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A Summer In Europe Paperback – December 1, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"How I wish I were on this European tour with Marilyn Brant's winsome, wonderful characters. I loved every minute of this delightful novel, from the breathtaking sights to the deliciously described food to the thrilling new experiences."
--Melissa Senate, bestselling author of The Love Goddess' Cooking School

"A Summer in Europe is Brant's best book yet. A thinking woman's love story, it swept me away to breathtaking places with a cast of endearing characters I won't soon forget. Bravissima!"
--Susan McBride, author of Little Black Dress

"Marilyn Brant has done it again: she has crafted a warm and wise novel filled with characters that live on in your imagination. Make sure your passport is in order. After reading A Summer in Europe you'll want to book your flight immediately!"
--Laura Moore, author of Remember Me

"Brant's newest...distinguishes itself with a charismatic leading man and very funny supporting cast, especially the wonderful elderly characters with their resonant message about living life to the fullest."
--Publishers Weekly

"Brant's charming and engaging tale will allow readers to immerse themselves in the magic and beauty of Europe along with the characters. Although the descriptions of the scenery are amazing, the development of the characters and their unique personalities are what really make this novel shine. What an enjoyable escape!"
--Romantic Times

From the Author

**A SUMMER IN EUROPE is a Literary Guild and Rhapsody Book Club Featured Alternate Selection for December 2011!**
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (December 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758261519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758261519
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,967,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A Summer in Europe", by Marilyn Brant, is a beautifully written story of a young woman's self-renaissance. As Gwendolyn Reese turns thirty and contemplates her life experiences, she considers the orderly manner in which she goes through each day to be her safety net. Her mother's sudden death at age forty had left Gwen shaken and in need of the pedestrian reliability of a structured existence. With her mother's passing, Gwen assumed the responsibility of caring for her father and two younger brothers. Later, she finds some sense of satisfaction in her teaching career, and her love of music is a source of pleasure. Expecting her boyfriend, Richard, to propose, she is taken aback when he postpones making the commitment. Gwen's lively Aunt Bea, sister of Gwen's late mother, offers her a chance of a lifetime--to join her and the members of her S&M Club for a summer-long tour of Europe. "S&M" stands for sudoku and mahjongg, and Aunt Bea and her friends are die-hard devotees of the games. At first, Gwen feels awkward and out-of-place, intimidated by the timeless culture of her surroundings and the intellect and sophistication of some of the fellow travelers she meets along the way. However, as time passes, Gwen begins to absorb the sights and sounds and tastes and textures of each place that they visit. The more she takes in, the lighter she begins to feel, shedding the repression of her inhibitions. Her attention is captured and held by two charming and intelligent brothers, Emerson and Thoreau, whose main goal in life seems to be one-upping each other at every opportunity. It is Emerson to whom she is most drawn, and when he makes it clear that he returns her interest, her emotions take an unexpected turn.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I've thoroughly enjoyed all of Brant's books, but this is my favorite. I got to travel through Europe vicariously with Gwen, the main character, seeing the sights, eating the food, and interacting with her aunt and her aunt's S&M friends (Sudoku and Mah-jongg). They're colorful characters, and Gwen is the onlooker, taking everything in but not giving herself fully to life. The book is about Gwen's transformation, and part of this comes about because of a man who's the most colorful character in the book.

But what I loved most about the book is Brant's prose. Her first book was According to Jane, in which the main character has Jane Austen giving her advice. Perhaps Brant channeled a bit of Jane herself. Her prose is Austen-like - observing, witty and charming - making this a joy to read.
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Format: Paperback
Her two younger brothers called respectively from Atlanta and Seattle to wish the old lady Gwendolyn Reese a happy thirtieth birthday. She expects at lunch, her boyfriend Richard to propose, but when he does not she is very disappointed. Later that day, she joins her aunt for dinner with Bea's S&M club. Bea gifts her niece with a month long vacation in Europe with her club to get her relative out of a rut. Gwen is unsure thirty days playing Sudoku and mah-jongg will be fun, but goes on the trip figuring she can delete from her to do list the great sites of London and the mainland.

Gwen meets the Edwards brothers, Thoreau and Emerson. The latter introduces her to the best of the continent, but though attracted to the charismatic sibling, Gwen has Richard back in Iowa overlooking the muddy Mississippi. However, Richard rushes to England with a plan to save his relationship.

The strong cast (including European locations) provides an engaging coming of age contemporary tale. Character driven, readers will feel they are on tour with the S&M club enjoying the sights and the antics of Thoreau and especially Emerson. With homage to Andrew Lloyd Webber, E. M. Forester, and physics; Marilyn Brant writes a wonderful tale of a woman who starts off chronologically as thirty, intellectually middle aged and experimentally a young teen.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Paperback
If you ever wanted to take a tour of Europe and just never made it, this is the book for you to replace that urge. Summer in Europe takes the reader for an insightful ride, along with Gwendolyn Reese and the other members of her Aunt Bea's Sudoko and Mahjongg Club. For Gwen's thirtieth birthday her aunt has arranged for Gwen to go on the tour of Europe with her. At first Gwen does not really want to spend her time with a bunch of crazy senior citizens but after she thinks about it she decides, why not. She did not get the engagement ring from her boyfriend Richard and she does not want to upset her perfectly organized life to spend it traipsing around Europe. After she thinks about it she throws caution to the wind and decides to go after all. There are others from England who join the tour, as they will be participating in the Sudoko and Mahjongg competitions. In this group from England, Gwen meets two brothers, Thoreau and Emerson Edwards. Gwen and Emerson spend a lot of time together sightseeing. At first there is just friendship but slowly Gwen realizes what she has back home is not necessarily what she wants in life. This story takes the reader from Italy, to wandering the Louvre and climbing the Eiffel Tower, to more sightseeing in London. I loved the book for the story but also for the descriptions of all the stops made along the tour. The way the author described each made me feel like I was there. I could tell that the author was well versed in Sudoko and Mahjongg and Europe. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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