Publication Date: August 12, 2016
Emily is a mid-wife in a small village in the Cotswolds who runs up against bureaucracy in the form of doctors who don’t believe that women should have home births. After her last run-in, Emily happily grabs at the chance to help out her best friend, Rebecca, who is pregnant and unable to perform the cooking duties on the puffer boat that she and her husband, James, operate as a summer hotel on the sea.
James’ younger brother is Alasdair, a general practitioner and widower, who has a young daughter, Kate. He and Emily become involved.
The beginning of A Summer at Sea is quite good. Emily aboard the puffer ship, learning the ropes, cooking for a bunch of people, trying to ingratiate herself with Billie, her assistant is interesting. In fact, if this book had taken place entirely on the puffer ship and dealt with relationships and life on board, I think it would have been terrific. But the actual summer at sea takes up less than half the book before it runs aground. The animosity with Billie, which could have been a continuing “thing” is gone in an instant.
The romance between Emily and Alasdair feels completely passionless. It all just feels too proper and formal, even when and after they sleep together.
I suppose that’s my feeling for A Summer at Sea. It’s lacking in passion. It’s nice and comforting, very pleasant, but the Emily we meet in the first scene who is feisty and definitely passionate doesn’t seem to exist much further in.
There is a lot of detail and a lot of dialogue that’s inserted which leads nowhere. Lots of extraneous stuff, which makes it feel a bit leaden.
I reviewed Fforde’s Summer of Love back in July and I think I enjoyed the characters in that novel a bit more. There was probably more passion as well.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review.
From Amazon: A Summer at Sea