The Secrets of Summer House

A gripping and unforgettable new read for summer 2022, perfect for fans of Louise Douglas

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Pub Date 21 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 27 Apr 2022

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Description

An emotional, atmospheric summer read about family secrets and loyalty from the author of Kindle bestseller A Bookshop Christmas.

The secrets of Summer House are about to come out at last...

1976. Rushing out of the University Library, undergraduate Alice Kenzie bumps straight into PhD student Tristan Somers. There begins a whirlwind romance, and Alice falls pregnant and gives birth to a baby girl. Then Tristan is killed in a car accident. Unable to cope, Alice takes her baby to Summer House, Tristan's family home in Suffolk, leaves her there and disappears.

2018. Olivia Somers has always been told that her mother died in the same accident as her father. But when she finds a bundle of old letters in Summer House, everything she ever believed about her mother is called into question. Can she find her – and even more importantly, forgive her?

Praise for Rachel Burton:
'Enticing and atmospheric... Packed with love and mystery that will keep you wanting more from the first page to the last' Lauren North, author of Safe at Home
'A wonderful escape... I adored the characters, the headiness of their first loves, and vulnerabilities as they hoped for their own happily-ever-afters' Jenny Ashcroft
'With her signature nostalgia, swoon-worthy hero and wistful setting, this is a romance to whisk you away any time of the year' Victoria Cooke

An emotional, atmospheric summer read about family secrets and loyalty from the author of Kindle bestseller A Bookshop Christmas.

The secrets of Summer House are about to come out at last...

1976....


Available Editions

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ISBN 9781801100588
PRICE US$1.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 91 members


Featured Reviews

Thanks to netgalley for a copy in return for my own views on the book.
Really quit a touching tale to suddenly find your life has been not quite what you actually thought must be extremely difficult can highly recommend.

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All what a woman believed was her life changes suddenly upon the death of her grandmother. For years she has believed that both her parents had died in a car accident when she was an infant.. Untold stories become revealed, family and friends she never knew become a part of her life, Entertaining story that kept me reading all afternoon on a cold snowy day. Unfortunately, my library does not carry any of this author's books, I will suggest that this book should be considered.

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Olivia Somers grew up believing both her parents died an a car crash, but as an adult, she stumbles across a stash of letters that tell a very different story. Chronicling the story of how Alice and Tristan met in 1976 at college, their heady romance, Alice’s pregnancy and then Tristan’s death in the car accident that Olivia believed killed both her mother and father. Left alone, Alice takes her baby daughter to Tristan’s parents at the Summer House and then promptly disappears. Now, years later, Olivia is determined to discover the truth about what really happened to her mother all those years ago. A beautifully written story that captures a sense of place of vividly, I felt like I was in the Summer House

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Thank you to Head of Zeus, Aria and Net Galley for the chance to read and review this book. The opinions expressed are my own.

Wow! I loved this book! This is my first read by Rachel Burton, but I would like to read more. This story hooked me right from the beginning with lots of memorable characters. I liked the dual timeline and the way the author wove them together. I also thought the cover of the book was beautiful! This was just a great, heartwarming story!

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What a delightful tale to read. As a Brit living in Virginia I can certainly relate to the stifling heat of summer that the characters lived through during the summers of 1976 and 2003 (remembered that one,). The settings were close to home for me and I loved reading about Cambridge and Suffolk - loved the shoutout to Kentwell Hall later in the book.
Burton doesn’t shy away from the tough topics and tackled grief, mental health and abandonment extremely well. Olivia was a little timid for me but I suppose she had led a very sheltered life at Summer House and was almost academically institutionalized at Cambridge University as a librarian. I think I preferred the best friends of both main characters - Stella and Tash. Both feisty, and loyal and very capable of getting stuff done. My kind of ladies,
This is the perfect book to read under a beautiful old tree, on a lazy summer day with a generous glass of G&T.
Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

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The quality of the writing made this dual timeline novel stand out from the crowd, transporting the reader to a series of long, hot summers and a friendship group that contains too many secrets. A gentle, optimistic read

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Unusual story about life unravelling after the death of her gran. Olivia finds out a few things that changes everything. A good story where you really want Olivia to find out the truth. Engaging and enjoying. Thank you netgalley for the advance copy.

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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher. I have really enjoyed all this authors books and this was one of the best. Great storyline, great characters and set in a lovely location. Would recommend to others.

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When Olivia’s grandmother passes it seems to be a closing chapter on her family and Summer House but when she’s left with photos of her parent’s wedding day, the story of her childhood unravels when it’s discovered her mother isn’t actually dead.

Wow, this novel had me hooked right from the beginning. With alternating perspectives of Alice when everything begins and Olivia desperately trying to piece together the puzzle of her mother disappearing, you really see both sides. Summer House is filled with gentle romance, heartbreak, grief, family, and history. You root for Olivia to find her answers and fight for her own marriage. You mourn with Alice losing the love of her life and making a grief-stricken decision she thinks to be best for her child. The complexity of the characters is amazing and I flew through this book wanting to know everything. I sat in shock as the book ended, not wanting it to be done.

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Thanks to Head of Zeus, Aria and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for a review.

After the death of her beloved grandmother Olivia suddenly finds herself to be not the person she thought she was. Does the Summer House hold the key? Best read it to find out!

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Beautifully written book by Rachel Burton. I’ve read some of her stories, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Olivia’s grandmother dies, and with it the family history. Except - there was a photo of what is believed to be Olivia’s parents, who supposedly died when she was young. Olivia does a deep dig into a search of the truth, and unravels quite a mystery as to exactly what happened, and why she was lied to. The dual timeline works very well here. Subjects of betrayal, trust, and mental health are examined during the search. Highly recommend this lovely story.
Thank you to Netgalley, Ms. Burton, and publishers Head of Zeus, Aria, for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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This was a lovely read, gentle and calming. The dual time line was good bringing together present and past seamlessly. The writing transported you to all the places and you felt you were part of Summer House. The characters were interesting and memorable. I will look at other books by Rachel in the future.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers Head of Zeus, Aria for an Arc in exchange for an honest opinion

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A chance remark at a birthday party, and some long hidden photographs is all it takes for everything Olivia believed about her life to be thrown into question. But as pieces of the jigsaw slot into place, does she really want to know the answer. Once you know, you can never un-know...

This author appears to have a love of long, hot British summers (yes, there have been some!) and here she manages to entwine two of the most memorable in this beautiful tale of love, grief, loss and discovery. Ordinarily I'm not a fan of dual timelines as it can be hard to know where you are, but the two stories are handled so deftly and written so much in sync, that you never get lost or confused - merely kept on tenterhooks!

Get yourself a long, cold drink (or a tall, hot one depending on your weather) and escape to heady heat of 1976 and 2018 and find out what secrets are hidden at Summer House.

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The Secrets of Summer House was definitely an emotional read for me that kept me reading from the beginning. Without giving too much away of the story's plot, Olivia discovers letters and news that changes her life forever. She had always been told both of her parents passed away in a tragic car accident, but now she is left questioning everything she has ever known. Olivia's story follows how she puts all the puzzle pieces together to solve this family mystery for her past. We also follow the story of Alice in 1976 and her romance and journey with Tristan.

I really liked reading the two different timelines and perspectives in the book. Both stories were compelling and the character's stories were complex. The story does dive into many deeper topics - grief, mental health, family, and relationships. Summer House was also a fun setting for this book, as there was so much history to the house. Though I enjoyed this book, I felt it was a fast read and it wrapped up a little bit quickly for me and wish I had some more from the ending.

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after alice's husband dies in a car wreck she takes their baby daughter to summer house her husbands family home, and leaves the baby. olivia, belives her mother was killed in the car wreck with her father, years later olivia comes across letters that led her to believe her that is not the case

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Beautifully written dual timeline book (that was easy to follow) packed with intrigue & feeling.
When Olivia's grandmother dies she returns to the large manor house that she had spent her childhood in and it starts to reveal its secrets. Unsettling revelations from Olivia's husband's father regarding her parents emerge and so much is thrown in to question.
Through present day events and flashbacks to her mother's time in Cambridge, you start to be able to piece together a timeline of passion, love, tragedy and grief, and a lifetime of secrets and struggles are revealed.
There were many well-crafted characters in this book and with a hint of the Gothic with the locked rooms, rose garden and woods of Summer House, as well as the sweltering summer heatwave, I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in this story.

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I thought this was a beautifully written story and was much more emotive than i expected with some truly heartwrenching moments within the book. I really liked the plotline and I found the characters relatable and likeable. I really enjoyed it.

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Rachel Burton does an amazing job of blending together the two storylines of Olivia and Alice. Both are so interesting on their own they could have been their own book. Alice's is a little tough to read because you know her romance is not going to have the happy ending that we always want for our characters. I loved watching Alice and Tristan's love story unfold. Her struggles after losing Tristan break your heart because you can understand why she felt so overwhelmed and useless as a mother. I really liked Olivia and how level-headed she remained about everything. She has moments of feeling betrayed, lied to, abandoned, and poorly treated but she thinks things through before reacting. I also really liked that the author didn't have a storyline that her husband was unfaithful. It just seems like so many books these days think that all marriages with stresses and troubles result in infidelity - the fact that Olivia and Jacob's marriage wasn't perfect but they (mostly him with all of his traveling) never even looked at someone that way was actually quite refreshing. And the fact that they actually talked about what was wrong was something you don't get to see in a look of stories. I loved how supportive each of the couples in the story were - those are the types of relationships we should all strive for.

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I wasn’t fully sure what to expect when I picked this up but I’ve always heard good things about Rachel’s books and I can now see why.

This is written in a dual time perspective, split between the current day and 1976. With this I feel like you get drawn into the story more as you are uncovering the truth at the same time as the character. I really liked reading all of Alice’s chapters as they transported you back to another era where things were so different, mostly though I just loved how much she shone through the pages, you could tell just how happy Tristan made her and how happy they were together.

Olivia was raised by her grandparents after both of her parents died in a tragic car accident - or that’s what she’s always been told. When some photos are revealed a few days after Olivia’s gran dies from a stroke it seems that not everything she’s been told is the truth.

This book will have you hooked from the get go and you will want to find out the truth just as much as Olivia. It can get a bit emotional at times but there were also lots of light happy moments that made me smile giving the book a really nice balance. I have to say that I didn’t see the surprise at the end of the book coming again lol though - wow!

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This was truly a beautiful story told in alternating timelines. Through it we get to know Olivia’s story and the love story of her parents against the backdrop of the Summer House. The imagery is rich in this story and character driven. And once I really started this story, it was difficult to put down until I finished it.

Thank you to the Author, Publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read, review and give my honest opinion of a complimentary ARC.

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I wish to thank NetGalley and Head of Zeus, Aria Publishing for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book. I have voluntarily read and reviewed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This book is a real treasure to read. It is the story of secrets untold, of loves and losses and healing all in one. All of the characters were beautifully crafted and the reader becomes deeply involved with each and every one based on their lives and decisions made. There are no villains or finger pointing. The physical descriptions of Summer House and all the settings are so beautifully described that the reader feels very much a part of the story. This is a multi-generational journey and I totally loved it from page one until the very end when I closed it and sighed. I highly recommend this book and especially this author. I will look for more of her books.

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Great story that hooked me from the start.
This story is told between two time frames. But, the different perspectives lend themselves together to produce a story that flows smoothly. Olivia's Gran passes, and upon her death she received an envelope with pictures. Pictures that make her question everything she thought she knew about her past.
Loved the characters, flaws and all. Recommend this book, you will be glad you read it.
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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I absolutely adored this book, from start to finish! I love a story full of family secrets, old houses and mystery and this book has all three in spades. I liked the way the two stories, on set in the 1970’s and the other in 2018, wove together perfectly to tell the stories of Alice and Tristan, Olivia and Jacob. I couldn’t wait to find out what was going on, why lies had been told and how the story would end. Beautifully written, lovely characters and a story full of live, secrets and heartbreak. Wonderful.

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This was a highly entertaining book. The characters were very likeable and you wanted to find out what happened .This was my best read of the year and actually sorry that it ended .

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Like a lot of thing, life is not always what you planned it to be. Secrets are buried. Family can be toxic. This sad and wondrous tale highlights all these things. But resilience wins out with strength and hope.

Thank you Netgalley for this arc

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Gosh I loved this book. Told in chapters between a mother and daughter. True love played a big part. All the characters were interesting . Summer House sounded amazing. I loved it. The ending was perfect and it was the kind of story you thought about till you could read next. I went to bed early so I could finish.

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An emotional, atmospheric summer read about family secrets and loyalty. The storyline kept me glued to my Kindle through the whole book! I definitely recommend reading this book!

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Does understanding the past help us move forward with our future?

You’ll want to grab a cold drink before you start this one! It’s set in Cambridge during the long hot summer of 1976 and jumps ahead to 2003 and 2018. It’s a family mystery involving a long-kept secret and a bundle of old letters and centers around Summer House in rural Suffolk and Cambridge University Library.

Like the author, I often look at old homes and think about the voice of the past. If you are with me, you’ll often hear me say, “...if only those walls could talk…the secrets they’d share!” This was a special book about a fictitious estate, Tristan Somers’ family home, and the secrets held within its walls. It’s also about a girl making a difficult decision with few options.

In this atmospheric novel, author Rachel Burton explores grief, trust, mental health and abandonment. The characters are well-crafted and the struggles they work through and how they work through them are authentic. In fact, it’s rare to have a bookish relationship such as Olivia and Jacob’s and I applaud the author for taking this rarely trodden path. Well balanced emotionally with seamless dovetailed timelines between a mother and her daughter, this is a compelling read about the twists in one’s path and how we deal with them in order to move forward. You’ll be left reminded that judging without knowing the whole story is detrimental to both parties involved.

I was gifted this advance copy by Rachel Burton, Head of Zeus, Aria, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

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A romantic love story set in Cambridge, a house with a secret, a long lost mother and a story set over two timelines are a perfect combination for an emotional and engrossing read.
Olivia has always believed that both her parents tragically died together in an accident. It is only on the passing of her beloved grandmother that photographs, journals and a bundle of letters lead her to question her own upbringing and challenge everything she believed in. Taking her on a journey that spans the globe Olivia rediscovers herself and her family.
I enjoyed this book. It had a great story line and likeable characters. Perfect for a cosy evening.

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A really beautiful and atmospheric book. It is sweeping and stunning and absolutely gorgeous. Loved it.

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1976. Alice Kenzie a coal miner’s daughter, is an undergraduate at Cambridge University and she bumps into PhD student Tristan Somers. Alice has always concentrated on her studies, she hasn’t been interested in dating and meeting Tristan changes her mind. Despite his parents disapproval Alice and Tristan marry and are expecting their first baby. When, Olivia is four months old Tristan is killed in a car accident and Alice is a widow at twenty three. Mary and Henry Somers offer to help Alice, she moves to Summer House in Suffolk and she starts to question if she’s capable of raising her daughter and providing what she needs?

2018. Olive Faulkner-Jones is married to Jacob and they have a teenage son Nicholas. When her grandmother Mary Somers passes away she’s devastated, she had such a wonderful childhood growing up at Summer House and being raised by her loving grandparents. She and Jacob start the horrible job of clearing out the old house, they find some old letters, Olivia was told her parents both died in the car accident and forty years later she discovers this isn't true.

A dual timeline historical fiction story that alternates between 1976 and 2018. Told from two women's points of view, and the narrative includes topics such as, living up to your parent’s expectations, postnatal depression, friendship, loyalty, death, estrangement and second chances!

I received a copy of The Secrets of Summer House by Rachel Burton from NetGalley and Head of Zeus publishing in exchange for an honest review, I felt sorry for Olivia, she was lied to her whole life, should she look for her mother, Alice might not want to see her and Olivia's putting her heart and future in the hands of a woman she doesn’t know and can she handle being rejected again? I love stories set in old houses, with long kept secrets and a touch of mystery and five stars from me.

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A lovely book about the directions our lives change and how we often come back full circle. I was captivated by Cambridge in the 1970s. Burton paints a vivid picture. The relationships are complex and multi-faceted and I loved the way they continually intertwined. It made the ending feel authentic. Hard to say my favourite part without revealing spoilers. Suffice it to say, there's a quote in here making it to my journal.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book.

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This book has a very distinct charm about it. The story-line is quite heavy: a granddaughter who has been lied to for most of her life, a daughter who has been left parentless, parents who first excommunicated than lost their offspring. Where can you get from here without endulging in black feelings and language? Yet, somehow, Rachel Burton manages to pull this off, and transports us to a place or rather places of whirlwind romance and beautiful childhood, and then to a crumbling inheritance of a young caring woman.

I liked the slow flow of the story, resembling life - taking its turns and different priorities, moods, but getting there... I also liked the two story-lines. I felt privy to a part of her parents and grandparents' lives, Olivia, the granddaughter, will never know. The whole story is beatifully written, thought-provoking yet soothing somehow. A lovely book indeed.

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What a delightful read! Told in alternate timelines, this is a beautiful story that is is based on themes of love, grief, and family but is truly character driven. I found the story (especially that of Tristan and Alice) so engaging that I finished this in one day -- and I was sorry to see it end! Excellent writing and rich imagery coupled with well-developed and interesting characters made this a great read for me. I have not read anything by Rachel Burton before, but I look forward to checking out some of her other titles.

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The book was a love story on various levels. The love of a young couple , the love of grandparents raising a granddaughter, the love of a middle age couple experiencing some difficulties and the story of a woman who had to navigate her life to found out about her past. The book is also about secrets and how individuals make choices when they have secrets .

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Rachel Burton is fast becoming one of my favourite authors and this book only cements this opinion.

I loved the split timelines and how mysteries were slowly revealed as you progressed - so much so I was unable to put the book down.

Both Olivia and Alice are strong main characters, with equally engaging supporting characters.

A thoroughly good read.

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Thanks to Head of Zeus, Aria and Netgalley for an eArc of this book.

I loved it. Simple as that. Loved everything about it!
Written beautifully in two storylines, I have loved the present and the past. As we progressed it has gripped me, and pulled my heartstrings left and right. Family, mystery, loss, grief, abandonment, humility and vulnerability are everywhere in this book. So if you are looking for an emotional and captivating book to dive into, this is the one. Simply beautify!

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I discovered Rachel Burton books during lockdown and they provided me a lot of comfort with their engaging characters, lovely romantic plots and food referenced. I was so excited to be approved by @netgalley for her latest offering, one that was written during lockdown and a change of direction for the author to one of my other favourite genres.

This one drew me in immediately with different characters. I enjoyed seeing the mystery unfold over dual timelines. I particularly enjoyed meeting Alice and Tristan in the historical timeline and getting to know them and their relationship. Very well researched I felt I got a for life during the 70’s- in particular the class differences and their university life. I found these characters well fleshed out out and had a good connection to them.

I also enjoyed the modern timeline and getting to know Olivia, her family and her reactions to the death of her grandmother and learning more about her parents life. There were a few times I found the relations between Olivia and her husband confusing and would have liked to have seen it explored a little more.

I loved the Summer House and learning more about the history and seeing its plans for the future. It definitely provided an atmospheric setting. This novel packed a lot in and I enjoyed its explorations of mental health, postnatal depression, social standings and grief. Rachel Burton has definitely found a place on my auto buy author list.

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Olivia always thought her parents died together in a car accident but now in 2018, she's discovered that's not true. This moves between the 1970s and 2018 to tell the story of a family and a heartbroken woman who made a choice that reverberates down through time. Alice and Tristan met at Cambridge but when he dies,, she's overwhelmed, so much so that she leaves baby Olivia with Tristan's parents, who raise her with love. Something never felt entirely right, though. Olivia and her husband Jacob are struggling a bit but that's less important than her search for Alice. I liked the 1970s part of this more than the 2018 section but the two work well together. Good characters and fine storytelling. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A good read.

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I liked it from the from the start. Well written and kept my interest.
I didn't see the ending it was a complete surprise...
I'm not one to rehash a book and tell you what it's about....you can read the author's synopsis for that
I will tell you that the story is well written and the characters are relatable. I found myself right in the middle of the family mystery and hoping for a good outcome.
Go to your nearest library, bookstore or online to get a truly good story.
Highly recommend

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an advanced digital copy for an honest review. All opinions are mine and mine alone

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The Secrets of Summer House by Rachel Burton is a well crafted historical fiction narrative. I always enjoy a good dual timeline and in this story we are alternating between the late 70’s and present day.

What I appreciated most is that the characters are relatable and the struggles they face and how they come to terms with the past are authentic. In the end this, this book is about love and forgiveness, about struggles with motherhood and what it means to be a family and about loyalty, friendship and second chances.

I also love stories about old houses and the secrets they keep which adds a little mystery!

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What a beautiful book!

The dual timeline worked so well in bringing this story together. I was happily immersed in 1976 and Cambridge in the stifling heat of that summer, but also wanting desperately to get back to Olivia in present day and check in on how much of her past she'd uncovered.

A lovely story full of mystery, romance and emotion, with the wonderful Summer House right at its heart.

This is my first Rachel Burton read, but it won't be the last!

Thank you to NetGalley and to Head of Zeus, Aria for the opportunity to read this advanced copy.

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I absolutely loved Rachel Burton’s latest novel The Secrets of Summer House.

Two stories entwined to one another, giving you a glimpse of what happens when your history isn’t what it seemed to be for so many years.

In 1976 Alice Kenzie bumps into the love of her life Tristan Somers, parents of Olivia. In 2018 Olivia’s grandmother passes away, leaving an envelope for Olivia with photographs that make her world rock. Together with her husband Jacob they search for truth about Olivia’s history.

A story of grief and new beginnings, with a little mystery on the side. I enjoyed the dual timeline, and the characters interesting and very likeable. And I absolutely love that like all Rachel books, this one has a playlist too. Giving me a chance to listen to some fantastic golden oldies like ‘Kashmir’ by Led Zeppelin whilst writing my review- it’s a very personal touch by the writer.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for my eARC in exchange for my honest unedited review.

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When Olivia was growing up she believed both her parents died in a car crash but now after discovering a stash of letters she she finds out that is untrue. Now her whole life is called into question. Is she able to forgive the people who lied to her.

Told via dual timelines this story is about grief and new beginnings.

A brilliant book that touches on some sensitive issues such as mental health, postnatal depression, and grief. This is a very emotional read.

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Thank you to #NetGalley for my advance copy of #TheSecretsOfSummerHouse by #RahelBurton

I loved the way this story interwove the story’s of two couples 40 years apart.
Tristan and Alice met at Cambridge as did Jacob and Olivia, and the story unfolds in a beguiling tale that says just one more chapter, every time you go to put the book down. But I found the ending something of an anticlimax and the book ended very tamely.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Huge praise for Rachel Burton and her latest novel!
Set within two timelines of 1976 and 2018 in Cambridge and Suffolk, this is the story of Olivia Somers, her parents who met whilst at university, and her grandparents who raised her at The Summer House.
The two eras are depicted brilliantly, totally in keeping, and a fascinating reflection of then and now. Beautifully written, this book is a total joy to read. Great characters, a heartfelt storyline bridging across the decades, throughout their lives, a good old fashioned proper tale of love and books!!
A modern classic, highly recommended for all ages!!
Huge thanks to NetGalley for the early read, really enjoyed this!!

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Alice Kenzie, and undergrad meets the love of her life, Tristan Somers outside of the library where her bicycle has a flat tire. Tristan is a PhD student and he sweeps Alice off of her feet into a life full of love.
Tristan and Alice become parents and are married without his parents blessing. They survive daily struggles that life throws at them and finally decide to give his parents another chance. A tragic accident occurs and Alice is left with her daughter and an immense amount of grief for all that is lost.
She decides to move into Summer House where Tristan’s parents live and will help her with Olivia.
Olivia is unable to get past the postpartum and grief and leaves Olivia at Summer House. Olivia is brought up thinking that both her parents died in a tragic car accident.
This beautiful story takes place in both 1976 and 2018. An amazing read, thanks to Net Galley for the ARC.

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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy.

I loved reading this book.

From the beginning you feel yourself being a part of their lives, what they do and they were well developed. There’s secrets that are kept hidden, moments of loves lost.

I loved the setting and how Summer House was described, once again making you feel like you’re there in the story. It didn’t have a villain or characters pointing out those In the wrong.

It’s a page- turner until you reach the last page and wish it carried on.

I highly recommend this book.

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“I have always believed that houses have stories to tell, that if you put your hand against their walls and listen quietly, you will hear the voices of the past, of the people who have lived there, of the homes that have come before.”

If houses have stories to tell, then Summer House is a library of history, love, heartbreak, and redemption. Dual timelines come together in a book that looks at love and grief and longing and family through multiple lenses.

As much as it’s a fictional tale of a lovely (but made up) house, this book also acts as a love letter to the very real city of Cambridge. The house and the city are almost characters in themselves, rather than mere backdrops in this family saga.

I wish we’d gotten a bit more of the side characters, as I wanted to know more about a few of them and to understand the rift between the protagonist and her husband to a deeper extent. Those small things aside, though, I enjoyed the story of this house and the people who have lived in it.

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A Touching Journey to the Truth

Another enjoyable book by this author. She always manages to transport me into her stories.

It is funny how families will tell one tale and somehow the truth is revealed later. In this case, it is done in a dual timeline grandmother to granddaughter through a discovery of letters and their secrets. I appreciate Olivia’s tenacity for the truth and being included in her journey.

Thank you to NetGalley and Head of Zeus, Aria for the advanced copy; this is my voluntary review.

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What a wonderful story, I have loved my trip to Summer House. Set over a 40 year period we meet Olivia who is now an adult and has many unanswered questions following the death of her beloved Grandmother and also Olivia's parents who she tragically lost as a baby.

This story was full of stories of the past and the hopes for the future for Tristan & Alice before everything began to unravel. I loved the location and the references to the boat races and commune. As I read I could feel the descriptions jumping from the page, making it easy to bring the story to life.

A wonderful story full of strong women and amazing friendships, I loved this beginning to end and absolutely love the ending for this story

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In 1976, Alice Kenzie meets Tristan Somers at the Cambridge University Library and soon begins their whirlwind romance, resulting in the birth of their daughter Olivia. Yet Tristan is killed in a car accident and Alice flees, leaving Olivia in the care of Tristan's parents. In a dual storyline, Olivia is grieving the death of her grandmother in 2018. When she discovers a bundle of letters in Summer House, she begins to question the whereabouts of her mother.

This was a compelling story, filled with secrets and so much sadness. Both Alice and Olivia seem faced with so many challenges, with Alice losing Tristan and Olivia, realising that her grandmother hid such devastating secrets.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and Head of Zeus. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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The book opens with Olivia being woken by the news her grandmother has died. She was brought up by her grandparents at Summer House as her parents had died in a car accident. Or so she was told! The story unravels a past life of secrets.
Rachel Burton's books are never a disappointment. The characters in this book are relatable & believable. The plot interesting & compelling, enjoy the unveiling of the story.

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This book surprised me. I don’t know what I expected but what I got was a wonderful tale. To begin with I was confused as to how the two different story lines would be able to link up but the more I read the more invested I got. As Olivia slowly learned about the lies and secrets that her grandparents wrapped her in I became more and more interested in learning more about Alice and Tristan as if the more I knew, the more Olivia would know. I found the different tenses of the two stories fascinating. It made the story, for me, more about Tristan and Alice and their love story than Olivia and Jacob.
I liked how Jacob was portrayed, he had a lot of soul searching to do as well within the book and I loved how he realised that Olivia and their son was what he really wanted and he supported them fully and put them first.
How the plot rolled out and came to a wonderful conclusion was brilliant and I was actually a bit disappointed when it ended.
This was a wonderful, consuming read.

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1976. Rushing out of the University Library, undergraduate Alice Kenzie bumps straight into PhD student Tristan Somers. There begins a whirlwind romance, and Alice falls pregnant and gives birth to a baby girl. Then Tristan is killed in a car accident. Unable to cope, Alice takes her baby to Summer House, Tristan's family home in Suffolk, leaves her there and disappears.

2018. Olivia Somers has always been told that her mother died in the same accident as her father. But when she finds a bundle of old letters in Summer House, everything she ever believed about her mother is called into question. Can she find her – and even more importantly, forgive her?

WOW is all I can say about this book. It kept my attention and I finished it in 2 days. That never happens anymore. From the beginning the character development and writing style were amazing. Every twist and turn were unexpected, and I loved the ending. I also loved that it went back and forth between the granddaughter and grandmother. The dual timelines keep you so engaged in the story.

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.

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The Secrets of Summer House by Rachel Burton is a dual timeline historical fiction story that alternates between 1976 and 2018. Told from two women's points of view, the narrative includes living up to your parent’s expectations, postnatal depression, friendship, loyalty, death, estrangement and second chances! This is a compelling read about the twists in one’s path and how we deal with them in order to move forward. You’ll be left reminded that judging without knowing the whole story is detrimental to both parties involved.

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