Official Review: The Summer of 1957 by Judith E. Powell

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teacherjh
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Official Review: The Summer of 1957 by Judith E. Powell

Post by teacherjh »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Summer of 1957" by Judith E. Powell.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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The Summer of 1957 by Judith E. Powell demonstrates how people can be unexpectedly confronted by their past, no matter how deeply it is buried. The main character, Penelope, was sexually abused as a child. She moved away and did her best to leave the incident in her past. Then she receives a letter from the abuser’s granddaughter, Elizabeth, asking for help in solving the mystery behind the man’s death.

Penelope and Elizabeth are drawn into a web of secrets as they look to the past. Elizabeth is at first disbelieving and later horrified as she is confronted with the actions of her grandfather. Penelope learns that there is so much more to her own story when she discovers and reads her mother’s journal. She was not the only victim, and the man even tried to find her when she left town. The story reveals some surprising details that will change Elizabeth’s life forever when her grandmother finally confesses what she knows about her husband’s death.

This one hundred forty-two-page book is a quick read, but it is full of interesting characters and unexpected twists. It has a great theme of facing the past and healing its wounds. It also confronts the idea of how to decide when the past needs to be left alone. I appreciated that she only went into details on the abuse incident once in the book. It was not rehashed repeatedly. I also thoroughly enjoyed the local color that the author included with her descriptions. I felt like I was walking the streets of Dayton, Ohio, myself.

My only criticism is that the actual reading of the journal dragged a bit. The information was important, but the character reads it all at once, and it gets into telling rather than showing. I thought the entries were important, but they could have been broken up in the plot.

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is a well-written, emotional story. The reader is drawn to the two women and feels their distress. I was not expecting the plot twist involving some secret family connections. It definitely added to the story. It is well-edited, with only a few errors. I recommend it to anyone who likes a bit of a mystery and a tale of overcoming adversity. However, this is an adult storyline with the topics of sexual assault and murder. It also contains a medium amount of profanity, but not anything that doesn’t fit with the storyline. Some readers will want to skip it for those reasons. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and hope the author writes more like it.

******
The Summer of 1957
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MarveeAman
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Post by MarveeAman »

It is a very short book for such an intriguing story! but still, I want to add this to my shelf. Good review.
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teacherjh
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Post by teacherjh »

MarveeAman wrote: 24 Apr 2021, 14:30 It is a very short book for such an intriguing story! but still, I want to add this to my shelf. Good review.
You will enjoy it. Thanks for the comment.
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Post by Booklover Becca »

Wow, there’s so much to fit into such a short book! It sounds truly intriguing and emotional. Thanks for the great review!
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Post by Suzer6440 xyz »

This looks amazing. Your review was very helpful. I like the content about facing the past and healing wounds! I’m putting this on my shelf but wish it wasn’t so short.
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Post by GoodLuck ES »

If it was within my power to stop a thing in the world, it'd be sexual abuse. Look how it's changed the lives of two women negatively. I'd love to find out how Penelope and Elizabeth fared at the end.

Interesting review.
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Post by Kavita Shah »

When past comes back after so long, the wounds are fresh and you cannot forget it. The story line is somewhat new to me. Thanks for you review.
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Post by Wildflowertheorist »

Does the plot twist include them being long lost siblings?
I'm only guessing based on some movies I've watched
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Post by teacherjh »

Crescentine wrote: 25 Apr 2021, 21:50 Does the plot twist include them being long lost siblings?
I'm only guessing based on some movies I've watched
Good guess, but no. It does involve family relations though. It was interesting.
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Post by NetMassimo »

This seems like a terrific novel that addresses some tough subjects through the protagonists' stories. Thank you for your great review!
Ciao :)
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Post by Ellylion »

Usually I avoid reading such books, but this one sounds quite engaging thanks to the well-developed characters and authenticity :) Thank you for a great review!
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Post by Mwatu »

This sounds like a good read. I like the theme both encourages facing the past and healing wounds and that sometimes the way to do that is to leave the past alone. The twists and turns sound engaging as well. Thank you for a lovely review!
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teacherjh
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Post by teacherjh »

Mwatu wrote: 29 Apr 2021, 01:17 This sounds like a good read. I like the theme both encourages facing the past and healing wounds and that sometimes the way to do that is to leave the past alone. The twists and turns sound engaging as well. Thank you for a lovely review!
I also like stories of people overcoming tragedy. Thanks for the comment.
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Post by smolbird »

I can't imagine how difficult it must be for Penelope to have to help her abuser's grandmother. Thank you for the lovely review.
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