by Patricia Beard is a book that is being touted as a great summer read. It is being released on May 21, 2013 and I have the wonderful opportunity to offer a copy for one lucky reader!
"Nothing ever changes at Wauregan.” That mystique is the tradition of the idyllic island colony off the shore of Long Island, the comforting tradition that its summer dwellers have lived by for over half a century. But in the summer of 1948, after a world war has claimed countless men—even those who came home—the time has come to deal with history’s indelible scars.
Helen Wadsworth’s husband, Arthur, was declared missing in action during an OSS operation in France, but the official explanation was mysteriously nebulous. Now raising a teenage son who longs to know the truth about his father, Helen turns to Frank Hartman—her husband’s best friend and his partner on the mission when he disappeared. Frank, however, seems more intent on filling the void in Helen’s life that Arthur’s absence has left. As Helen’s affection for Frank grows, so does her guilt, especially when Peter Gavin, a handsome Marine who was brutally tortured by the Japanese and has returned with a faithful war dog, unexpectedly stirs new desires. With her heart pulled in multiple directions, Helen doesn’t know whom to trust—especially when a shocking discovery forever alters her perception of both love and war.
Part mystery, part love story, and part insider’s view of a very private world, A Certain Summer resonates in the heart long after the last page is turned.
Nothing ever changed at Wauregan. That was the island’s
purpose, its life force—and its myth. If there were questions,
there were answers, either in the Rule Book devised by
its founders and unaltered in half a century, or in the collective
memory of its summer people.
The colony’s traditions had survived two world wars and the
Great Depression, yet in the summer of 1948, undercurrents
and disruptions caused by the recent conflict swirled and
Helen Wadsworth was not alone in needing the island’s
serenity to soothe her, although her situation was singular. The
other women in the colony were either reunited with their
husbands, if sometimes tenuously, or were war widows. Helen
was officially neither.
Four years earlier, her husband, Arthur, had been reported
“missing, presumed dead” on an OSS mission in France. Since
then, the War Office had not elaborated on the original state-
ment. There was one person who might be able to tell her
more, but like so many men who had returned from combat,
particularly those who had served in the secret service, he had
been practically mute on the subject. Frank Hartman, Arthur’s
OSS partner and godfather to Helen and Arthur’s son, Jack,
said he believed that Arthur had been picked up by the Gestapo
the night they were to escape together over the Pyrenees.
He had provided the barest details about why he had slid out
of the noose, while Arthur had been captured. It seemed to
Helen—but so much of what Frank and Arthur had done
in France was classified, so what did she know?—that Frank
might have been able to find out from their friends in the
Resistance if the Gestapo had killed Arthur or sent him to
a prison camp. Yet once Frank left France, she supposed he
was out of touch. All she was sure of was that both men were
involved in “operations,” and that Arthur had been the shortwave
And so it was that Arthur was still “missing.” If he were
alive, she was certain he would be home, yet Frank assured
her that she should not entirely give up hope. Now Frank had
taken a job at the successor to the OSS, the Central Intelligence
Agency, where he could access the files, and said he could dig
Yet even as Helen grieved and doubted, on this brilliant
early summer day, the promise of Wauregan was so seductive
that when she boarded the first ferry of the season, she felt her
The ferry edged out of its slip toward the open water, and
Helen smelled the salt breeze and felt the pull of the island,
with its dense fogs, shining days, peaceful early-to-bed nights,
and memories of better times when she and Arthur had been
together, watching Jack playing at the edge of the sea. “It’s like
seeing myself as a child, only through my parents’ eyes,” Arthur
had once fondly remarked.
Aboard their private boat, Waureganites were already in
their own world. The island was surrounded by the moat-like
Great Bay on one side and the ocean on the other, protected
from anyone with malevolent intent, not just thieves or kidnappers—
although among families as rich as those who inhabited
this special community, there were always concerns—but also
from people who meant no harm, but chewed gum with their
mouths open and talked in unmodulated voices.
Members of the colony were so secure in the circle of safety
they had drawn around their summer world that even three-year-
olds could ride their tricycles along the paths near their
houses without a parent or nursemaid striding behind. When
Jack was four years old, Helen had sent him a few houses
down to borrow some curry from Fong, the Chinese chef who
worked for a neighboring family. Fong, who often gave Jack
cookies, poured a spoonful of curry into a twist of waxed paper
and handed it to him. Jack, thinking it was a new kind of treat,
opened the twist, stuck out his tongue, and licked it up. Despite
the coughing and choking and tears, Helen thought if that was
the worst thing that happened to her little boy when he was out
on his own, they were lucky.
Text copyright © 2013 by Patricia Beard. Published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Printed with permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
For more info please visit the website:
Giveaway: A print copy for one lucky reader in the U.S. or Canada. Winner will be chosen after 6:00 p.m. PST on 5/30/13 and a response must be received by 6/3/13 or another name will be drawn.
Please leave a comment about your traditions for the summer. Places you like to visit or foods you like to prepare and/or eat. A valid e-mail address must be left with your comment. Thanks and good luck!