Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Review: Summer in the South by Cathy Holton

Pages: 352
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: May 24, 2011
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "After a personal tragedy, Chicago writer Ava Dabrowski quits her job to spend the summer in Woodburn, Tennessee, at the invitation of her old college friend Will Fraser and his two great-aunts, Josephine and Fanny Woodburn. Her charming hosts offer Ava a chance to relax at their idyllic ancestral estate, Woodburn Hall, while working on her first novel.  But Woodburn is anything but quiet: Ancient feuds lurk just beneath its placid surface, and modern-day rivalries emerge as Ava finds herself caught between the competing attentions of Will and his black-sheep cousin Jake. Fascinated by the family's impressive history--their imposing house filled with treasures, and their mingling with literary lions Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Faulkner--Ava stumbles onto rumors about the darker side of the Woodburns' legacy. Putting aside her planned novel, she turns her creative attentions to the eccentric and tragic clan, a family with more skeletons (and ghosts) in their closets than anyone could possibly imagine. As Ava struggles to write the true story of the Woodburns, she finds herself tangled in the tragic history of a mysterious Southern family whose secrets mirror her own."
Ava, a Chicago native, follows her dream of becoming a writer by leaving her job for an adventure down South.  Her college friend, Will, invites her to stay at his family's historic home in Tennessee.  They think it would be perfect for her as she could get a lot of writing down down there, even though his two great aunts still live there.  At first she finds the house to be the perfect quiet location, but as time goes by, she finds herself in the middle of family feuds and dark family secrets.  Summer in the South by Cathy Holton is a good beach read; readers will be caught up in this memorable southern town.  

Ava is a fun character who leaves it all behind; how many of us have fantasized about doing that at some point in our lives? It's fun to live vicariously through Ava as she explores the beautiful historic home and many of its treasures.  Her journey, although predictable at times, is full of many secrets unveiled, new friendships, and budding romances.  As a book lover, it is also entertaining to see how Ava's future novel plays out and how the south inspires her as well as Will's family.

I must admit that Ava wasn't my favorite character though in Summer in the South.  My favorite characters were Will's eccentric aunts, Josephine and Fanny.  I loved learning more about them and their past.  The best part was their daily Toddy time, or happy hour.  I could easily imagine myself with a libation enjoying their company and hearing their stories of days gone by.   

Holton includes many descriptions of the south during the summertime, which initially attracted me to this book.  The descriptions of their routines, traditions and the slow pace make Summer in the South an ideal beach read, especially if you don't want something too deep or action packed and you like stories about families, secrets, and southern charm.

*Read an excerpt


  1. I love beach reads, and now that the weather is getting nice definitely need some good recommendations. This one sounds really interesting. I love books with eccentric characters and I'm really interested to see what the aunts are like. Great review.

  2. I'm a Southern girl through-and-through, and love finding books that describe my life, especially my summers, well...This sounds like an interesting one to pursue :o)

  3. i like the sound of the eccentric side characters :)

  4. Thanks, guys! I hope you can get your hands on a copy of this summer read. Thanks for visiting!

  5. The side characters sound pretty nice, especially the aunts. Great honest review :)


I really appreciate your comments. Thank you!

Design by: Designer Blogs