Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Book Review: Summertime Guests by Wendy Francis

Pages: 320
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: April 6, 2021
Publisher: Graydon House
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: The Summer Sail,
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says. "THE SEAFARER IS THE PLACE TO SEE AND BE SEEN IN THE SUMMER... With its rich history and famous guests, the glamorous Boston hotel is no stranger to drama. But the bustle at the iconic property reaches new heights one weekend in mid-June when someone falls tragically to her death, the event rippling through the lives of four very different people.  Bride-to-be Riley is at the hotel to plan her wedding. She would have preferred a smaller, more intimate celebration, but her bossy mother-in-law has taken charge and her fiancé hasn’t seemed to notice. Jean-Paul, the hotel’s manager, is struggling to keep his marriage and new family afloat, but now he must devote all his energy to this latest scandal at work. Claire, recently widowed, comes to town to connect with a long-lost love, but has too much changed in the last thirty years?  And then there’s Jason, whose romantic getaway with his girlfriend has not exactly gone the way he'd hoped and instead has him facing questions he can't bring himself to answer. Over three sun-drenched days, as the truth about the woman who died—and the secret she was hiding—is uncovered, these four strangers become linked in the most unexpected of ways. Together, they just might find the strength they need to turn their own lives around."


There's an untimely death at the Seafarer Hotel in Boston and this tragic occurrence directly impacts four hotel guests.  First there's Riley, who is there with her fiance and her mother-in-law, and much to her chagrin, they are at the hotel for a wedding tasting.  Her mother-in-law has pretty much taken over wedding planning and this disturbs Riley.  Then there's the new manager of the hotel, Jean-Paul, who is a new father and is struggling to be the best father and husband he can be while also managing this iconic hotel that now has a scandal attached to its name.  Then there's Claire, who is recently widowed, and is in town to take a breather, but also she hopes to reconnect with a former flame.  Lastly, there's Jason who is on vacation at the hotel with his girlfriend, but things aren't going well mostly because his career is taking a nose dive and he is hiding some secrets from his girlfriend.  All four of their issues start to boil over just as there's an alarming death at the hotel.  Slowly readers find out the truth in Summertime Guests by Wendy Francis, a beach read mixed with a page-turning mystery. 

Right off the bat I enjoyed the character of Riley in Summertime Guests. Planning a wedding is difficult and it broke my heart that she would rather have a small affair, but instead, is catering to her mother-in-law.  Riley's own mother is deceased, so she feels even more unsure about the entire event, not to mention that she wishes she could do this with her own mother.  She is trying to make her husband happy, but in the process it is making her unhappy. He doesn't even seem to notice that this isn't what Riley actually wants; however, she shows up at the Seafarer for a tasting and during it tragedy strikes. Each chapter has a different character's point of view, but it was Riley's that I enjoyed the most.

Then there's Jean-Paul, who is a new father and is stressed out in Summertime Guests. I mean who wouldn't be as a new parent; plus, managing the hotel in the midst of this tragedy. Jean-Paul brought a different perspective to the story since he works at the hotel and isn't merely a guest. Claire's chapters broke my heart in more ways than one, mostly because she is a widow and dealing with a lot.  She comes to the Seafarer to kick back a bit, but she also is hoping to reconnect with her old boyfriend from thirty years ago! I couldn't help but feel like her plan was completely misguided or straight out of a Nicolas Sparks novel.  Lastly, Jason's chapters were my least favorite in that I didn't really care for him.  He is a professor, but completely uninspired by his job. He also treats his girlfriend like crap and is dealing with a lot of personal issues.  While on vacation at the Seafarer, he is hiding things from his girlfriend, which definitely made me frustrated.  

The setting of the Seafarer in Summertime Guests was my favorite aspect of the novel. Who doesn't love a luxury hotel by the water? A hotel on the water is the perfect beach read setting, not to mention the cocktails, the pool, and much more.

All of the character's issues come to the forefront of things once the tragedy strikes at the hotel.  This obviously impacts all four guests and it plays out different for each character in Summertime Guests.  If you like how Mary Kay Andrews's novels are beachy, but also include a strong mystery, then you'll enjoy Summertime Guests.  I did find aspects of it to be a bit depressing, but overall, it was a solid beach read.

Are you a fan of Wendy Francis's novels? Do you like your beach reads with a side of mystery? Let me know in the comments below. 


  1. I absolutely love combining mystery with a beach setting. It's the stark contrast, I think. Some questionable characters, for sure but curious regardless. ;)

    Lovely review, Christina.

    1. It was definitely fun to have a mystery in such an beautiful location...a nice change of pace from your typical beach read. Thanks for visiting, Joy!

  2. Even though this is a beach read and a murder mystery, I like that it sounds like the characters are really fleshed out!

    1. They were definitely interesting characters--each brought something to the story! Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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