits like we do, you know?"

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such a great summer book!! i loved every little bit of this book!! i will 100% recommend this book and all of her books to the customers that come in! i loved this book and the romance aspect but i also just loved the characters so much!

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This was enjoyable, but the pace definitely felt a bit slow for me. The romance between the main characters was cute (although incredibly slow-burn), and the storyline itself was good. I loved the flashbacks and the fact that the tennis aspect to the story gave Carrie Soto vibes!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my e-ARC of this one

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Summer After Summer is a contemporary retelling of Persuasion that takes place at Taylor Place, a gorgeous historical home in the Hamptons of the heroine, Olivia Taylor. Olivia is 35, her marriage is imploding, and her family must sell their home due to financial ruin. When she arrives back home to help clear out and prepare the home for sale, she in confronted with childhood memories, especially her firs summer romance with local teen Fred. She is shocked to find out that Fred is actually the buyer of their home, and she spend the summer reminiscing about summers in the past. I enjoyed the dual timelines and Olivia and Fred's continual 'near-misses' at a happily ever after. Their reconnections about every five years from their teens to present day were filled with longing, angst, and yes, immaturity, that derailed their lives. A fun plot line that I really enjoyed was Olivia's career as a professional tennis player and her path to Wimbledon. I also appreciated the family conflict with her sisters, and the mysterious 'villains' who were trying to take advantage of Olivia's father, and overall the incredible seaside setting.

Fans of second chance romance, childhood friends/lovers, right person-wrong time, love triangles, and family drama will appreciate and enjoy this summer romance debut.

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3.5 stars

Main Characters:
-- Olivia Taylor – 35 years old, a teacher in New York City, was a tennis player in high school and college with her sights set on Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, felt like she was the one who had to take charge after their mother died when she was 14, left her husband after he cheated and is spending the summer helping clean out the family estate in Southampton because it has just been sold so their father can move into a smaller assisted living residence
-- Charlotte Taylor – 37 years old, Olivia’s older sister, stayed at home with her father after their mother died and Olivia went off to college, called Olivia a couple weeks before in a panic because they only had two weeks to get the house packed up and cleared out
-- Sophie Martin – 33 years old, Olivia’s younger sister, married to Colin and living in New York where he works in financial services but isn’t as far ahead as he could be because his father is a vice president at the same firm, Sophie is the only one of the sisters with kids, Olivia describes her as the biological link between her and Charlotte, good friends with Colin’s sister Lucy who recently started dating Fred
-- Aunt Tracy – Olivia’s late mother’s best friend, was a mother figure to the sisters when they were growing up, moved to Florida for the winters several years ago
-- Ashley Dale – Olivia’s childhood best friend, they had a falling out several years prior and haven’t spoken since
-- Fred Webb – 37 years old, runs a successful shipping business with offices in London and the U.S., Olivia’s first love who she was on-again/off-again with over many summers, bought the estate where Olivia grew up
-- Wes Taylor – Olivia’s husband, dated Charlotte briefly when they were teenagers
-- Ann Clay – Charlotte’s girlfriend, a real estate attorney who brokered the deal for Fred’s purchase of Olivia’s childhood home

Can general adult fiction and romance also be a coming-of-age story? I wouldn’t have thought so until I read Lauren Bailey’s Summer After Summer.

Told in the first person from Olivia’s point of view, the story begins with Olivia driving to Southampton from New York having left her husband Wes after he cheated on her. Her family’s estate is under contract to be sold, and her father is moving into an assisted living facility, so Olivia and her sisters plan to pack up the house for the sale. When Olivia arrives in Southampton, Charlotte informs her that the property sold for $25 million, each of them would get $5 million, and the buyer is Olivia’s former love Fred. 😲

From there, the story shifts to 20 years prior, just before Olivia’s 16th birthday when she meets Fred. Thus begins their on-again/off-again love story, with life events putting them in the same place every five years or so. Each time they meet, their love story is passionate…and ends with devastating heartbreak (not a spoiler).

We know that eventually they permanently go their separate ways since Olivia is a teacher and married to Wes (see, not a spoiler). Fred is successful enough in business that he paid $25 million for Olivia’s family home. We also know, since this is a romance, that they should end up together.

Olivia has a lot to sort through before they can be together. Packing up her childhood home, including her mother’s belongings that haven’t been touched since her death more than 20 years before, takes its toll on Olivia mentally and emotionally. Her marriage is in shambles, she hasn’t spoken to her former best friend Ashley in five years, and the man she clearly has never gotten over is in her face and dating one of her friends.

This story resonates in a lot of ways. They say you never get over your first love, and that is definitely a theme here. Olivia has typical disagreements with her sisters. When she’s packing up the house, the last room Olivia wants to go through holds all her mother’s things, which I can appreciate. She gets annoyed at her aging father.

But then there are elements that just bother me. I both like and dislike Olivia and Fred together…if that makes sense. They have a volatile relationship. When they’re teenagers, I can understand how easily they split up. Teenagers don’t know how to communicate about deep relationship issues, but as they get older, go to college, start their careers, I would expect them not to fall into those patterns of not talking about the big stuff. I would hope that they would learn from their mistakes.

From a writing perspective, unrelated to the story really, there were things that started to pull me out of the story the more they happened. For example, Olivia calls her father by his first name, William. I don’t have a problem with that. In fact, my daughter calls me by my first name as well and has since she was small. However, when she talks about me to other people, my daughter says “my mom.”

Olivia refers to him as her father in the first chapter, but then in Chapter 3 when she explains why she calls him William, he’s William for the rest of the book. It’s awkward, especially in conversations, and especially since she still refers to her mom as “Mom.”

“‘I’ve just been thinking about Mom a lot…Do you think she was happy?’
‘With what?’
‘Her life. William.’”

As the author introduces characters, I expect some sort of basic description (show, don’t tell), but the descriptions include a lot of unnecessary detail. I don’t need a fashion show description of what everyone is wearing…unless Olivia is a fashion designer and notices those things, which she’s not.

“The object of this grooming is thirty, Asian, petite, and very pretty. She’s wearing a black linen pantsuit cinched at the waist by a large leather belt with an intricate design on it, and high, high heels that bring her up to Charlotte’s height.”
“His black hair is mussed, and he’s got a very French-looking mustache, too large and droopy. He’s wearing a crisp white shirt and black dress pants.”

And from a plot point perspective, Fred tells Olivia that her father was on the brink of bankruptcy when he offered to buy the property. The story is set in 2023, but in 2008, when the housing market crashed, William and Aunt Tracy tell Olivia she needs to look for more scholarships to finish college because there’s no money left. Olivia describes to the reader all the financial difficulties William has had, but it takes 15 years for him to be on the verge of bankruptcy and to force a sale of a 26- or 27-room estate? (That’s another thing. Olivia mentions that they could never agree on whether it was 26 rooms or 27. What??)

Assuming the property has long been paid off since it is a family estate, the property taxes alone are likely $1 million a year. William doesn’t work, and one year he didn’t pay the taxes. How has he not sold off pieces of the land? How has he not been forced out before now?

I did like the ending…although I wasn’t crazy about the mental gymnastics Olivia did in regard to her marriage to Wes. But there are parts that were surprising, which is why 3.5 stars. It’s definitely better than “ok” and will be a nice summer beach read (maybe in the Hamptons?). And I do really feel like Olivia found herself at the end, which wraps up the story nicely.

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Don't worry if you haven't read Persuasion (which is, imho. a better book)- go ahead and read this as the story of Olivia and Fred. It's a second chance romance of sorts because Fred, who Olivia hasn't seen in years, has bought her family home thus saving her father and sister from destitution. This moves back and forth in time to tell their story. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC>. This is trope=y- from the characters to the setting to the plot-but it's a light read that will be good on the beach.

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This alternating timeline focuses on a young love that remains in Olivia's life. I wish it had more of their first summer together and why they clicked instantly, but focused more on the missed connections later in life.

The ending was a bit predictable as it was very clear that some people were just in relationships for the money and not love. There's constant threads throughout that show that they don't care about the person they are with but rather the money they can bring in and offer.

Overall, I think that this book has the recipe to be great, but misses the mark just short.

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Tennis and second chance romances in the form of a retelling of Persuasion, two of the things that bring me joy. What more can I ask for?

There is no shortage of nostalgic second chance romances with Summer in the title and I’m here for all of them. This may be for fans of Every Summer After (by Carley Fortune) and Same Time Next Summer (by Annabel Monaghan).

While this book had its charms (literally and figuratively) and did not disappoint, this did not blow me away either, just enough liking for me to finish. The antics and the drama toward the ending made this one suffer a bit for me as well.

I loved the writing and would probably still be on the lookout for Bailey’s next books as this is her debut. However, I guess having read a bunch of books with these similar themes, I don’t think this stood out.

Thank you to Alcove Press, NetGalley and the author for my early copy. All opinions are honest and my own.

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Summer After Summer is loosely based on Jane Austen's Persuasion, but there are many plot points that make it stand out, too. For example, it is a contemporary story, and the characters' personalities aren't always similar to Austen's characters. I found it to be an engaging story overall. The main character, Olivia, is returning to her family home after being away for quite some time, but it's easy to understand her avoidance when you meet her family. Olivia is obviously the one that everyone expects to see stand up and take care of things, including, this time, helping to clean out the family house before her father moves out. Olivia's sisters are too caught up in their own lives to help her much, and you begin to suspect that this is their usual behavior. On top of that, Olivia's marriage is falling apart, and this summer seems to be more of an escape from that than a happy family reunion.

One thing Olivia can't escape, however, are the memories of her first love with Fred, the boy she met as a teen, who marked each of her summers with love and sorrow. Things between her and Fred never really got off the ground, as events in both of their lives always got in the way of their relationship blooming. So, of course, the reader will find it as no big surprise when Fred shows up this summer, too, in this case, as the home buyer. Why would he want to buy her family home, and is their any chance for them this time? These are the questions Olivia has, but, as a reader, I felt like I already knew the answers.

Whether you've read Persuasion or not, it's not difficult to figure out the answer to these questions. I felt like the story line was a bit predictable, and I didn't really find myself rooting for Olivia and Fred as much as I had wanted to. Over and over, I felt like the sabotaged their own relationship, and it just made me more frustrated than I felt like I needed to be. I did enjoy the writing for the most part, but I wanted to be more invested in their relationship than I was.

Thank you, NetGalley and Alcove Press for the opportunity to preview this title.

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Persuasion re-telling!! what more can you ask for? Young love, summer, beach house setting. I found the pacing a bit slow but otherwise enjoyed it!

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Thank you to Netgalley for the advance copy.

I am always a sucker for a book set at the beach/coastal community. This one is set in the Hamptons.
Olivia has returned back to her family home in the Hamptons to help pack it up for its pending sale.
Coming home has brought up a lot of memories of growing up and her first love, Fred. The chapters go back and forth between summers and current time detailing their relationship.
Although this had the makings of a great story, it fell short. After a while, I was hoping for them not to get together.
It was fine to pass the time.

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ʙ ᴏ ᴏ ᴋ • ʀ ᴇ ᴠ ɪ ᴇ ᴡ

📖 Summer After Summer
✍🏻 @laurenbaileyauthor
⭐️ 4.5
🫶🏻 ARC #41 of 2024
📚 95/100

🄿 🅄 🄱 • 🄳 🄰 🅃 🄴: May 7th, 2024

First off I want to say thank you to @netgalley, @laurenbaileyauthor, @alcovepress and @dreamscape_media for this ebook/audio ARC.

I really enjoyed this book! It gave me Mary Kay Andrews vibes.

♥️ fated mates / second chances
🏠 small town
✨ young love
🕰️ duel timeline
😰 drama, mystery and some thrill
🏖️ beach vibes
☀️ summer scenes
💸 wealth

I’ll say it again….it had it all! I LOOVVEEEE a book that has family drama, romance/love and even some mystery and a twist. Like romance is romance. Thrillers are thrillers. BUT when you throw it all into one, 🤌🏻

So happy I got this book! And definitely recommend

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Thank you to Netgalley and Alcove Press for the ARC!

Summer After Summer is a retelling of Persuasion by Jane Austen. I wasn’t aware of that when beginning the book, nor have I ever read Persuasion, so I went in without any real expectations.

After leaving her husband, Olivia makes her way back to the Hamptons for the sale of her family home. Once there she crosses paths with Fred, her first summer romance.
The story is told in alternating timelines so that we learn about Olivia and Fred’s relationship over the last 20 years. (They encounter each other every five years.) The beginning was very slow for me. I found myself really not wanting to pick it up as I really didn’t care about the main character and the family dynamic was very strange to me. The pace picked up about halfway through the book and I found myself reading the rest quickly. The second half of the book and especially the ending is what leads me to give it an overall 3 star rating.

I think some of the things I was confused about had to do with the author keeping the story aligned with Persuasion. If you are a fan of that novel and contemporary retellings, then you will probably like this book a bit more than I did. Overall, it was a cute, summer read.

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Summer after Summer is like a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion, and even though I haven't read the original, I found this book pretty good! It's got that sweet and cute vibe of a classic story but set in today's world. The family dynamics were interesting, even if some characters got on my nerves. I liked the author's writing style, and although I gave this book 3 stars, I’m looking forward to her next books!

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Olivia comes back to the Hamptons to help her family pack up their family home, only to find her old ex, Fred, is the one who has now bought the property.

This second chance romance was quite a sweet read. I enjoyed the dual timelines of then and now so we could see the buildup of Olivia and Fred's relationship and what went wrong. The chemistry between the main characters was evident throughout and I couldn't help rooting for them to hurry up and make it official! I enjoyed listening to the audiobook (the narration was excellent!) as I read along and loved listening to all the tennis talk!

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In a contemporary Persuasion retelling, Olivia returns to her family home in the Hamptons after her marriage spirals out of control and her father needs help cleaning out the house after its sale. What she isn't expecting is that her "right guy, always the wrong time" lost love, Fred is the buyer.

I enjoyed this one! There were so many things that really pulled me in!

The setting: I loved the setting of the Hamptons. You really got sucked into the lifestyle with the beach and the club. Along with that, you get to travel around the world in the past chapters, following Olivia to tennis matches. All are well drawn out.

The past and present timelines. The book spans many many years, following Olivia and Fred as they meet up every five years. You start to anticipate them coming together and knowing the heartbreak is coming for them to separate.

The retelling of it all: Austen retellings are always my favorite because her characters and plots are honestly timeless. I thought Bailey did a great job getting the heart of the original tale, delving into the rich and poor status and what it takes to get to the higher status in order to get what you want.

All in all, this was a well-laid out romance with a timeless story.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the gifted copy.

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I actually enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. A second chance romance set in the summer in the Hamptons. The setting was perfect for starting off your summer TBR! The complicated family dynamic kept me engaged as well as the love triangle Olivia finds herself in. The past has left a lot unresolved in this one with the catalyst being the death of Olivia’s mom. I really enjoyed the growth of all of the relationships in this book.

I did find the miscommunication in this one a bit annoying at times. Also it felt the dialogue between characters was sometimes simple and short. I will say the ending and how the story unfolded in the last few chapters made up for those small flaws. I definitely recommend this as a great summer read!

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance copy. This retelling of Persuasion has all the elements of a popular beach read for summer of 2024: an idyllic beach setting, summer lovers who can’t seem to get it together, family drama, a con attempt, etc. However, it was a touch too long, several of the characters were irritating, and I could see the twist at the end with the awful soon-to-be ex-husband coming for at least half of the book. I think cutting at least 50 pages would have made this a more enjoyable read.

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