Book Review: Summerhaven
Hannah Kent and Oliver Jennings pledged their hearts to each other as children.
Now, years later, Hannah is thrilled to receive an invitation to spend the summer at Oliver’s family’s country estate. The path to wedded bliss is clear—so long as Oliver’s highbrow older brother, Damon, has ceased his juvenile antics, Hannah’s future looks bright indeed.
But from the moment Hannah arrives at Summerhaven, nothing is as she expected. Oliver seems disinterested in renewing their acquaintance, and Damon is not the brutish boy she remembers but a man intent on avoiding marriage. Although she has loathed Damon her whole life, when he contrives a ruse designed to win them both what they desire, Hannah warily agrees. All she has to do to reclaim Oliver’s attention is pretend to be madly in love with Damon. But when Damon is surprisingly convincing in his role as a suitor, it proves difficult to discern the line between pretense and true love.
Summerhaven by Tiffany Odekirk Covenant Communications AMAZON February 14, 2022
Childhood enemy to faux suitor, Hannah will tolerate Damon if it means she has the chance to win back her childhood sweetheart, Damon’s younger brother Oliver. Trying to move on from the death of her mother, Hannah accepts an invitation to stay with her mother’s friend in the hopes of rekindling Ollie’s interest.
However, Ollie is a flirt who wants what he can’t have, and Damon is tired of being paraded in front of eligible women by his domineering father. Damon proposes he pretend to court Hannah to entice Ollie’s interest in her and to ease off the pressure from his father.
Hannah may love her memories of Ollie, but it’s Damon she matches wits with from the start.
He frowned. “Are you (going) to my lord me all summer?”
“Are you going to be here all summer?”
Hannah is clever and kind and only needs to move on from Ollie and her childhood naïveté. We only see Damon through her eyes and it takes her a while to see that he’s more than the boy who taunted her in childhood and the man who thinks too highly of himself.
Jane Austen heroines often have to grow up to deserve their HEA, and Hannah needed to do the same. All of her childhood hopes were pinned on a man who didn’t value her, and first she has to set aside her past, look critically at what is in front of her and what sort of person Ollie is, and look to her future. Part of this was coping with her grief for her mother as well as having more value for herself.
Hannah eventually sees that Damon is jaded, witty, and considerate, and that he has been her truest friend all along. Damon has his own growing up to do, and it’s his faltering in this path that causes Hannah more heartache than Ollie’s thoughtlessness.
Regency language aficionados might struggle with this one, but my only complaint was that the last quarter dragged and Hannah’s final pursuit of Damon was a little cliche after what was a nuanced and intelligent love story. Regency romance fans who appreciate careful storytelling and character development won’t want to miss this kisses-only happy ever after.
I received an ARC from NetGalley