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The Days of Summer: A Novel Hardcover – June 6, 2006

77 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the years since her last romance, 2002's Sentimental Journey, Barnett has grown rusty; chronicling three generations of Banning men and Peyton women through the years, Barnett depends on busyness and happenstance to take the place of solid plot and genuine relationships. The two SoCal families first intertwine in 1957 when Rudy Banning kills himself; his artist wife, Rachel; and the rock star Jimmy Peyton in a car accident. The Bannings leave behind two preteen sons, who go into the care of wealthy, demanding patriarch Victor Banning. Jud, the elder son, goes into the family business while Cale, a reckless skirt chaser, takes a winding path to med school. Improbably, Cale meets Jimmy Peyton's daughter, Laurel, on a beach in 1970, but Laurel also catches Jud's eye and soon comes between them. A growing pile of plot-propelling coincidences stretch believability: Laurel's grandmother unknowingly purchases some of the late Rachel's art; years later, Laurel's grown daughter wins a design contract with Cale's son; and everyone hides secrets. It's pure soap opera, buttressed only by Barnett's stock observations ("[S]ilence between people said more than words ever could"), but it may suit readers who like their heroes attractive and their endings happy. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

One night in 1957, two cars collide, and the repercussions of the fatal accident form a compelling tale. Orphaned brothers Jud and Cale are raised by their grandfather, Victor Banning, a ruthless corporate titan. Aspiring musician Jimmy Peyton leaves behind gold records and a four-year-old daughter, Laurel, who will be raised by his distraught wife and domineering mother. Years later the three survivors meet after Laurel, a precocious teenager who dreams of becoming a chef, has moved to Catalina, California. Laurel is initially smitten with Jud but then falls in love with his younger brother, Cale. Their long-brewing sibling rivalry erupts as they each fight for the love of lonely Laurel. Barnett delivers a well-written novel filled with enough emotion, passion, and drama to please Danielle Steel fans. Patty Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Atria; First Edition edition (June 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671035355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671035358
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,390,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am a native Californian, a baby boomer who grew up in a very idyllic place at a very idyllic time--on the coast of Southern California in the 60's, although I spent many childhood summers before that on my grandparents' farm in Texas.

So I'm a West Coast girl raised by Southern parents, who grew up in a place where you spent your free time playing volleyball on the beach and weekends dancing to local bands like Beach Boys and the Righteous Brothers.

My husband and I met in high school, and I never knew I wanted to be a writer until I was in my thirties and back in college again. I had been an art major the first time around--it was the 60's--quit to make some kind of mark in the world, but I got married instead.

My love of history and reading and art all came together for me when I quit school again, after working toward my history degree and then becoming a mother--something we were told couldn't happen. (The child not the degree.) So with the miracle gift of my daughter, came a new career for me.

I knew then I wanted to write a book, had an idea and more importantly a vision of the kind of stories I wanted to tell. I told myself I could always go back to school.

Funny thing the way life works. Almost two years to the day I quit school, I sold my first book on 50 pages to Pocket Books, a division of Simon and Schuster. That was over 22 years ago and many books later.

So the road I traveled to become an author had many twists and turns, joys and disappointments. Yet I'm doing something I really love. In so many ways I'm a very lucky woman.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Janet on August 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This story is heavy and emotional and I suggest setting aside as much time as you can in one sitting to read it through, because it takes you through a dark, sad, and depressing tunnel until it comes out on the other end to a happier ending. I stopped 2/3 of the way through and was dragged down with it, until I could pick it up later to finish it. It is worth the read, as overwrought as it is. Almost poetic in the writing. It is sure to stay with me for awhile as did Sentimental Journey (which was a better story). I miss Barnett's lighter writing, though. I will have to follow this up with a book that is light, frothy, and happy!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Melissa on December 17, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
As in any multigenerational family drama, there is a large cast of characters in this beach read by Jill Barnett. It all begins with a car crash that destroys two families. In 1957, Rudy Banning and his wife Rachel are fighting when they crash into the car with rising rock star Jimmy Peyton inside. Jimmy's daughter, Laurel, and his wife, Kathryn, go to live with Jimmy's mother, Julia. Meanwhile, Victor Banning, oil magnate, takes in his grandchildren, Cale and Jud.

The book then moves onto 1970. The kids have grown up, some better than others. On the beautiful island of Catalina, Laurel runs into Jud, neither knowing their history. While the sparks fly between them, it's Jud's brother Cale that Laurel falls for.

The Days of Summer is a light read, and the plot is generally readable. The writing is a bit overdone, with long descriptions of the scenery and more pages delving into the psyches of the characters than is really necessary. The characters are a combination of interesting and annoying. But overall, it's a fun read if you are looking for something light to take with you on the plane or to the beach.

Niki Lee
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sunkissd1 on August 17, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this book, however it did take me a little time in the beginning to get into it. Initially, keeping the characters straight was unusually challenging for me as some of the names and nicknames were too similar. I think you would definitely classify this as a modern romance leaving behind the sappiness of the Harlequin genre.

The storyline is smooth, however the events that unfold, with the exception of one, are not really in any surprise and more likely predictable. Also, I was less than thrilled by the ending. In fact, I was a bit confused by it.

If you like the writing style of Kristin Hannah, another Seattle/Pacific NW writer, you will like this. If you're a Seattle native you will enjoy the local references.

A good read, not the best, not the worst. There are some books where I read one and love it so much, I read everything I can get my hands on by that author ie: Maeve Binchy, Jane Green, Tony Parsons, Ann Brashares (The Last Summer of You and Me), Lisa Jewell, Carly Alexander (Ghosts of Boyfriends Past - a holiday season "must read"), Rona Jaffe, etc. This is not one of them yet. I think with a little more experience and practice, Jill Barnett has the potential to be a strong writer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By PAW on August 12, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've only read a few Jill Barnett books and I like her stories. The firsrt few chapters giving the background info on Jud and Cale kept your interest and it helped you to undertstand their world. Laurels' background wasn't quite as interesting but I guess the background was necessary for the understanding of her part of the story to be told. I laughed at the first meeting of Jud and Laurel and thought they meshed well together, but when she later met Cale it was a bit more touching and romantic. There summer was realistic enough to believe that it could have happened to anyone and therefore kept you reading to see what happened next. The downfall was that after the summer the story then jumped ahead 30 years and though it was necessary to see and understand what happened to each of them in that time and the path their lives took. It makes you think about yourself, your life, the choices we made or didn't make and "if only we could all go back and do some things differently". I would have liked to see Laurel, Jud and Cale to have all come together again sooner than the 30 year span and have more of thier lives together to live. Overall I would read this story again and recommend it to other to read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By UpperDown TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 17, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not an altogether bad read, but very much a generational soap opera. Three generations of a family of fabulously beautiful and talented women all connected in different ways to three generations of a family of fabulously handsome and talented men.

The story is more than just a little bit far-fetched, and the Kindle edition is full of annoying grammatical errors and missing punctuation (mostly periods).

Glad it was a Kindle freebie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ravenous Reader on July 10, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked up this book when it was a freebie for my Kindle. The Days of Summer is set in Southern California and spans three generations of women and how their lives are touched by one family. It's a dark read, but a quick one. I fell in love with all of the characters, and found myself touched by the turmoil they each had.
While the book is slightly predictable (which doesn't bother me that much), you still have some hold your breath and have to read just one more chapter moments.
If you are looking for a quick, summer, beach read, this is definitely a great beach bag stuffer.
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