EVERY SUMMER AFTER by Carley Fortune

From the publisher:

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

Six summers to fall in love. One moment to fall apart. A weekend to get it right.

They say you can never go home again, and for Persephone Fraser, ever since she made the biggest mistake of her life a decade ago, that has felt too true. Instead of glittering summers on the lakeshore of her childhood, she spends them in a stylish apartment in the city, going out with friends, and keeping everyone a safe distance from her heart.

Until she receives the call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek—the man she never thought she’d have to live without.

For six summers, through hazy afternoons on the water and warm summer nights working in his family’s restaurant and curling up together with books—medical textbooks for him and work-in-progress horror short stories for her—Percy and Sam had been inseparable. Eventually that friendship turned into something breathtakingly more, before it fell spectacularly apart.

When Percy returns to the lake for Sam’s mother’s funeral, their connection is as undeniable as it had always been. But until Percy can confront the decisions she made and the years she’s spent punishing herself for them, they’ll never know whether their love might be bigger than the biggest mistakes of their past. 

Told over the course of six years and one weekend, Every Summer After is a big, sweeping nostalgic story of love and the people and choices that mark us forever.

Named One of the Hottest Reads of Summer 2022 by Today ∙ Parade ∙ PopSugar ∙ USA Today ∙ SheReads ∙ BuzzFeed ∙ BookBub ∙ Bustle ∙and more!

https://amzn.to/3zJZRJM

This is a second chance romance, and a really good one. In fact, I haven’t read this good a debut novel since Lyssa Kay Adams’ Bromance Book Club. While this isn’t the most original plot, the writing is superb and the story builds beautifully.

Written in chapters that alternate from Percy and Sam’s meeting as children and every summer they spent together to the current timeline makes this a slow building romance with quite a bit of tension underlying it all. We know something happened to break them up many years earlier, but first we have to see how their romance developed over those summers spent at the lake. While Sam’s family lived in their cottage year round, Percy’s family used their cottage for summers and occasional holidays. Teen romances rarely make it through adulthood, (my own is an exception – our 41st anniversary is this month!) so it’s not really a surprise that they broke up. But it is fun watching the romance develop as they grow up, and then wondering how it all fell apart.

Percy is a one night stand or short relationships sort of girl. Her latest was her longest and it was only a few months before she was dumped – for good reason. She doesn’t let anyone in; she zealously guards her heart.

The story really starts to unfold when Charlie, Sam’s older brother, calls her to say that their mother has passed away. Percy loved her like a second mother, but hadn’t known she was sick since they’d been out of touch for so long. She hasn’t seen Sam for ten years, but it doesn’t take much convincing for her to pack up and go to the lake. The funeral isn’t for a few days, but she wants to be there for the brothers. And even though it’s been such a long time, Percy is still heartsick when she meets Sam’s knockout of a girlfriend of over two years.

This is a sweet story with a bit of heat now and then, and I was totally invested in these characters and their story. I was torn between wanting to keep turning the pages, but knowing as I kept going that I also didn’t want it to end. There are many funny moments, but also some that had me crying – this is an emotional rollercoaster of a read, and I loved it. My favorite book of the summer so far!

6/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

EVERY SUMMER AFTER by Carley Fortune.  Penguin Publishing Group (May 10, 2022). ISBN:‎ 978-0593438534. 320p.

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