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That Summer Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 2003
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Anne Foster, a successful equine veterinarian, returns home to bury her father and is immediately drawn into the re-opening of a ten-year-old scandal centering on her childhood friend Liam. Told in a chatty first-person style, with flashbacks to the summer when young, beautiful, rich, and spoiled Leslie Bartholomew disappeared, Wolf's plot revolves around contemporary Virginia horse society: the races, the parties, and the realities of breeding and training champions. Liam, son of a senator and the manager of his father's Wellington Farm, was one of the three young men initially suspected of Leslie's murder. Now he owns a potential Triple Crown winner named Someday Soon, and Wolf skillfully combines the excitement of the racing season with the intrigue of society, politics, and a murder mystery. Fast-paced, with seething undercurrents of passion, ambition, and grief, and an enigmatic ending that may presage a series in the making, Wolf's latest exemplifies the popular new breed of cozy romantic suspense. Lynne Welch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"Joan Wolf never fails to deliver the best."
-- Nora Roberts --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
for slutty bondage, or skanky vampires - you won't be interested in her writing - but if you are looking for a good read, that
will make you sad to come to the end of the story because it is so good - then definitely ready ANY Joan Wolf book.
Anne had come back to Virginia for her father's funeral and to spend a month with her grieving mother. So what does the heroine spend her time doing? Accepting dates almost every night to make Liam, the hero and the man she has loved since the age of six, jealous. She even dates one suitor, a local cop, to learn particulars (to help Liam, of course) about the murder that happened ten years before. A murder in which Liam and his cousin were prime suspects - even though the body wasn't found at the time. A young, beautiful heiress disappeared the same night as a bloody baseball bat - a bat belonging to Liam - was found in the summerhouse of the hero's family's horse farm. The body conveniently turns up during Anne's month long visit - ten years later.
THAT SUMMER didn't work for me on several levels. One, the romance is plain bland. There is no real intensity between the hero and the heroine. Anne is too busy scheming to gain Liam's attention for the couple to spend any quality time together throughout most of the book. Two, the murder is too shadowy to really be interesting. This mystery is relegated to the back burner through most of the story and solved too hurriedly toward the end of the book. Finally, the horse racing aspect of the story was also glossed over. None of the atmosphere surrounding, say, the Kentucky Derby was evident in That Summer, partially because of Ms. Wolf's use of first person point of view. Anne was too obsessed with Liam to take note of or to describe details of the Derby's pageantry.
THAT SUMMER was hampered by that first person point of view. I personally have never liked first person narrative because I find it restrictive to secondary characters. My sentiment is evident in the one-dimensional, shadowy characters peopling THAT SUMMER. Liam can do little more than scowl when Anne purposely mentions her many dates to him. Oh, and he whines really well, too.
My biggest grip with this story though is Anne. She is a shallow, selfish, obsessive character who tramples over other character's feelings without much thought. She convinces other characters to lie to the police about the murder ten years before. She knows Liam couldn't have murdered anyone. Why? Well, just because. She has the same sentiment about his cousin - another suspect. And then in the next breath is ready to throw the cousin to the wolves to save Liam. Not exactly the sort of character I'd want to narrate a story. This Wolf piece doesn't flow well because Anne tends to meander. For instance, while she is working with horses, she gives the reader rather lengthy instructions on how to train horses.
reviewer, Romance Reader At Heart
Anne Foster has come home for her father's funeral, a home she has avoided for ten years. Her father was the highly successful trainer of Wellington Farms' colts when he died suddenly of a heart attack. Anne's stated reason for taking a month's leave from her veterinary practice was to help her grieving mother, but she also hoped that spending a month around Senator Wellington's son, Liam, would exorcise Liam from her heart.
Anne first met Liam when she was six and he was eight, when her father took the Wellington Farms' job. They grew up together, with Anne loving Liam and Liam regarding her as a little sister. Now that they are 26 and 28, Liam still thinks of Anne as his little sister, but Anne's feelings for Liam haven't been sisterly for a long time. She is taking this opportunity to either get over him or seduce him.
Woven skillfully into Anne and Liam's romance are two more stories: the story of Wellington Farms' promising three-year-old thoroughbred, Someday Soon, and the story of an old crime in which Liam is implicated.
All of this is told from Anne's point-of-view, I am happy to say. There are few romance authors writing from the first person point-of-view - Patricia Gaffney does come to mind - and aside from Ms. Gaffney, I know of none other doing it as well as Ms. Wolf. Anne's distintive voice adds much to a well-told tale.
Welcome back, Ms. Wolf!
When Anne sees Liam Wellington of Wellington Farms horse racing family, she realizes that she still loves him, but he still considers her his "little Sister". Anne reflects back one decade to the incident that ended everyone's youth: the vanishing and probable murder of Leslie Bartholomew whose body was never found. She wonders who killed the girl. Was it her beloved, his cousin, or their friend? Liam soon realizes that he loves Anne too, not as his sister, but as someone he wants as his wife even while the truth slowly surfaces that point towards him as the culprit who murdered Leslie.
Though the who-done-it takes a back seat for much of the novel, readers will appreciate this warm contemporary romantic suspense due to an engaging cast. Anne is a delightful lead female protagonist who struggles with conflicting feelings about her beloved, as she wants to believe he could not have committed homicide, yet the evidence makes him the likely suspect. The rest of the secondary characters augment Anne's question of who is the killer, but like the heroine they will have to wait until Joan Wolf reveals the killer's identity.