The Summer Country by Lauren Willig (Review by Bruna Morais)

2 min read

Rating: 5/5

I have no doubt that this is one of the best books I have ever read. Beautifully written, detailed story, and remarkable characters. The story happens in Barbados and the chapters switch between 1854 and 1812, telling the story of two generations of the same families.

1854: Emily Dawson travels to Barbados after inheriting Peverills, a large sugar plantation in the area. It turns out to be nothing like what she had expected. The land was burned years ago and now the entire property is completely ruined. Emily, her cousin, and his wife are invited to stay with the Davenant family during their stay. Mrs. Davenant clearly wants to buy the Peverills plantation but Emily does not understand why she would want such a ruined property.

1812: Charles Davenant arrives in Barbados to keep Peverills going after his father’s death. He knows that he should marry Ms. Beckles for her money but how could he? He is in love with Jenny – Ms. Beckles’ maid. Having an affair with a slave was a normal practice back then but marrying a slave was illegal. They had a secret relationship for some time until one day Jenny found out that she was pregnant. Charles can’t have a normal marriage with a slave but he also doesn’t want to send Jenny and their baby away. So Charles decides to ask his trustworthy accountant for help. But how loyal will he be?

In 1854, when Emily starts to check Peverills accounting records, she discovers all sorts of secrets from the past. Why was her grandfather sending money to some girl she had never heard of? Determined to find the truth about the past, Emily gather evidences and stories from the only reliable sources available: the slaves from that time that heard and knew everything.

It is impossible to put the book down when all the secrets start to come out. The author does a great job throughout the book, always making you curious to find everything out. The dual timeline style was a little confusing at first and I personally had to sketch a family tree until I got used to so many names.

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