Review: The Girl from Summer Hill

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Girl from Summer HillThe Girl from Summer Hill (Summer Hill, #1) by Jude Deveraux
Series: Summer Hill #1
Published by Ballantine Books on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384

“There was a naked man on Casey’s back porch. She would have called the police or, at the very least, screamed if he hadn’t been so damned beautiful.”

FINAL DECISION: The funny and poignant drama of a cast of townspeople who perform Pride and Prejudice and live a version of it as well, THE GIRL FROM SUMMER HILL updates the story enough to be interesting while keeping the essential elements of Jane Austin’s timeless story.

THE STORY: Casey Reddick was a successful chef who allowed her career to take precedence over her love life.  After a failed relationship, Casey decided to take a break, spend time in Summer Hill and decide what to do with her life.  Unexpectedly she ends up being Elizabeth in a local production of Pride and Prejudice. Darcy is played by Tate Landers, a Hollywood star, who winds up in the production as well.  Tate has a rough, prideful exterior which ruffles Casey.  The two start off on the wrong foot and their romance is played out through the play itself which mirrors their romantic journey.

OPINION: This is an enjoyable light romance.  For me, the best part was the similarities and differences from Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice.  The story explicitly embraces its homage to Pride and Prejudice which makes the twists clever and funny.  It also allowed me to accept reactions that might otherwise annoy me such as Casey’s willingness to accept stories which paint Tate as a bad guy. In this reimagining of P&P, I am willing to forgive story twists which also annoyed me in P&P.  (FYI: I’m not really a fan of Austin’s P&P but I liked the romance between Elizabeth and Darcy).

One difference for me what that I liked Tate a lot more than I liked Darcy.  Tate is incredibly sweet which is typified by his incredibly lovely relationship with his niece.  I liked him so well that it made up for my meh feelings toward Casey until the middle of the book.

One thing I always love about Deveraux’s books is the great sense of place and community. This book is especially sweet because of the multilayed storytelling techniques — play, P&P and the actual events in this novel.  This sense of being in the play is especially emphasized by the chapter divisions which reflect the scene divisions in the play.

Adventurous fans of Pride and Prejudice should be tempted by this modern adaptation which respects Austin’s vision while providing enough contrast to provide modernity and creative contrast.

WORTH MENTIONING: This story actually has several secondary romances which mirror those in Pride and Prejudice — but also some surprises.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE GIRL FROM SUMMER HILL is the first book in the Summer Hill series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.