So many thanks to Libro.fm for allowing me to listen to the advance audio!
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.
I seriously love Elin Hilderbrand’s books on audio! This was my third book of hers to listen to — in fact, I’ve never read one of her books in print. There is something so comforting about coming back to Nantucket each summer, a place I’ve never actually visited myself, but feel as if I know so well from Elin’s books alone. During this crazy time in our world it was great to feel as if I was actually able to vacation somewhere, just through listening to this story. Not to mention, 28 Summers is ultramodern, starting off with things we’re talking about in 2020 and even mentioning the Coronavirus.
This was quite a complex book for me! It featured a few aspects I wasn’t too keen on, but the characters were deep enough to allow me to be openminded and experience the difficulties they were facing without the judgment I’d normally hold. Essentially the characters were cheating nearly every summer of their relationship, yet somehow their love story seemed to make it … I hesitate to use the word acceptable, but it’s the most fitting word. I absolutely loathe when characters (and real people) can’t find it in themselves to be loyal to one person, yet I was completely invested in this story and Mallory and Jake’s relationship.
My favorite thing about this book were the flashbacks to years gone by, with references to all the important headlines and pop culture events from the nineties to today. There were certain things I hadn’t thought about in ages and it was fun to imagine the events that happened in my own life during these times. It made me look forward to each year in Mallory or Jake’s life as the chapters changed.
I could have done without the parallel Kavanaugh case from a couple of years ago making an appearance in this story, along with some of the political fodder. I wish the author would have chosen to create fictional issues in the story for Ursula’s growing political fame, rather than ones we’ve recently been hearing about to the point of being bashed over the head by them. I think many of us use fiction as a way to escape from real-world issues, so it can become tiresome when we have them in our books as well.
Nevertheless, this was an intensely evocative novel that had me reeled in from the get-go. I knew it was going to leave me feeling incredibly heartbroken, but it wasn’t quite as bitter as I expected the story to be. The morally ambiguous story was actually quite bittersweet and thought-provoking.
Rating: 4 stars