In 1993, Mallory Blessing inherits a home, on Nantucket, from a beloved aunt. Her older brother wants to host a guys weekend at the house but that results in all the guys leaving except one, Jake. Jake and Mallory spend the rest of Labor Day weekend alone and agree to be “same time, next year’ lovers with one another. This goes on for the next, you guessed it, 28 Summers.
Flashforward to the spring of 2020. Mallory is terminally ill and asks her son to call a phone number that is in a hidden envelope. The number belongs to Jake McCloud who is married to the woman that is likely to be the next president of the United States. The son thinks this must be some kind of mistake, but little does he know of the secret life that his mother has been having.
The characters were the highlight of this but also the downfall as well. Is that not strange? They were so realistic and developed throughout the novel. I mean, hopefully they would be as we did experience the majority of their lives alongside them. Mallory is obviously the main character here, even ahead of Jake. This is made clear towards the last quarter as we get less and less Jake and get ‘chapters’ at his wife’s perspective instead of his. I don’t think this is a mad thing as we get to see both women and how different they are from each other, but I think we still should have had more Jake towards the end. Now, here is why they were the downfall. It might just be because cheating frustrates me, I just don’t get why these two could not get together. Later, in the more recent years it makes sense as Ursula, Jake’s wife is a famous politician, but before that when they’re all young and out of college. Why could they not just start a relationship? I think it is really immature from both our main leads.
Elin Hilderbrand does a great job at making the reader visualize Nantucket. I have never been, but I did not have a hard time at all picturing the little beach cottage and then the island in my head. I also liked how the majority of the characters were from Baltimore as that is an important place to me. Shoutout to the University of South Carolina representation as well!
Early on the writing felt as though we were reading a gossip column but later, I felt as though it got more like a novel, more personal. Again, Hilderbrand is a descriptive writer, but she does not go on and on and I really appreciate that. This was fast paced even though this is over four hundred pages, which is huge for a romance novel! I was shocked how fast it went by, sometimes I did not believe that I had read eighty pages. Quick and fun read.
I think that I gave enough of my thoughts on the plot in the character category. I just don’t understand why this was considered a forbidden romance at the start. I feel like if they really did truly love each other as much as they seemed to, then they would just come clean and become a couple. It just really bothered me. I do not know if it was pride of immaturity that they would not do it, who knows. I do like that we went through this much time with the characters as most romance books last only a week or month but here, we went through three decades, pretty amazing.
I did enjoy this read. The characters did annoy me at times but overall, they were well written, and I can see that sometimes just committing to someone is hard for some people. I like that we did get both women’s perspectives to see what Jake was trying to choose between. I don’t think these characters were likeable, but they were real. Elin Hilderbrand can paint a beautiful setting and really immerse you into it. The writing was fast, but you never truly felt like anything was left out. I don’t think this needed to be a forbidden romance but then it wouldn’t be as exciting, would it be?
4.5 out of 5 stars.