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The Summer House

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

Home can be an elusive word to define. To some, it’s a physical thing, an actual house, a place that provides shelter from harsh elements threatening to disrupt our daily lives. It doesn’t matter whether it’s excessive heat, blistering cold, torrential rain, or icy accumulations. Those four walls and a roof keep each of these perceived risks at bay. To others, home is an intangible entity. It’s a feeling of warmth, security, and knowing you belong, wherever and whenever you find yourself. It has less to do with a particular location, and more to do with who you share the space with.

In a moment of serendipity, the words I wrote above as a reflection on one of my own stories feels as though it melds with Lauren’s novel and the life of Lily Bishop perfectly. But it goes further, because the season of summer, also mentioned in the title, is one of opening up: the windows and us, to sunshine in all its forms.

Each of the characters in this book, even the ones who might not induce a feeling of worth, encounters the same struggle we each do as human beings: where and what is our definition of home, and how do we fit in while still standing out? It is a universal question with an infinite number of answers. Lauren has detailed one of those many options in a compelling fashion through the eclectic mix of hairdressing, shrimping, letter writing, and opening up that pulls the reader into the characters’ lives with unwavering interest.

Whether it was my complete immersion in the lives of Lily, Rose, Coach, and Rawlins, or something else altogether, I turned the last page, surprised to reach the end of the story so quickly. I felt the need (or want) for more, and I’d love the opportunity to spend more quality time with these characters. And with the societal limitations over the past several months, I could certainly do with a sit-down in Lily’s salon for a not-so-insignificant trim. As much for the haircut as the engaging conversation that Lily (and the author who created her) would create in that safe space in Safe Harbor Village.

Dave’s Rating: ☕️☕️☕️


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