Set in the weeks leading up to an idyllic New England wedding, this “enticing and refreshing” (Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author) novel sparkles with wry wit, sweet romance, and long-kept family secrets.
Iris Standish has always been the responsible sister: the one who studied hard, settled down, and always made the right choices—even when they came at the expense of her passions. Meanwhile, her sister Leah dropped out of college to “find herself” by hiking through Yellowstone and switches jobs nearly as often as she switches lovers, leaving Iris to pick up the pieces in her wake.
But now Iris’s life is coming apart at the seams, and when Leah calls her back to their childhood home with a desperate cry for help, she is thrust headfirst into preparations for her sister’s wedding to a man their New Hampshire clan has never met…with her own marriage and family on the brink.
Still, despite the rush of dress fittings, floral arrangements, and rehearsal dinners, Iris is learning to put herself first. And amid a backdrop of late-night swims and a soul-restoring barn renovation comes Cooper Woods, a high school crush who beckons with the promise of a new start.
While Leah faces a past that has finally caught up to her, Iris prepares to say goodbye to a future that is suddenly far from certain. As Hampstead Lake shimmers in the background, Iris must decide when to wade in cautiously and when to dive—and, ultimately, how to ferry herself to safe harbors in this “glittering…memorable” novel of second chances and the ties that bind (Michelle Gable, nationally bestselling author of A Paris Apartment).
This is your perfect summer novel. If you're going anywhere near a lake or any kind of beach, this novel is what you need.
I liked how this novel made me feel. Going to her parents' house is a way to take a break from her life for Iris, and I felt like I was on a break, too. This novel made me escape from my life and if that doesn't mean it's a good novel, then I don't know what does.
I found it hard to like all of the characters in this novel, first because I didn't feel very invested in the story (but that might be because the main character is my mother's age, so it's not exactly a book for someone my age), but also because I found some characters pretty annoying. Sometimes, I wished I could shake some of the characters, because I hated what they were doing. Also, since the novel starts when Paul has just told Iris that he wants them to get a divorce, I didn't understand what she could see in him, because I felt like I didn't know a thing about their relationship, except from their fallout. It made it hard for me to understand her feelings. However, I really liked many other characters, like Trish, Iris's best friend, Bill, Iris's father, Cooper and Iris's children. I loved the relationships between all of those characters, because their love is clear and deep.
I really liked how selfless Iris is. It also bugged me a little, because I wished she would do something for herself, but mostly, I was impressed. I thought it was very brave of her and I wished I could be more like that. I was really happy to see her grow and to realize how much of a difference this summer has on her, because there is a lot of character development in this book, as well as relationship development.
I read this book outside, on my patio on sunbathing, and it was exactly what I needed. I recommend it.
(Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)