Friday, May 27, 2016

Review - The Girl From Summer Hill

Ballantine Books; 384 pages; $27; Amazon
Growing up as an only child in a small town in the late 80s and throughout the 90s, there wasn't too much to do; which was probably one of the reasons why books appealed to me. While I had a decent size collection of books, I had read each one several times. Eventually, my eyes wandered from my bookshelves over to the one that had all the books my mother had read, which mostly consisted of romance titles. Many of the books were written by Jude Deveraux. At the time, I picked up a few of the books and glanced at the chapters, I might have even read a little bit of them, but romances never appealed to me back then.

Fast-forward to 2003 or 2004, I stumbled upon a hardback of Wild Orchids by Jude Deveraux on clearance at a Barnes & Noble. I purchased the book with the intent of giving it to my mother for Christmas, but before I could do that, I ended up reading and liking the book. Since then, I've read a few of the author's past books and several of her most recent ones.

Now available in bookstores from Ballantine Books is Jude Deveraux's newest romance, titled "The Girl from Summer Hill," which is a new spin of the classic Pride and Prejudice story.

The book centers on a former Washington D.C. Chef, Casey Reddick, a woman starting a new life in the small town of Summer Hill, Virginia, where she is living in the small cottage behind the recently restored grand house on the Tattwell plantation. She gets the shock of her life when she looks out her window early one morning (still wearing her pajamas) and finds a naked man taking a shower on her porch. After staring a little too long, she realizes that the man is the famous actor, Tatton "Tate" Landers!

Tate's sister had been begging him for months to visit Summer Hill and see the restoration that was done on his family's plantation, which was overseen by his cousin Kit Montgomery. Coming along with him for the mini-vacation is his pal and fellow actor Jack Worth. All Tate wanted to do was to take a break from his chaotic life, but instead he encounters a stranger in the guesthouse, who happens to see him in the buff.

It seems Kit had forgotten to tell Tate that he was letting Casey stay in the guesthouse. Casey is a friend of Kit's and she is helping him with upcoming production of Pride and Prejudice. Kit hopes to somehow persuade both Tate and Jack to participate in the production. There's no better publicity than having two of the biggest Hollywood actors to draw a crowd to his play.

While their original introduction was a rocky one, sparks eventually explode between Tate and Casey.

Final Thoughts: When I had requested to review The Girl From Summer Hill, I didn't even read the blurb for it; I just noticed that Jude Deveraux was the author and that was all I need to know to become interested in reading it. To my surprise, the book is a modern version of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Instead of having chapters, it has "acts." The main character, Casey, is a newer version of Elizabeth Bennet and Tate is Mr. Darcy. Though it doesn't follow exactly like Austen's classic, it has a similar story to it, but with more humor.

Right from the opening chapter (act) where Casey finds a stranger naked on her porch, I was hooked into the story. While there is a "Montgomery" character (there is either a Montgomery or a Taggert character featured in almost every book written by the author), this story feels less like the author's other novels. Actually, it feels more like a feature-film, which isn't a bad thing as most "Pride and Prejudice's updates eventually gets made into movies. All the characters are likeable and the dialogue is witty. Overall, The Girl From Summer Hill was a delightful, fast-paced read from start to finish.

*Disclaimer - I received a complimentary NetGalley copy in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions are my own.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a fun read! I think I'd seen something about this one somewhere, but also didn't realize it was a modern version of Pride & Prejudice.


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