July 15, 2011

Review: A Summer Reunion (Anthology) by Kasey Michaels, Sarah Mayberry and Teresa Southwick

Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.

A Summer Reunion is an anthology that is a bit different to what I’m used to reading. Usually -or as far as I’ve seen- anthologies have a very broad theme in common but each novella has nothing to do with the other. In this case each story is closely related to the previous one and in the end you feel like you have read a novel instead of three different novellas.

The common thread of the book is -you guessed it- a summer reunion. Maggie, Tory and Stephen where kids when their parents died. They were adopted by different people and thus never saw each other again. More than fifty years later Tory’s daughter managed to find Maggie and they are finally reunited, it’s a bit of a bittersweet reunion because it turns out that their brother died a couple of years before. Maggie decides to throw a big party to celebrate her sixtieth birthday and that she got her sister back.


The first novella is All Our Yesterdays by Kasey Michaels. I have read a couple of Kasey’s books and liked them but this one was a surprise, it was unlike everything I have read before. The novella is a secret-baby story with a twist, the leads are in their fifties and the secret baby is married with children, so our hero gets hit by a secret baby, and secret grand-babies!

Sam and Tory were a couple during college, she disappeared after finding out that she was pregnant and without telling him about it. Tory’s daughter is very resourceful; not only does she find Maggie but also her father and of course contacts him. So after all this time Sam and Maggie see each other again. Because the characters are older their reactions to what happened are different to what we normally get when a secret baby is involved. It was a touching story and I liked both characters. My main problem was that he forgave her very easily. She has tons of somewhat understandable excuses, but in the end he missed so much and I just can’t see past trough that. I liked this novella because it was original, the characters were charming and the love story was bittersweet, but it was my least favorite of the three because what Tory did was just unforgivable to me, and secret-baby stories, whether conventional or unconventional, are my romance novel pet-peeve. I’m giving this one a 3.

The second novella is All Our Todays by Sarah Mayberry. Sarah is one of my favorite authors and this story didn’t disappoint. Lauren is Maggie’s daughter, her husband of seventeen years left her for a woman ten years younger than her, and since then she has been focusing on her catering business. While arranging her mother’s party she meets Adam. He was Stephen’s (the dead brother) partner in Australia and has come to represent him. Needless to say sparks fly almost immediately.

All Our Todays was a bit more like your typical romance novel and the thing that makes it special is not the plot but the characters. Lauren and Adam were extremely likeable and charming. She was a bit of a wounded soul and he was the perfect man for her. My only issue with the novella was that everything happened too fast, but that’s the problem with novellas, especially those where the story takes place within days. The ending was a bit unbelievable but it worked and because Laurie was such a great person I just wanted to see her get her HEA. I’m giving this one a 4.

The last one is All Our Tomorrows by Teresa Southwick. This was the only author that I wasn't familiar with but this was my favorite novella of the whole book. David is Maggie’s son. He is all work and no play and also a bit jaded. Kinsey has been working for Maggie since she was a teenager and is part of the family, also she couldn’t be more different from David. I liked Kinsey and David, she was carefree and he was straight-laced. I love opposites-attract stories and these two were as opposite as can be. This probably was the most clich├ęd of the three novellas but I liked it very much and I think you will too. I’m giving this one a 4.

I think that Kasey, Sarah and Teresa did an outstanding job, as I said this could have been just one story. It was obvious that this was a true collaborative effort and the result was a touching story with several subplots. The stories were predictable (which is understandable) but the characters were likeable and I enjoyed spending time with them.
This book is perfect if you are looking for a light read without much drama and were everything gets wrapped up nicely. If you do get the book please read it in order because the novellas are closely related to each other, so treat it like a whole novel instead of three separate novellas.

Review by Brie
All Our Yesterdays by Kasey Michaels, Grade 3
All Our Todays by Sarah Mayberry, Grade 4
All Our Tomorrows by Teresa Southwick, Grade 4
Sensuality: McSexy

Synopsis:

FOR TODAY…
Now that she's reunited with her sister, Tori Fuller doesn't regret a moment of her life. But she's never forgotten the guy who got away. Heart surgeon Sam McCormack is as sexy and irresistible as he was back in college…and ready to prove to the woman he's always loved that it's never too late to start over.…TOMORROW…Lauren Sutcliffe never expected her mother's sixtieth birthday bash to lead to romance. But gorgeous Aussie builder Adam Hunter wants to stake his claim on the bossy, burned-by-love caterer. He wants to share all her tomorrows, if Lauren will just say yes!AND ALWAYS!David Longwood isn't looking for love…until a family reunion throws him in the path of free spirit Kinsey McKeever. Suddenly the buttoned-down lawyer is rediscovering his passionate inner self and dreaming about forever after… with Kinsey.

Harlequin. July 5, 2011.

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