The Girl From Summer Hill by Jude Deveraux #Review

The Girl From Summer Hill by Jude Deveraux #ReviewThe Girl From Summer Hill by Jude Deveraux

Series: #1 Summer Hill
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Ballantine Books on May 3, 2016
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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three-half-stars      three-flames

I love being surprised when it comes to finding something where I least expected it when it comes to stories.  The author took her new contemporary romance series and tied it snugly in with Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.  Not only did the characters’ lives mimic the classic story, but this group of people were the cast for the summer production of a modern play based in P&P all set in a small town in Virginia.  It’s been nearly twenty years since I read a story by this author and I was glad to break the drought with this one.  Rompish fun, sizzling encounters, and some slightly over the top plotting make for an engaging summer read.  Yep, my first recommendation for your summer reading pleasure.

The story opens with chef, Casey Reddick, settled into a modernized cabin on one of the old family plantation estates.  She has been hired to cater the meals for the cast and crew of the play that is being produced for charity.  Casey was eager to snap up this opportunity as she needed to get away from DC after all that has happened not to mention it was high-time she connected with her estranged father’s side of the family.

A blazing encounter with the brooding and testy owner of the plantation raises her hackles and prejudices her against the handsome Hollywood heart throb, Tate Landers, who is set to play the hero Mr. Darcy for the play.  Casey seems to be the only person to detest him and has no trouble saying so.  Others caution her to give him a chance, but it is not until she encounters one of the other actors who has been woefully wronged by Tate that she really gets fuel for her flames.

Tate has worked hard all his life to get where he’s at and he can’t help all the fawning he gets for his looks and charisma so it is a refreshing change to have the snarly and crotchety Casey give him a set down for the ages right in front of the whole cast.  The Elizabeth role has been filled even if Casey takes some persuading.  Tate is frustrated by her doubts of him and her easy acceptance of his bitter enemy who charms her with sly insinuations and slick lies.  How can a guy compete?

While Tate and Casey rage and storm, the rest of their group get up their own behind the scenes intrigues and the play may be the means of righting some old wrongs as well as new ones.

The author took a fun approach of setting up the story as if it were a play with Acts and Scenes listed as the header for each chapter.  It was whimsical and set the tone for what was to come.  The story jumped right into the middle of things.

People and names and situations are rushed through and it was only later that I was able to sort out who was who, where the connections were, and how things came to be.  This would have been alright, but it was rather confusing and distracting for the first segment of the book.

That aside, this is a fun romantic comedy.  It doesn’t plunge deep and has a looser feel to the plot and pacing, but I don’t think it’s meant to be more than a light read for a lazy day.

Casey is like a badger when it comes to Tate and I laughed over the unfortunate incidents that seemed to plague their already struggling relationship.  Let’s just say they begin with some voyeurism, progress to some B&E involving a wild peacock, a stolen pie, stage antics, and a lot of trouble from a side character full of malice.  It was one thing after another with these two.

But in spite of this rocky start, the pair do have some good times.  Some very good times.

It was fun that the minor characters were not just background for the main characters.  It’s quite a large cast including the players, the family, and the locals.  There were three other romance pairs to enjoy.  I loved that one was an older pair that very much needed their second chance.  It was also a refreshing change to see Jack and Gizzy (aka Bingley and Jane) are action hero types and have some strong opinions.  And yes, the presence of a snooty, know it all, older actress may bring one to imagine a modern Lady Catherine.  But let’s not forget the plotting, dastardly villain behind most of the trouble.

All in all, it was fun and hilarious.  Give it time to sort out and then off it goes.  Loved the connection with the original Austen story though this was very much it’s own piece.  This is for those who enjoy a small town romantic comedy that’s sweet with a pinch of spice.

I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #150 CR
New to Me #62 series

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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  • dholcomb1

    I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this story.

    denise

    • Yes, it was a surprise at first for me b/c I thought I was just reviewing a light, small town contemporary, but then…eek, there’s P&P. 🙂
      I will say that the Lizzy character was a tough sell for me b/c she was pretty rough on the guy, but there was a lot of fun elements, too.

      • dholcomb1

        I knew about the P&P. Good to know about the Lizzy character.

        • I don’t know if you are like me, but if I know certain things going into a story, then it helps me enjoy the story better.

          • dholcomb1

            it can help… hate to be blindsided or have one of those : “what is going on?” moments when reading a non-suspense or mystery.

            • Yes, there is such a fine line between giving someone notice and giving spoilers and I definitely don’t want to push someone away from a book they might enjoy.

  • I read her books ages ago…and liked them 😀

    • I really don’t know why it’s been so long since I read one of her books. I’m sure I’ve missed out on some good stories. But I can fix that. 😉

  • That must be fun to returns to an author who’s book you haven’t read for so long. Sounds like it was a good one with the ties to pride and prejudice. And the scene set-up for the chapters sound like a fun addition. Those little touches can really add something to a book sometimes.
    I often have some trouble remembering who is who, especially when we get introduced to a lot of characters from the start it can take me some time to get everyone sorted out. It can be confusing at first. And three other romance pairs among the side characters, that sounds fun. A lighter read can be great if you’re in the mood for that. Great review!

    • Oh yes, I did have fun with this one. There was lots of humor and it was written in that over the top way that you see in plays like Shakespeare’s comedies. I was surprised by the Pride and Prejudice tie-in with that being the play the group was doing and that the people had some outside the play moments that were like some in P&P. I’m thinking that each installment in the series might follow a different classical story like that.

  • It can get irritating for me when the author teases the story too much. This one still sounds entertaining enough and it’s awesome Jude is still releasing new books!

    • I know that’s amazing that some of these writers are at it for decades.

      This was pretty funny and good for a lazy summer day read.

  • Aww this does sound like a perfect summer read. I’ve never read anything by this author, but I know she’s well liked.

    • It was quirky and fun, Christy. I was attracted to the summer theme at first, but then the rest was a nice surprise. Yeah, she’s one of the established romance writers that I tried back when I was first getting into adult romance and I enjoyed her historicals.

  • oh I do want to read this one. I love a good Austen re telling. And Jude Devereux is a great author, but have only read her HR. This sounds like a great book to add to my collection this summer though.

    • I had only read her historicals, too. Years ago. I was glad to be offered this one to try. It was a fun summery read around a community theater play group on an old Southern Plantation. Hope you like it.

  • Shari Delighted Read

    Jude Deveraux used to be my go to author, but the last few years I have fallen away from her books. Between her, Johanna Lindsey, Julie Garwood and a few others, I wish I could go back and capture what I loved about their books.

    • Yes, me, too. It’s been more than twenty years since I picked up one of her books and those were all historicals back then for me. I didn’t realize she was still writing so it was fun to be offered this one.

  • This definitely sounds like a fun story, Sophia Rose! I haven’t read any Deveraux in ages, so maybe The Girl From Summer should break my drought as well? Excellent review 🙂
    I hope your week is off to a good start!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    • Oh, I was giggling by the second page. There were several fun moments. The summer playgroup setting was neat. Yeah, ages for me, too. It was nice to pick up one of her books again. Thanks, Lexxie!

  • I have read almost all of Deveraux’s books, this sounds good, I didn’t know that she had a new one out.

    • Oh, sadly, I have not. I read so many when I first started reading romance years ago and then drifted into other writers. It was fun to snag this one and give her writing another go.
      I think you’ll have fun with this one, Cindy. 🙂

  • I have only just read one of her books, but I put this one on my list as soon as I read the description a few weeks ago.

    • I used to get her books from the library a lot several years ago and then drifted into other book interests. So the out of the blue review offering put her on my radar again. And the blurb had me convinced I needed to read it. It was cute. I look forward to the rest of the series after meeting all those quirky local characters.

  • That does sound fun. Glad the rocky start turned into a fun read for ya. I may have to give her another go 😀

    • There are actually a few rocky moments. The heroine was being suckered by a skilled liar that she was more than willing to meet half way since she got a hair up her nose early on about the hero so she preferred for him to be in the wrong. But yes, overall it was fun and had a nice summery feel to it.

  • I saw this one on NetGalley and was trying to figure what it was all about, love the set up of the story. Great review!

    • Sometimes blurbs can be confusing more than helpful. I was offered it through email so there was a bit more to go by to decide if I wanted to try it.
      Thanks, Sharonda!