Monday, August 15, 2016

Book Review: Mystic Summer by Hannah McKinnon

Pages: 304
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: The Lake Season
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "A chance run-in with a college boyfriend puts a young woman’s picture-perfect life in perspective in this warm-hearted and lyrical novel—from the author of The Lake Season.  Since finishing graduate school, Maggie Griffin has worked hard to build an enviable life in Boston. She’s an elementary school teacher in a tony Boston suburb, a devoted sister, and a loving aunt. With her childhood best friend’s wedding quickly approaching and her own relationship blossoming, this is the summer she has been waiting for.  But when Maggie’s career is suddenly in jeopardy, her life begins to unravel. Stricken, Maggie returns home to seaside Mystic, Connecticut, where she expects to find comfort in family and familiarity. Instead, she runs into Cameron Wilder, a young man from her past who has also returned home, and whose life has taken a turn that puts Maggie’s city struggles in harsh perspective. When tragedy strikes for Cameron, Maggie is faced with big decisions as she weighs what matters most and strives to stay true to the person she’s become.  Set against the gorgeous backdrop of a New England summer when past and present collide, Mystic Summer is a gorgeous novel about looking back, moving forward, and the beauty that blooms when fate intervenes."

Maggie Griffin lives a normal life in Boston. She's an elementary school teacher at a private school, she has a devoted boyfriend, and she is an caring aunt to her sister's children.  She grew up in Mystic, Connecticut with her best friend, Erika, and they have a lot to look forward to this summer. Erika is getting married and Maggie plans on enjoying her summer with her dreamy boyfriend.  But all of this changes when Maggie finds out that her position at the private school is being cut due to the lack of students and now Maggie is unemployed.  She returns home to Mystic in order to figure a few things out, but things become even more confusing for her. She runs into Cameron, her ex-boyfriend, and this makes her question everything.  Hannah McKinnon's Mystic Summer is a quiet sort of beach read that is perfect for vacation. It's light, it's heartwarming, and the beautiful setting will capture your heart.

I immediately connected with Maggie in Mystic Summer as I have worked for years in education.  I felt her pain regarding budget cuts, her dedication towards her students, and even her dread when dealing with helicopter parents. I thought McKinnon's depiction of teachers and how they are treated by certain parents, at least in a wealthy school district or private school, was spot on.  So, needless to say, I was rooting for Maggie.

I also adored her relationship with her sister, Jane, in Mystic Summer.  Jane is overwhelmed with three little children at home and can barely find time to breathe.  Jane's one-liners had me laughing out loud and I found myself connecting to her as well. Essentially, Maggie's relationship with Jane made smile.  The only relationship that annoyed me was the one with Erika. She was a bridezilla and so self-absorbed.  However, I thought McKinnon's portrayal of planning a wedding was pretty realistic though and the lengths women have to go as bridesmaids. Then there's Cameron.

Oh, Cameron. He's pretty much a perfect guy in Mystic Summer, which some people might find irritating, but I really enjoyed him.  I don't want to give too much away, but he is a caring guy and one that really tugged on my heartstrings.

I loved the setting of Mystic Summer. There's something special about a New England summer and McKinnon beautifully captured all of that, which makes this book a great poolside or beach read.

Even though Mystic Summer moves slowly at some parts and is quiet at times, it still held my attention. Sometimes you just need a light read and one that will make you smile and in that case, Mystic Summer did just that.


  1. I wish I can find the time to read more contemporary fiction. This one sounds like the perfect read to just spend an entire Saturday on. I love the idea of someone who's got it all figured out only to have the rug pulled from under them. It's interesting to see how they'll pull themselves back up.

    Adding this to my ever-growing pile!

    1. I hear you! It really is the perfect Saturday read. I hope you can read it soon! Thanks for visiting!

  2. Nice review! I liked Maggie and felt bad for her over her job situation. I loved the family relationships in this one and like you, I thought Erika was a bad friend.

    1. Me too! I really enjoyed that aspect of the novel. I agree...Erika wasn't the best! I'm glad we both enjoy the novel. Thanks for visiting!


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