The Summer Demands
By Deborah Shapiro
Catapult, 9781948226301, June 2019, 224pp.
The Short of It:
Gave me all the feels of The Big Chill but with a smaller cast of characters.
The Rest of It:
On the verge of her fortieth birthday, Emily inherits an abandoned summer camp from her aunt. She and her husband move there, with the hopes of transforming it into an artist colony. The old, main house is full of charm and memories but the rest of the camp is in need of repair. They both realize it will take quite a bit of resources to get it to where it needs to be. What they don’t immediately realize though is that they already have their first guest.
I really enjoyed The Summer Demands. Emily and her husband are in a good place. Even though she is without a job and trying to find her way again after suffering a miscarriage, Emily is hopeful if not a little lost. But when she stumbles upon Stella, a twenty-something who is essentially squatting on their property, her first reaction is to help her, not oust her and she holds that secret for a little while before telling her husband.
It’s these moments between Stella and Emily that cause so much tension. Female friendships and intimacy, envy, jealousy and longing. Emily is a tad infatuated with Stella but when Stella meets Emily’s husband, Emily notices that everyone she meets is kind of infatuated with Stella. It’s just who she is.
Emily and Stella loll around the camp, swimming, watching movies, and soaking up the sun but as a reader you just know that this idyllic summer must end eventually, and it does. I loved the easiness of this novel. I loved the complexities of female friendships displayed here and I liked how the author explored things without making you feel too strongly about any one thing.
Plus, the setting was great. The lake and the sunlight filtering through the trees. It’s all so palpable. I really enjoyed The Summer Demands but it definitely falls into the “quiet novel” category which I enjoy very much.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
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