One More Summer by Liz Flaherty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I made the mistake of reading this at work. I thought, from the blurb and the cover, it was going to be a humorous Southern romance. It wasn't. It was Southern, but it wasn't funny and it wasn't a romance. I define a romance as a book that is focused on the relationship between two people with the obligatory happy ending. One More Summer wasn't about Grace and Dillon. It was about life and loss and all the messy things in between. This is not a happy book. There is death. The ending isn't 'happy' so much as it is hopeful. Everything is going to be okay, it says, you just have to keep moving forward.
I don't read a lot of fiction, so I'm not the best judge, but this felt quintessentially Southern to me. From the pace of the dialogue, the emphasis on community and food, the weather, it felt like I was there, observing these characters.
A lot of angst happens, but it's not angst for the sake of angst if that makes any sense. This story is told over the course of months, not days, and the characters react naturally to the events. Their emotions, their decisions, their relationships with each other, it all made sense to me. It felt logical, it felt real.
To be quite frank, I find myself a bit of loss for words. One More Summer is not for everyone and, if someone had told me what it was really about, I probably would have never read it. However, if you don't mind books that will leave you in tears and frantically trying not to smudge your eyeliner, read this. Read this and be comforted that someone else understands what you are going through or be grateful for a life free from this kind of pain.
I'm going to conclude this with a quote from the last chapter because it's representative of the book as a whole and demonstrates the author's gift with words.
“Remember the ‘hidden paths’ Jonah and Maxie had in their marriage ceremony?” she said. “I think all of life’s going to be that way. The paths will be curvy and maze-like sometimes, and even if you walk them two-by-two, there will be other people on the walk with you.”
“You’re probably right.” He held her gaze. “But do you want to stay on that two-by-two walk with me? I’m talking a lifetime here. No time-outs for good or bad behavior. If I have to concentrate on being your brother’s best friend for a while, you have to come with me. If Faith needs you more than I do, I’m coming along.” He looked around the room. “We come out of the attic together.”
“I’d like that more than anything.”