I can’t believe I have not read Elin Hildenbrand before. Or have I, and just don’t recall? But anyways, I am glad I read 28 Summers. And I thought long and hard about posting this review, since the book’s theme is one that some readers might/will find off-putting. But then again, it is a book I read and enjoyed in spite of all its problems, so here it is!
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The Book Review
When Mallory Blessing’s son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he’s not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It’s the late spring of 2020 and Jake’s wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election.
There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other? Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother’s bachelor party. Cooper’s friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere — through marriage, children, and Ursula’s stratospheric political rise — until Mallory learns she’s dying.
Based on the classic film Same Time Next Year (which Mallory and Jake watch every summer), 28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives, and the lives of the people they love.
On one hand, I devoured the book (I did not even realize it was over 400 pages until I looked at the details for writing this review!) On the other, I was having that guilty pleasure feeling (like in, this book is about infidelity which is bound to be a no-no for some)
What I Liked
But, I did read it, all the way to the end, and would have completed it in one sitting if I could have. What kept me hooked on was the execution of this concept without being repetitious even though the book follows the lives of Mallory and Jake over 28 summers, with each chapter being devoted to one year.
We are given a clear insight into the inevitable emotional messiness without being preached at. We feel the impact of their relationship on their own lives and that of others around them. And we get to know the other characters well enough so that while Mallory and Jake are the recognizable protagonists, they do not take over the story at any time. This was one book where I enjoyed watching the other characters grow over the span of 28 years, even more than the main characters. I truly loved Mallory’s friend Apple, and her brother Cooper.
I found myself making a note of all the books Mallory and Jake read and exchange in this book (always love characters who love reading!) And I also enjoyed the descriptions of Nantucket itself throughout – virtual vacationing!!!
And yes, I found myself in tears a few times as I read this one. That ending (which is already not a spoiler) still managed to draw out the tears, while there were a few more scenes (especially those with Mallory and her family – her parents, Cooper, and Link) that got to me.
Last, but not the least, I loved the ‘What are we talking about in xyz-year?…’ intro blurbs at the start to each chapter! It took me on a little journey to the past each time, and nostalgia has its benefits, like I have said before 🙂
The Not So Good
Of course, I wanted Jake and Mallory to get together, but wished they could both have been just a little bit stronger, or maybe it was their love that should have been stronger? Their choices infuriated me throughout while at the same time, I hoped for them. I wanted to ‘not like’ them, but found it hard not to like them!
I definitely could have done with a little less of the political issues introduced in later chapters; and though it was mostly done to highlight Ursula’s career, I felt some of it was simply too much for the book.
And yes, some of the times, Mallory and Jake try to achieve the ‘No Matter What‘ goal of meeting that one time each year simply made me – angry? cringe-y? not happy?
But in the end, I did devour it, all the way to the end. So if you are willing to look past the obvious theme of a long-term-affair, then this book is sure to tug at your heartstrings, provide you all the relationship dramas while making you question morals and taking you down memory lane, and be the perfect beach-read for you this summer.
While this is my first Elin Hildenbrand book, I know I will be reading more by her in the future.
Cooper is the golden child to Mallory’s silver. He’s the chocolate chip cookie to her oatmeal-raisin…..
She is a line drawing of a woman that has been only partially colored in.
“He’s mine…..He’s mine for the rest of my life.” (Mallory’s first thoughts about her baby boy, Link)
Disclaimer: Thanks to Netgalley and Little Brown and Co. for the eARC of this book. All opinions are my own.
Would You Rather
So this book contained a would you rather question, and it’s answer was why the story progressed in the first place. But that reminded me of a long ago plan I had to include a would you rather post or section to my posts. So my July posts will include this each day. I would love to hear your answer to this question in the comments below (and specifics, if the question requires or reminds you of any!)
Would you rather secretly love a book everyone else hates, or secretly hate a book everyone else loves?
As for me, I know I have done both(though not too often secretly), but need to get into my archives to remember the actual names. But I would most likely be loving a book many hate, because I tend to like most of the books I do read!!
And now, the End of this Post
Dear readers, what are your thoughts on a book like this? I was not sure when I started reading this that I would complete it, but I did.
So this is my day one for another round of UBC and am looking forward to interacting with UBCers once again.
Linking up to the Ultimate Blog Challenge and join in if you want to interact with other bloggers and challenge yourself to post everyday this month.