Thursday, March 10, 2022

ARC Review: The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery

The Summer Getaway

Susan Mallery
Publication: HQN; Original edition (March 15, 2022)

Description: One woman discovers the beauty in chaos in this poignant and heartwarming story about the threads that hold family together from #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery.

With her divorce settlement about to run out and a mortgage she can’t afford, Robyn Caldwell needs a plan for her future. She nurtured her family and neglected herself. But how’s she supposed to think when her daughter has become the most demanding bride ever, her son won’t even consider college, her best friend is on the brink of marital disaster and her ex is making a monumentally bad decision that could bring everything crashing down on Robyn’s head? So when her great-aunt Lillian invites her to Santa Barbara for the summer, Robyn hops on the first plane.

But it’s hard to run away when you’re the heart of the family. One by one, everyone she left behind follows her across the country. Somehow, their baggage doesn’t feel as heavy in the sun-drenched, mishmash mansion. The more time Robyn spends with free-spirited Lillian, the more she sees the appeal in taking chances—on dreams, on love, on family. Life is meant to be lived on purpose. All she has to do is muster the courage to take a chance on herself.

My Thoughts: This is a novel filled with decisions, changes, and growth. 

Robyn Caldwell has decisions to make. Her youngest Austin has graduated from high school which means she has to sell her house or buy out her ex. She wants to sell but her oldest is throwing a fit because she wants to be married in the gorgeous backyard. Robyn has mainly been drifting since her divorce but comes to the realization that her divorce settlement is nearing its end and she doesn't have any future plans. Her cheating ex is dating her daughter's fiancé's twin sister and Robyn's own boyfriend turns out to be a toad who is ashamed of her.

When her great-aunt Lillian invites her to Santa Barbara to spend time with her, Robyn is on the first plane. Her aunt has always been a source of support who is filled with good sense. But Lillian is ninety-four and seeing her death. She wants things settled. The house will be inherited by her husband Leo's distant relation Mason Bishop. Robyn will be inheriting the contents of the house and Lillian's fifteen cats. 

Mason and Robyn hit it off and become close as they spend time with Lillian and get used to the changes coming in their lives. But before their relationship can ger on a firm footing, Robyn's troubles come to join her. First her son Austin, who has quit his job with Robyn's ex, comes. Then her daughter Harlow comes running when her relationships with her fiancé and her father both reveal feet of clay, Then her friend Mindy arrives when an affair Robyn had counseled her against blows up in her face.

That would be enough of an invasion, but the numbers quickly grow when Harlow's fiancé, Robyn's ex and his pregnant girlfriend, Mindy's husband, and Robyn's toad of an ex-boyfriend all also show up.

One by one, those problems are dealt with leading to growth for all. But, when the unthinkable happens, can everyone find their way to a happy ending?

The story was filled with interesting and well-rounded characters with both strengths and flaws. I enjoyed the setting. The relationships were engaging and complex. The romance between Mason and Robyn did almost get lost among all the various problems Robyn was dealing with, but the epilogue did tie up all the loose ends. 

Favorite Quote:
"You did what you thought was right. You had the best of intentions."

"The road to hell and all that?"

He shrugged. "When you knew better, you did better."

"You're quoting Maya Angelou to me?"

"I'm a man of many depths."

She laughed. "You are and I like that."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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