Industrial-Sized Deals TextBTS15 Shop Women's Handbags Learn more nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon Beach House Fire TV Stick Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Shop Popular Services tmnt tmnt tmnt  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage Metal Gear Solid 5 Gear Up for Football Deal of the Day

The Book of Summers
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$10.11+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2012
This is my first book review, so please bear with me! I have tried to include the things I look for in reviews and I hope I have got it right.

I was recently send this book to read and review by Real Readers and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't something I would have picked up in a book store - I am generally pretty dismissive of what I term 'chick-lit' - but this really wasn't that kind of book. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The story begins with Beth Lowe receiving a parcel - a book - from her recently deceased mother. The book comes to her via her father - with whom she has a somewhat strained relationship. The contents of the book give rise to a series of - I suppose you would call them flash-backs - giving the stories behind the contents.

The book contains momentoes of summer holidays spent in Hungary and each story gives you a greater understanding of Beth, her relationship with her parents, how she grew up and, eventually, the reasons why the holidays came to an end.

Emylia Hall is a talented writer. Her location descriptions paint a picture so clearly you can almost smell the heat. When she describes scenes you can see them in your mind's eye and relate to them. Her characters come to life not in a rush, but over a carefully crafted period of prose which really helps you to 'see' them and want to know what happens to them. The whole story built up at a good pace and kept me interested.

I enjoyed the story, I loved the virtual trip to Hungary where I learned some interesting words and phrases!! All in all, I think I would certainly recommend this as a great read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2012
It’s a poetic trip to Hungary for the reader, with a bittersweet ending. A coming-of-age story that is tied to the decisions one can make in anger, and the regrets about those choices, but ultimately leading to forgiveness and maturity.

About: Beth (Erzsi - her Hungarian name) is now in her thirties and lives in London. She has repressed anger which comes out toward her father who lives miles away in Devon. When her father calls to visit she becomes excited, but then angry because she finds it’s only to bring her a letter and a handmade book from Hungary. It’s a lovely book in which her trips to the country have been cataloged lovingly by Marika, her Hungarian mom.

Perusing the book, she has no choice but to take a trip back to the wonderful summers she spent there with loved ones. As Erzsi reminisces while looking at her childhood pictures from each summer spent in Hungary, the reader follows her back in lolling experiences, which culminate in a heartbreaking choice made by the main character.

Thoughts: This is a lovely novel with long poetic depictions of Hungary. It’s definitely women’s fiction, but having the flow of literary fiction since the characters are well developed. The accounts of Erzsi’s visits take up most of the book’s content, which is important to remember when choosing this book to read, since this may make or break the book for some readers.

It’s a book which I think would be an excellent choice for a woman’s book group discussion since it will evoke strong emotions in many readers. It involves the choices made in anger, at an age when maturity has not set in, also it reveals the emotions around secrets kept and shared too late, regret, and ultimately forgiveness. Recommended for anyone wanting a summer trip to the area, for readers who like to savor lengthy descriptions, and bittersweet endings. I give this story a 3.5 stars, it’s a good book for a vicarious summer trip.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2012
THE BOOK OF SUMMERS is Emylia Hall's astounding debut novel about a sweet child who grows up under unusual circumstances, defined by the split of her parents in the middle of childhood.In the beginning, Beth Lowe is an adult recalling vivid childhood memories --- experiences conjured by a scrapbook that was mailed to her by an old friend, her mother's lover from a Hungarian village.
Beth's strange family relationships were marked inexorably the day her parents split during a family vacation, after which her life diverged into two vastly different worlds and cultures. Beth's mother, Marika, was always drawn to Hungary; it was her homeland but was shut to her while the Iron Curtain stood. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, however, Marika felt she had to see it again, and being there was the impetus for her choice to stay while her family returned to England without her.

That day, David and Marika enter into an odd but mostly functional family arrangement wherein Beth sets out to visit Marika each summer while David keeps her for the rest of the year in England. Beth's Hungarian summers with her mother become treasured adventures, and her situation bears no similarities to a typical custody suit or divorce arrangement. There never is any fighting; no legalities or formal arrangements have to be made. A date is simply set when Marika can expect her daughter. After her arrival, Beth settles into the breezy natural comfort of Marika's confidences, friendship and daily life, for the days it lasts. Marika's home is called the "Villa Serena," and she lives with her lover there, a free-spirited artist named Zoltan, who treats Beth like an instant friend.

Naturally, the complicated emotional circumstances surrounding Beth's abandonment rarely surface but never leave her. Throughout her childhood summers, she learns to bury her hardened emotions deeply and keep her bitterness hidden. Often she feels greatly frustrated by her relationship with her emotionally distant father and continually insecure about the love her mother shows --- even though it's sincere. They share real connections, but Beth is reluctant to accept this. Surprisingly, her insecurity seems to be mirrored in Marika, who is equally desperate to win her daughter's heart even while she's clearly very comfortable with their arrangement. All parties look forward to Beth's visits with Marika every year, even Beth's father, David, who remains consistently cryptic and distant but supportive and encouraging nonetheless.

Marika's home is lovely and welcome because of its natural disorder, and her Hungary is a simple but beautiful place. Their bohemian getaway is peaceful because of its loving inhabitants and unconcerned atmosphere, and all who love Beth recognize that her visits to Hungary are life-giving experiences. Over the years, she feels more and more free and serene, and Hungary itself provides a unique atmosphere and unique people.

Beth's quiet, blissful summer days become defining moments in her life even more once she meets a dear friend, Tamas, a Hungarian boy with whom she feels a soulful connection. Her friendship with him continues throughout their childhood and blossoms as they become teenagers of a certain age, whereupon Beth feels some novel desperation to forge an ill-conceived plot to stay in Hungary permanently so she can remain with Tamas and her mother.

In every page of this breathtaking novel is a strong sense of place and humanity. Readers will really appreciate the solid, artistic, beautifully descriptive quality of Emylia Hall's writing. Hall does a fabulous job of contrasting Beth's ordinary life in Devon with the graceful bohemian lifestyle of Hungarian culture. The characterization in this book is wonderful and quite impressive for a first novel; I was surprised to discover that this is a debut. Those who enjoy fiction and family dramas should love THE BOOK OF SUMMERS, a touching, emotive read about love and the value of family.

Reviewed by Melanie Smith on June 1, 2012
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Beth remembers the day her mother left. She was nine. Her mother, Marika, loved and missed her native Hungary so much, that she decided to stay behind after their family vacation there. Every summer afterward, Beth spent some time in Hungary with her mother...every summer, until the heart shattering secret truth was revealed.

One day about ten years later, Beth receives a mysterious package. Inside is a note informing her of her mother's death. Also enclosed is THE BOOK OF SUMMERS, a scrapbook her mother had made of all of Beth's visits with her. Thus begins a time of reminiscence, reconciliation and acceptance.

I bought this book in a Dublin airport on my return trip home after a summer visit to the country I dearly love. As I read it on my way home, I could very readily relate to its beautiful imagery and lyrical, emotional descriptions. It is about the love for a country after all. However, it is so much more. It is a book about forgiveness and understanding and family and love.

Beautifully sculpted with words stuffed with sentiment and passion, this book is about growing, loving, forgiving, and living. The characters are wonderfully developed to the point of colorful realism and the settings are dynamically charged with color and vibrancy. This is a gem!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Author: Emylia Hall
Published By: Mira: Original Edition
Age Recommend: Adult
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Raven Rating: 4
Blog Review For: Great Minds Think Aloud

Review:

"The Book of Summers" by Emylia Hall was indeed a wonderful book of Beth/Erszi trying to understand her past....her mothers family history...due to a unexpected parcel from Hungary. Now this is a very long descriptive read so be ready for the long read, however, if you can stay with this story line you will not be disappointed....going from present to past times over the countries..(Hungary, Devon, London). This author really makes you feel the places you are in...especially in Hungary.

Beth(Erzsi)Lowe is now living in Victoria Park, London and her father comes to visit and gives her a parcel (from her recently deceased mother)... that he had received at his home in Devon and this cause quite a stir because nothing was to be received from Hungary. Now why was that? However, Beth goes and opens the parcel discovering that it is "The Book of Summers" which was a scrapbook of seven past summers she had spent in Hungary with her mother. Now... Beth is remembering those summers and what had happen even the last one she had spent there...For this book will slowly reveal just what happened that Beth had forgotten her "7 summers in Hungary and in the end it all come clear to the reader. Just how could a Mother let go of her child and put a country first....however, I was able to understand after the read of the outcome.

I really liked the way this author didn't let the cat out of the bag until almost the end of this wonderful story. If you can hang on you will find out what had caused this rift between Beth and her father. By going through this scrapbook will Beth be able to look at her life especially her teenage years differently and even understand why her family had done what was done? ...summer spent in Hungary and the secret why the summers stopped and Beth became estranged from her mother...with many twist and turns... soon letting us understand just what had happen. Now this is the part where I will say you must pick up this novel and read to find out just what has gone on.

I really enjoyed the characters... Beth(Erzsi), Marika( Mother), David(Dad), Aunt Jessica, Zoltan, Angelika, Balint, Tamas and Justin ...all making this a well written story.

"The Book of Summers" was a good read and well written..... definitely a novel to make you think. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants a good fiction read of dreams of the teenager, problems and choices that we have as adults with family relationships....then this read is for you.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 30, 2012
When Beth was just nine years old, she and her father left their mother, Marika in Hungary and returned to England. Marika told Beth that Hungary was her home.Beth was devasted. However, Beth was able to visit her mother every summer.Beth and Marika looked forward to these summers. They shared laughes, love, and heartache. This changed when during one summer, Beth learned a secret that her mother had been keeping from her. A secret that tore them apart forever.

The Book of Summers is Mrs. Hall's debut novel. I have to say after reading this book, I can not wait to see what Mrs. Hall has in story next. This book read more like Mrs. Hall's third or fourth book then her first. I started this book last night and about an hour and a half later I was finished. The Book of Summers reads like an old friend/journal then just a book. The Book of Summers is a must summer read!

I found Marika to be the star of this story. Her hippy ways and carefree living made me smile. I like that she encouraged Beth to act like a kid which included getting in trouble. Beth grew as the summers pasted. She enjoyed life more when she was vising her mother in Hungary. This is what I liked the most about younger Beth. The older Beth had forgotten about life and was kind of bitter. When Marika's secret was revealed, I could understand on one hand why Beth acted the way she did but on the other hand, I thought she overrated. Mrs. Hall make Hungary a magical place. A place that I want to visit now after reading this book.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2012
The Book of Summers is a story about Beth Lowe. She receives a book containing photographs and mementos of her teenage summers in Hungary, which brings back many memories that had long been forgotten. The book explores these seven summers and the event which halted her annual visits to eastern Europe.

The book paints a beautiful picture of Hungary, although towards the beginning of the book I did feel maybe some parts were too descriptive and in some parts boring. I did enjoy the depths of the characters though, which were explored well.

I think my main problem with this story was that the earlier summers of her childhood were more detailed than the latter ones. But the later summers of teenage hormones, romance and resentment seemed to be over more quickly and I thought the extra details here would have been more interesting. I also thought the story ended quite abruptly, leaving the reading with questions; what happened next?!

Overall, it was a nice book and an easy read, but really nothing much happened. I think an extra hundred pages would have benefited the story more.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A MUST read! Erzsi has a Hungarian mother and an English father. Her parents separated after a family vacation to her mother's home -- So every summer Erzsi goes and visits.

This book goes back and forth from the present when Erzsi is a grown woman to every summer what happened to bring them to the present dilemma. You can tell there is a dilemma, because when her dad comes to visit and he brings a parcel from her mother, Marika's boyfriend, things don't go so well.

This Book of Summers that Marika had made for Erzsi brings it all back for her. You will fall in love with the language, with Erzsi -- when I tried to go to bed, I was thinking about being in the last year, the year before the big event, whatever might have happened and I couldn't wait to get up the next morning and find out.

When an author writes like this, this is what readers delight in. She made a world for us -- don't be sorry and not read this one! If you read ONE book in 2012, READ THIS ONE. You won't be sorry I promise. I loved this book, I wish it didn't end so soon!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Emylia Hall's debut novel The Book of Summers is a moving and vibrant story about Beth Lowe's magical summers in Hungary. Following her parents' separation, Beth lives full time with her father, David, in Devon, but lives for her summers with her mother, Marika, in Hungary.

The Book of Summers is a story full of contrasts. Beth's parents are complete opposites. Marika is a free spirit whose enjoyment of life bursts off the pages. She is fun-loving and Beth's time in Hungary reflects Marika's Bohemian and artist lifestyle. Beth's lazy summer days are full of adventure where she eagerly explores the Hungarian countryside. Beth readily identifies with Marika and embraces her Hungarian heritage.

In sharp contrast, Beth's life in Devon with David is quiet and subdued. David is a schoolteacher who is quite introverted and rather melancholy. While Beth occasionally challenges Marika's authority, she easily acquiesces to her father's wishes. As she enters her teen years, her father withdraws farther and farther from her, leaving Beth feeling lost and lonely in their too silent household.

The last summer that Beth spends with Marika is traumatic and forever changes Beth's life and her relationships with both David and Marika. The events that transpire force Beth to question her very identity. Her sense of betrayal causes her to turn her back on the people who matter most to her.

The Book of Summers is a richly detailed novel that transports the reader back and forth in time and between England and Hungary. Emylia Hall's descriptive writing style brings the characters and various settings vividly to life. The storyline is fresh and quite original. The reason for Beth's estrangement from Marika was unexpected and rather shocking. The ending is bittersweet yet hopeful and the epilogue is absolutely perfect.

A novel with depth and emotion that I highly recommend.

Review copy obtained from publisher through NetGalley.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on June 2, 2012
Emylia Hall's tale ,of a young girl as she 'summers' in Hungary with her mother every year after her parents break up, rang a lot of bells with me. So much of it was familiar and could have related to my childhood - I too 'summered' each year in Budapest as my father is from there and the authors settings were vivid and evocative of all things Hungarian.

Erzsébet fails to adapt to her motherless life in Devon, with her reserved father, finding it drab and conservative and lives for her few weeks each year in Hungary with her exotic mother Marika and her artist lover. Everything is more colourful and vibrant during those visits, the places, people and relationships.

15 years later, Beth (her new persona) long estranged from her mother receives a 'Book of Summers' - a photo album of her mother's devoted purely to those few days each year. Beth recalls all the highs and lows of those sun scorched liberating holidays, her first unforgotten romance and ultimately the devastating last summer when family secrets were exposed.

I enjoyed this book a lot, not least for the memories that it brought back for me. Although life there was only glimpsed at and through rose tinted glasses it seems inevitable that this would be the case as Erzsébet was young and only dipped into Hungarian life - real life there would not have been so carefree, a reality she never had to face.
The author writes very descriptively, occasionally a bit too much for my tastes but overall an unusual coming of age story with an interesting background.

Thanks to NetGalley for making this available to me.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
A Heart Bent Out of Shape
A Heart Bent Out of Shape by Emylia Hall (Paperback - March 1, 2013)

The Status of All Things: A Novel
The Status of All Things: A Novel by Liz Fenton (Paperback - June 2, 2015)
$8.92

The Nightingale
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (Hardcover - February 3, 2015)
$16.13
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.