Back of the book :
Florida, 1935. Heron Key is a small town where the relationships are as tangled as the mangrove roots in the swamp. Everyone is preparing for the 4th of July barbeque, unaware that their world is about to change forever. Missy, the Kincaid family’s maid and Nanny, feels that she wasted her life pining for Henry, whom she has not seen since he went to fight on the battlefields of France in WW1. Now he has returned with a group of other desperate, destitute veterans, unsure of his future, ashamed of the past.
When a white woman is found beaten nearly to death in the early hours, suspicion falls on Henry. As the tensions rise, the barometer starts to plummet. Far out over the Atlantic, what will become one of history’s greatest storms is heading their way. In one night, Heron Key will change forever…
Based on real events Summertime is a stunning debut novel, a glorious love story and a mesmerising account of survival.
What I think :
The story is set in the fictional town of Heron Keys in Florida, the year is 1935. Its based on real events of the 1935 hurricane that ripped through the Florida keys and killed hundreds of people.
The Main character is Missy, she is a maid for the Kincaid family. She is also looks after Hilda and Nelson Kincaid’s son Nathan.
Selma is also a maid at the Kincaid’s. Her brother Henry is Missy’s lost love who went to war 18 years ago and didn’t return until now.
Henry has returned to Heron Key after being away for many years, however instead of going home to Selma’s he is living at the the camp for destitute war veterans.
Everyone in Heron Key is getting ready for the annual 4th of July Barbeque on the beach, where there will be fireworks and dancing, and as these are still the days of black/white segregation sadly trouble and fighting. On the same night as the 4th of July Barbeque, Hilda Kincaid is attacked as she is walking home. She was beaten so badly that she is close to death. Henry is put under suspicion as he was seen talkng to her at the Barbeque.
Then just a few short days after the attack, the worst hurricane that the Florida Keys has ever seen arrives …..
Will life ever be the same again ?
I have always really loved historical books that are written about events that really happened, this one being the awful hurricane that ripped through the Florida keys shortly after labour day in 1935. It was one of the worst hurricane’s that Florida has ever seen.
This book has some really strong characters, such as Missy and Selma, these are two women that wouldn’t be beaten, right up until the end.
The author was wonderfully descriptive and has really done her research, however it was quite difficult reading in places especially when reading about the hurricane and what happened to all the people in the town. There is such a undercurrent of sadness running throughout the book, it makes me so angry to think that something so simple as the colour of your skin could dictate where you were allowed to go and what you did.
I really recommend that you go out and buy this book, its so wonderfully powerful, it really made me stop and think.
I give this excellent, thought provoking book 9/10.
Published on 15 Jan 2015 by Orion Book.
A huge thank you to Lucy Richardson at Orion for the copy of the book to read and review.
Read an extract of the book here :