Thursday, July 28, 2016
At The Edge of Summer
At The Edge of Summer is the follow up to Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole. Like that book it takes a poignant view of two people and the way their relationship changes over time, as events take their lives in different directions, only to bring them back together later. Clare is a fiercely independent girlwhose mother has left her and whose grandfather is off traveling the world- she is taken in by a friend of her mothers and spends a summer in France at the chateau Mille Mots. It's a crumbling place but it's a haven for Clare as she struggles with the betrayal by her mother and her sense of loss, and she gets to know Luc over the course of the summer.
Luc is the son of her mothers friend and they are both drawn to the arts, and over the summer they become friends and perhaps more. Clare's mother was an artist and felt that her freedom and arty lifestyle was more important to her than raising her daughter, so she left, but Clare also has an artists touch. Together her and Luc spend a glorious summer exploring the grounds and getting to know one another, until her grandfather arrives to take her back to Scotland. Their lives take them in different directions as Clare travels with her grandfather and Luc goes to war- they stay in touch by letter but as time goes on the letters cease for various reasons and they lose touch.
Luc eventually returns to Paris where he will cross paths with Clare again. They're different people now though - will the connection still be there?
I think the author does a great job showing us pre-war France and the changes brought by WWI, and the first part of the book paints a vivid picture of Mille Mots and the idyllic countryside. The bonds that Clare and Luc forge that summer see them through years of heartbreak and adversity, and so it's fascinating to see them come back together as different people- and yet the same.I especially liked Clare's perspective and really felt for her with all she went through, and it was interesting to see her character develop through the years of traveling throughout Africa.
At The Edge of Summer is a fine story, well told, and hits many of the same notes that Letters from Skye did. A long distance relationship in an era when communication was sketchy, the uncertainty of not knowing if someone is even alive or thinking of you, a love that crosses years and great distance, and two well drawn protagonists. And France isn't a bad setting either. A good read.