Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Review: "The Summer House" by Lauren K. Denton

If you like Southern fiction, then Lauren K. Denton is the author for you! The Summer House is the second of her novels that I've read, and it evokes such a sweet charm that you just want to immerse yourself in the story. And, maybe it will make you want to visit Safe Harbor in person, even if you're not quite the appropriate age 🙂

Sometimes it takes losing everything to find yourself again.

Lily Bishop wakes up one morning to find a good-bye note and divorce papers from her husband on the kitchen counter. Having moved to Alabama for his job only weeks before, Lily is devastated, but a flyer at the grocery store for a hair stylist position in a local retirement community provides a refuge while she contemplates her next steps.

Rose Carrigan built the small retirement village of Safe Harbor years ago—just before her husband ran off with his assistant. Now she runs a tight ship, making sure the residents follow her strict rules. Rose keeps everyone at arm’s length, including her own family. But when Lily shows up asking for a job and a place to live, Rose’s cold exterior begins to thaw.

Lily and Rose form an unlikely friendship, and Lily’s salon soon becomes the place where residents share town gossip, as well as a few secrets. Lily soon finds herself drawn to Rose’s nephew, Rawlins—a single dad and shrimper who’s had some practice at starting over—and one of the residents may be carrying a torch for Rose as well.

Neither Lily nor Rose is where she expected to be, but the summer makes them both wonder if there’s more to life and love than what they’ve experienced so far. The Summer House weaves Lauren K. Denton’s inviting Southern charm around a woman’s journey to find herself.

The Summer House tells the story of two women: Rose, owner of the retirement village Safe Harbor, who keeps herself closed off from everyone; and Lily, a young woman starting over following her husband's abandonment. Through the course of one summer, each woman comes to terms with her own past and learns to let others in.

I really loved this book! While it contains a little romance, it's definitely much more about friendship than anything else. I loved seeing the relationships Lily built with her customers, and watching Rose come out of her self-imposed shell was really satisfying.

In addition to the story being told from Lily's and Rose's perspectives, Denton adds some letters that Rose writes to her deceased sister-in-law, as well as issues of The Village Vine (the community newsletter). These definitely added to my understanding of the story, and the newsletter brought some great humor, as well. Overall, The Summer House is a book full of charm and heart—a perfect summer read. 4-1/2 stars.

Note: While this is published by a Christian publisher, there's not a faith thread to speak of. I'm not sure that God is even mentioned in the novel. I would classify this as clean fiction. Also, I should mention that Lily begins a friendship-and-maybe-more with a man while still technically married. Nothing progresses beyond a dance and some feelings/pining while she is married, but some readers might want to be aware.

Read my review of Denton's Glory Road (4-1/2 stars).

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. Her debut novel, THE HIDEAWAY, was a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon Charts bestseller. Her second novel, HURRICANE SEASON, released in spring of 2018, was a USA Today bestseller.

Connect with Lauren: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through TLC Book Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. Hello)Unfortunately, I haven't read the book)Thank you for your post)

  2. I hope you do get to read it. It's so good :-)

  3. Southern fiction is one of my favorites! I have this one on my list for my next book buying trip. Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours


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