Rated Reads

One Summer

by Roisin Meaney

Rated: Mild

As a summer plays out on a small island on the west of Ireland, a 30-something woman rents out her house over six weeks to three sets of visitors, and their stories mingle with those of her and her family, her fiance, friends and others on tiny Roone.

Nell has been engaged to Tim for a year, and they plan their wedding for December. Tim works in Dublin and makes good money in computers, and he spends the weekends with her on Roone, but Nell wants to be able to pay for a good portion of their wedding rather than let him do so. So she decides to move out of her charming cottage and rent it out.

First to arrive for two weeks is one man in his 30s who has finalized a divorce. He is lonely and looking to get past what’s happened to him.

Next is a young mother and her twin 5-year-old boys, who are energetic and busy. The widowed mother is outgoing and throws herself into island life.

Last is a 50-something couple and the wife’s single sister.

As time goes on, life shifts and changes happen for everyone. The island itself, as well as Nell’s home, seem to charm most.

Though the book is set in Ireland, making it an obvious reason to compare to Maeve Binchy’s work, this book really reminded me of Binchy a bit in that it’s a story about a lot of people. There’s the main character, Nell, but a lot of threads spin off from her. And I enjoyed every one. I enjoyed going along with them as they spent time on Roone and bumping up against each other, seeing what happened to them, good and bad. There are other books that follow Roone and the people in it and I may have to revisit some time in the future.

Rated: Mild. There are five to ten instances of mild and moderate language, and there’s one brief scene where two characters start undressing and touching each other.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for about 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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