Review: The Summer House by Jenny Hale

I love a story with a makeover scene.

Clueless. The Devil Wears Prada. Even Encino Man. Give me a dowdy, dull character, slap some makeup on her, give her a haircut and a new wardrobe, and I’m sold.

But in The Summer House by Jenny Hale, the character in need of a makeover isn’t a person – it’s a house. It’s the house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina that Callie Weaver and her best friend, Olivia, have purchased and are making over into a cozy bed and breakfast right on the beach. But of course, this being a romance, the renovations aren’t the main story but the backdrop to the relationship that develops between Callie and local millionaire playboy Luke Sullivan.

This was my second book by Jenny Hale, and I enjoyed it just as much as Summer at Firefly Beach, which I reviewed for Five Directions Press’ Books We Loved post this month. It’s a slow burn, with Callie and Luke building a friendship that repeatedly threatens to teeter into romance before stepping back. This allows Callie and Luke to build a real, strong and believable relationship that ends up being completely satisfying. 

There wasn’t a single character in this book that I disliked or even didn’t care about – Olivia is the best friend we all wish we had, her son Wyatt is adorable, and her sprightly grandmother provides the comic relief. Even Luke’s family – blood and otherwise – are charming and fun to be around.

There’s not much summer left, but if you’ve worked your way through your pile of beach reads or even if you’re just looking for something new, I recommend picking up The Summer House. I think you’ll love it as much as I did.

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