The Days of Summer

Author: Jill Barnett

Publisher: Atria

Release Date: June 6, 2006

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5

Format: PRINT

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In 1957, Rudy Banning arrived drunk at his wife’s art showing. Despite their privileged lifestyle and Rachel’s fame as an artist it’s not a match made in heaven. Enraged by Rachel’s trying to get him out of the public eye while intoxicated, Rudy stumbles out to his car. In an attempt to stop him, Rachel climbs into the car and attempts to take the keys but he’s belligerent and drives at a breakneck speed through the Los Angeles streets. Rudy’s drunk driving caused the fiery crash killing both himself and his wife as well as up and coming singing star, Jimmy Peyton.

After the accident, the Peyton’s young children, Cale and Jud are sent to live with Rudy’s father, Victor. They’d never met this cold, overbearing grandfather who seems to delight in pitting them against each other. Jimmy’s widow, Katherine, and their daughter, Laurel, move in with Jimmy’s mother, Julia. She’s a controlling, possessive woman who lived her life for Jimmy and now that he’s died she’s transferred that obsession to Jimmy and Katherine's daughter as well as trying to keep any memories of Jimmy in the forefront of everyone’s mind.

By 1970, Katherine and Laurel moved to Santa Catalina Island where Jud and Cale meet Laurel purely by accident. None of them are aware of the tragedy that binds them together. Laurel begins dating Cale but Victor’s meddling soon comes between them, then Lauren develops feelings for Jud. The brother’s go back into competitor mode and Laurel is finally told the truth about the history between the Bannings and Peytons. Is there any way to resolve the pain and anger between these two families?

Jill Barnett’s THE DAYS OF SUMMER spans over thirty years of history among the three generations of Peyton women and Banning men. Hurt, anger, jealousy, devotion, and love are all amplified by the raw emotion that can be felt throughout this entire book. What truly fascinated me with this story is the obsession that Victor carries for obtaining all of Rachel’s artwork at any price, and the fact that Katherine has a painting but out of spite chooses not to sell. I loved the little secrets that slip out at different stages while you’re reading. With each secret revealed you feel like you understand a little more about the characters. Nobody’s perfect, and hindsight is 20/20. We all have things we wish we could have done differently and I adore that you get the chance to see not just how Laurel, Jud, and Cale all turn out but how the next generation turn out as well and some of the conflicts they face. This is a wonderfully poignant story that is the perfect summertime read. It’s full of drama and characters that readers will adore.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Chrissy Dionne

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