I know Summer is over but give me a tropical drink and a summery novel any day of the year and I’ll be a happy camper. Today I’m excited to share my book review of Jenny Hale’s novel Summer by the Sea, in addition to sharing a fabulous interview with the author. Read on to learn a bit about Jenny and find out why I loved her novel!
Summer by the Sea by Jenny Hale
They say there’s always one summer that changes you.
For Faith the one summer she can’t forget is when she fell in love as a teenager – only for her sister, Casey, to steal her man. Now, at the request of her beloved ninety-year-old Grandmother, Faith has agreed to a family holiday – at their childhood beach house, where it all began.
Faith hasn’t seen her sister in years but is finally ready to forgive and forget, enjoy the sunshine and relive happy memories. What she’s not ready for is meeting Jake Buchanan – the owner of the beach house – or the long-forgotten feelings he ignites in her.
Can Faith overcome the hurt of the past, rekindle the close bond she had with Casey and make this summer THE ONE to remember?
One of the main themes of this novel is that being successful means different things for different people, and that’s okay. Summer by the Sea is a story filled with betrayal and selfishness but overwhelmingly of love and family. The novel touches upon heavy subjects of life and love and loss in a beautiful, well-written and heart-warming way. One of the most important messages throughout the novel is the idea that life isn’t about working. You have to find a happy balance and not live your life to prove something to others. At the end of the day, you have to make sure that you’re happy with your life and that always starts with living your life on your own terms, not someone else’s.
Another important theme in the story is holding on to memories. Although we can look back on good memories whenever we want, life continues to move forward, whether we want it to or not. With the love and support of your family, you are strong and resilient and can get past whatever bad times come your way. The worst feeling you can carry isn’t sadness, it’s regret. Regret at lost opportunities and waiting until it’s too late. You have to take chances or else you’ll miss out on the great things in life. Even if things go wrong, you’ll figure it out and at the end of the day, the people that matter will be there for you.
Summer by the Sea was an emotionally deep novel, but written in a fun and thoughtful way. Hale’s prose and writing style is beautiful, thoughtful and fun. This is the perfect novel to sink into when you feel like taking a vacation and getting away from it all. Jenny Hale never disappoints and never fails to deliver a fabulous, well-written, entertaining and thoughtful novel.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
About the Author – Jenny Hale
Author Bio: When I graduated college, one of my friends said, “Look out for this one; she’s going to be an author one day.” Despite being an avid reader and a natural storyteller, it wasn’t until that very moment that the idea of writing novels occurred to me.
Sometimes our friends can see the things that we can’t.
While I didn’t start straight away, that comment sowed a seed and several years, two children, and hundreds of thousands of words later, I completed a novel that I felt was worthy of publication. The result is Coming Home for Christmas, a heart-warming story about friends, family, and the magic of love at Christmas.
When I’m not writing, I’m a District Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages, a mother of two boys, and a wife to a very supportive husband.
Interview with the Author
- Would you like to start by introducing yourself?
Hi! Thank you for having me on your blog! I’m Jenny Hale, author of Summer by the Sea and other Women’s Fiction titles.
- Can you give us a brief overview of your latest novel and the inspiration behind it.
Summer by the Sea is about that one summer that changes everything. For Faith the one summer she can’t forget is when she fell in love as a teenager—only for her sister, Casey, to steal her man. Now, at the request of her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Faith has agreed to a family vacation—at their childhood beach house, where it all began.
Faith hasn’t seen her sister in years but is finally ready to forgive and forget, enjoy the sunshine, and relive happy memories. What she’s not ready for is meeting Jake Buchanan—the owner of the beach house—or the long-forgotten feelings he ignites in her.
The inspiration for this novel came from the setting. The Outer Banks is a set of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina where I’ve spent many family vacations. I enjoyed creating my characters in this familiar setting.
- How long did it take you to write Summer by the Sea? What is your writing process like?
It takes me about three months to write draft one and then we go to editing. I work full time as a teacher and I have two small children so my writing process is different every day. I usually set a goal of a certain number of words for the day and then it’s a mad scramble to get those words.
- Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
I’m working on my next Christmas novel. It’s about having dreams and the big question: Should we take a risk to chase our dreams or not? It’s about a nurse named Abbey Fuller who scores an interior decorating job. That job is at a million dollar mansion. And the mansion is owned by bachelor Nick Sinclair. In the story, not only does Abbey have to decide if taking the job is worth the risk, but she also learns that falling for Nick could be riskier. Especially when she has her young son and her ailing Gramps to think about…
[Jenny’s Christmas novel, Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses will be published next month, so don’t forget to check it out!]
- What kind of environment do you write in?
I write with dogs barking, children asking for snacks, the phone ringing, and neighborhood children knocking on my door. Sometimes I’ll get 200 words at one time, and sometimes I’ll only get 50, but at the end of the day, I usually reach my quota, and that’s all that matters. If I have silence (which rarely happens), I can get a week’s worth of words in three hours.
- Where is your favorite place in the world?
My favorite place in the world (besides home) is the UK! I haven’t had too many opportunities to travel, but of the opportunities I’ve had, that’s my favorite place.
- Did you always want to be a writer?
Actually, no. I didn’t even think about it until adulthood. I’ve always been a storyteller, but writing novels was something that came later in life.
- If you were given an offer to turn Summer by the Sea into a movie, who would you want to see playing the roles of Faith and Jake?
Jake: Dustin Milligan
Faith: Shenae Grimes
- What are the things you can’t live without in your wardrobe?
Flip-flops! I love them and will buy far more than necessary if given the opportunity.
- A few of your favorites:
Food? Crab cakes
Drink of choice? coffee
Vacation spot? White Stone, Virginia
Period in history? 1980s
- Either Or…
Dogs or Cats? Dogs
Red wine or white? White
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Summer or Winter? Both!
Sleep in or get up early? Get up early.
Apple or PC? Apple