Book review: Summertime

Vanessa LafayeFrom the first chapter, this novel is steeped in its setting. Florida, 1935. Racial divides, love [extra-marital and long lost], the US mistreatment of its Great War veterans, and the threat of the elements dominate this tale of Heron Key. Vanessa Lafaye is a debut novelist but she handles her explosive material with assurance, taking time to build the story as the town prepares for the annual beach barbeque on Independence Day. With the weather reports showing a hurricane approaching, tensions build between the townsfolk and the war veterans camped nearby in cockroach-infested mouldy conditions.

Lafaye took her inspiration from two real events, the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935, and the appalling way the US Government treated its war veterans. Heron Key is fictional as are the characters, but some of the things which happen during the hurricane are based on real-life reports. This is a wonderful meld of fiction and fact, handled by skilled storyteller. Lafaye handles the suspense as if she has been telling stories like this all her life.

Click here for Vanessa Lafaye’s blog.

If you like this, try:-
‘The Knife with the Ivory Handle’ by Cynthia Bruchman
‘The Last Runaway’ by Tracy Chevalier
‘The Other Eden’ by Sarah Bryant

‘Summertime’ by Vanessa Lafaye [UK: Orion] Buy now

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