A Summer Hill Novel, Book 1
This is my second Jude Deveraux book, and I’m actually starting with the first book of new series, most unusual for me, but I like it!
Let me start with a platitude; everything old is new again. And there are a couple of theories espoused (former English major here) that every novel is based on either the Bible, or a combination of the Bible, Shakespeare and Homer. In this case, Summer Hill is literally based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Let’s call it the circle of literary life.
Summer Hill is a small town with an increased summer population. The town is preparing to put on a play to raise funds for various local charities. The play is based on Pride and Prejudice. So this is sort of a book within a book, both based on the same book. Sounds confusing but it isn’t. In Deveraux’s skilled hands, it is entertaining, fun, and fresh.
Casey has escaped from an overwhelming chef job in Washington D.C. She’s living in the guest house on an uninhabited plantation, cooking for the cast of the show and baking and preserving to her heart’s content. So she is shocked to walk into her kitchen one morning and find a gorgeous man on her porch, stripping naked and using her outdoor shower. She enjoys the show until her phone rings, and the man breaks her screen door and threatens her, seeming to think she was taking pictures of him.
That man is Tate Landers, Hollywood leading man and mega movie star. Casey hasn’t seen any of his films, but her best friend adores him so she knows who he is. And we have our Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. They end up playing those parts in the town production, as well as living them.
There are several subplots that really keep the pages turning, some mystery and lots of romance, not to mention the stress of a small town production starring Hollywood’s most popular leading men. I read it in one night and enjoyed every page, so I’m looking forward to the next Summer Hill book.
If you like this sort of thing, check out HarperCollins’ Jane Austen Project. Curtis Sittenfeld has a new book out, Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice.
5/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
THE GIRL FROM SUMMER HILL by Jude Deveraux. Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (May 3, 2016). ISBN 978-1101883266. 384p.