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REVIEW: The Summer of You by Kate Noble

Dear Ms. Noble:The Summer of You by Kate Noble

This is not a flashy book. There is no big mystery. No serial killer running amok. There aren’t numerous romances started in this story to be carried out into the next. It is just about people trying to cope with the every day aspects of their lives within the walls that those around have built.

Lady Jane, for instance, is known to be a frivolous girl interested in the latest parties and dresses and full of gossip. It is easy to dismiss her as a lightweight, and at some point of her life, the games provided by high society meant everything to her. But now the parties and dresses and gossip are a release. Her mother has died and her father, the Duke of Rayne is sliding into dementia. Jane doesn’t know what is going on with her father, only that he often fails to recognize her. He is forgetful. He sometimes mistakes her for his wife. His behavior is erratic and knowing his pride, Jane has to work hard to keep him confined to the house and engage trustworthy physicians to examine him. Yet those physicians have no answers.

Her brother, Jason, ran off to the continent with a bunch of friends a year ago and Jane has had to deal with her father’s illness by herself; keeping him away from the public, shielding the family from gossip, and struggling to be responsive to the estates’ demands. Who wouldn’t want to spend a bit of her free time trying to enjoy oneself? But the excitement of London has worn off on Jane.

Jane and her brother agree, for their father’s sake, to retire to a country home in the Lake District. Here Jane isn’t the queen of the society like she is in London. On her first full day of social calls, no one can help but mention how grown up she seems since that time when she was five and ran naked in the square.

"I swear to you, Lady Jane, it's the most scandalous thing to have happened in Reston since you ran round the square naked as a jaybird when you were but five!" Lady Wilton laughed.

Jane forced herself to smile serenely. She hated that story and only had a vague recollection of actually doing it. But she knew that in Reston, it was the first thing anyone ever said about her. She could have all the Town polish in the world; it wouldn't matter. Here, she would always be five and naked.

Also in the country hiding out is Mr. Byrne Worth who, oh so coincidentally is the brother of Marcus Worth. Marcus just married Lady Jane’s on again, off again, friend. Their exchanges early in the book are peppered with sniping and pettiness ("So sorry," Phillippa sniped, "I haven't kept up with your preferences-’next time I'll plan my wedding celebration around your likes and dislikes, shall I?") in amongst the friendly exchange which is just another reason why I like this book. The women are given free reign to be not nice at times.

The small community in the Lake District which surrounds Jane’s home is vividly drawn. It is as much of a character as Jane and Byrne. Mr. Worth is looked upon with suspicion by the district because he hasn’t allowed anyone to befriend him. "Repugnant-’never even came to one of the assemblies!" is the description given by one of the townspeople. In fact, his curmudgeonly and secretive ways have caused the locals to peg him as the local highwayman, and not in the romantic swoony sense of the word, but the “rape and pillage the village” sense of the word.

Jane knows that this cannot be true and delivers a welcome basket to him. “I’ve received welcome baskets like that, Lady Jane.” Byrne replied, finally turning from her and crossing the threshold into his house. “They usually contain more probing questions than they do jams and jellies.”

But the townspeople can hold their preconceptions for a long time. At one point, Lady Wilton notes that Jane has always has a propensity for “debauched wildness” beginning with her public nudity at the tender age of five.

The truth is that Byrne could not have cared less what the villagers thought of him because Byrne, himself, had such low esteem. There were dark periods in which he didn’t think he was worth consorting with either, periods marked by heavy use of opiates and thoughts of ending his own life. He wasn’t up to putting on the artifice that town interaction required. It was easier to snub than to participate.

In each other Jane and Byrne find that there is no prejudgment. Jane is not the naked five year old and Byrne doesn’t have to be anyone but a man with a wound. Byrne is someone she can rely on and Jane is someone with whom Byrne can confess his secrets.

There’s a lot more to the story that just Jane and Byrne. Much of the secondary plot lines are about stripping away artifice. Jason has to give up playing the careless nobleman. A young girl sees that her crush has no substance and the town, the pretty polished town, has some dirty secrets. Jane and Byrne grow on you, slowly and surely, and at the end, you can’t doubt that these two are meant for each other. B

Best regards,

Jane

I should add I was told that there are many a historical inaccuracy in this book but I am a dummy when it comes to that sort of thing so unless I know something is terribly wrong, I never grade down for that in a historical.

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This is a trade paperback and its digital price is set by the publisher who is one of the “Agency 5″. I could not find a legitimate e copy of this book. Mobipocket has it for $15.00 and Diesel for $15.00 with $.53 off your next purchase.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

24 Comments

  1. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 14:38:43

    You had me at “This is not a flashy book. There is no big mystery. No serial killer running amok.”

    I stopped reading and skipped to the end to find out where to buy.

    But lo, what do I see?

    This is a trade paperback and its digital price is set by the publisher who is one of the “Agency 5″. I could not find a legitimate e copy of this book. Not at Sony or any other place other than the iBooks store.

    No sale.

    ReplyReply

  2. DS
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 14:48:25

    I don’t have a comment on the review, but I looked at the author’s list of books on Amazon and noticed that all three of her books from Berkley have this cover model with half a head thing happening on the cover. I wonder if publishers are trying to sneak heads back on the front cover a percentage at a time.

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  3. Janet P.
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 15:15:19

    I have the HB of this book from the contest and its been my nightstand book this week. Love the book, totally wanting it in eBook also.

    I see MobiPocket listed it today at $15, just too expensive for me.

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  4. Lynn
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 15:20:35

    I was all set to Nookit until I saw this: This is a trade paperback and its digital price is set by the publisher who is one of the “Agency 5″. I could not find a legitimate e copy of this book. Not at Sony or any other place other than the iBooks store.

    NO SALE

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  5. Kalen Hughes
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 15:29:34

    I should add I was told that there are many a historical inaccuracy in this book but I am a dummy when it comes to that sort of thing so unless I know something is terribly wrong, I never grade down for that in a historical.

    Oh, no! I love this cover and you and Sarah both liked it. I was really looking forward to reading it when my new book is turned in . . . but not if it’s going for $15.

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  6. Shannon Stacey
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 15:33:52

    That’s two of your reviews in a row that have made me want to read books I can’t buy. (I can’t read Passion because of the anatomical arrangements, but I’m practically drooling over over Patience.) The Agency 5 are really pissing me off now.

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  7. Kalen Hughes
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 15:38:53

    It’s $15 because it’s Trade! WTF? Why would you put the last one out in Trade when the others have all been MM? I just don’t get this . . . it ticks of electronic readers, and it ticks off paper readers (when I buy a series, I want all the books to be in the same format so they go together on the shelf; am I alone in that?).

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  8. Statch
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 15:41:14

    Interesting…the review had me hooked from the first paragraph, and I was also planning to buy it until I saw that there was no ebook version. I thought I should mention that, and came to the comments only to find I wasn’t the only one in that situation.

    Unfortunately, if it does come out later in ebook format, at a price I’ll pay, I’ll probably have forgotten about it, since she’s a new author for me. Too bad!

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  9. Deb
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 16:12:02

    And so it begins. My, what a great deal for Apple. First thought, kick backs. Way to go Penguin (And Apple). Magical, Revolutionary my ass.

    ReplyReply

  10. Kalen Hughes
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 16:19:13

    @Statch:

    It is out as an ebook (at least it's at the Mobipocket store and at Diesel), it’s just the same price ($15) as the paper book (which is Trade for some bizarre reason).

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  11. Statch
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 16:58:27

    Thanks, Kalen! I normally only buy ebooks at Fictionwise (where my Micropay dollars are) or B&N (if I just can’t stand to wait for it to come out at Fictionwise). If it’s not in those places, I usually won’t go searching for it (and wow! re the $15).

    In another Dear Author post on ebook pricing, someone commented that ebook readers are a really small market. I was thinking, though, that we’re probably much more likely to post online than the average reader when we like a book, and might be a bigger source of ‘word of mouth’ recommendations. I could be wrong about that…

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  12. Susan Reader
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 17:00:57

    Given that Lady Jane wishes everybody would just shut up already about her nude adventure, I think it’s ironic that the cover is yet another of the “I’m showing my legs for no good reason” variety. (Tho’ less extreme than most.)

    ReplyReply

  13. katiebabs
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 18:20:18

    Kate Noble writes such light and fluffy books where I find myself laughing out loud, and this was one of them.

    So adorable. And now I am longing to go swimming in a lake late one night.

    ReplyReply

  14. Kalen Hughes
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 18:35:39

    @Statch:

    I was a solid Fictionwise girl myself, even reupped my membership last month . . . and suddenly they have squat all for selection and everything is in ePub and secure eReader only (neither of which I can use, I only buy mobi).

    And yes, I emailed their so-called customer service and got the royal blow off, so I’m majorly off them now.

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  15. Miki S
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 18:45:18

    Damn, this sounds interesting!

    But like most of the other posters, not at 15 bucks.

    I’ll add it to my “watch list” and in a year forget why I ever thought it sounded good. (And if I check the bookstore to remember, that cover would make me think it was a light, frivilous book!)

    ReplyReply

  16. Kaetrin
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 19:32:15

    I’m another one who is waiting for the price to be reasonable. Damn. I really wanted to read this one.

    ReplyReply

  17. Rosie
    Apr 08, 2010 @ 04:06:47

    FYI: Kate Noble’s first two books were also in trade paperback before they went to MM a year after their release dates. I hate trade size and that’s why I’ve read her first two books in e-form.

    ReplyReply

  18. CEAD
    Apr 08, 2010 @ 05:12:50

    @Kalen Hughes: You’re definitely not alone. Being able to put all the books in a series together in a row on the same shelf is part of the fun of having them all! It’s just not the same if you can’t do that.

    ReplyReply

  19. Kalen Hughes
    Apr 08, 2010 @ 08:12:28

    @Susan Reader:

    Given that Lady Jane wishes everybody would just shut up already about her nude adventure, I think it's ironic that the cover is yet another of the “I'm showing my legs for no good reason” variety.

    I love this cover! It's actually fairly accurate if the story is set c. 1800-1805, as the dress implies (though it seems a tad more French than English to me). Chemises were short, sometimes even above the knee, and gowns were often diaphanous. My only quibble is that you should be able to see that she's wearing stockings and her garter should be clearly visible. But considering some of the atrocities I've seen over the years, these are pretty minor issues IMO.

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  20. Kalen Hughes
    Apr 08, 2010 @ 08:13:08

    @Rosie:

    Thanks, Rosie! Glad it wasn’t out of left field.

    ReplyReply

  21. Statch
    Apr 08, 2010 @ 17:07:17

    >14 Kalen, re Fictionwise, I just finished a book I bought from them, Hot by Julia Harper, and liked it so I wanted to buy more by her. Not only do they not have any others, but even Hot now says it’s no longer for sale. It’s at B&N, but I have a boat-load of Micropay dollars at Fictionwise and of course no discounts at B&N. Very frustrating!

    Also, re #19, very interesting historical detail!

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  22. Kalen Hughes
    Apr 08, 2010 @ 19:20:13

    @Statch:

    Yeah, it’s the fact that I have $ on account at Fictionwise that now seems trapped in limbo that is really irking the crap out of me (that and the fact that I basically flushed my membership fee down the loo).

    ReplyReply

  23. tara
    Apr 14, 2010 @ 06:39:29

    I wanted to read Jane’s story after I read Revealed.She was so delightfully snarky there. Does this story explain how she and Philippa became enemies? And what happened to the Marquis they were both chasing?

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  24. Jane
    Apr 14, 2010 @ 06:40:32

    @tara Not really. It was alluded to in the beginning of the book and Jason, Jane’s brother, throws it in her face as an example of her own reckless behavior.

    ReplyReply

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