I am working my way through my 20 Books of Summer List. My list are almost all backlist titles, and contain the word “Summer” in the title. These reviews are for #14, #15 and #16. I only have 4 more to go and 19 days to finish.

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan, Narrated by Eileen Stevens, Billie Fulford-Brown, and Tanya Eby

Published April 9, 2019 by HQN, Harlequin Audio

5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I have read and enjoyed many of Sarah Morgan’s books, but somewhere along the way, I missed One Summer in Paris. I am really glad I picked up this story of friendship, taking chances, family and finding oneself. Grace had planned a trip to France to celebrate her 25th wedding anniversary, only to learn that her husband has been having an affair with a much younger woman and wants a divorce. She decides to takes the trip anyway, alone. Audrey, a young woman from England needs to get away from her alcoholic mother. She heads to Paris hoping to get a job and have an adventure. Unfortunately for Audrey, she is dyslexic and unable to read, and doesn’t speak French, so when she gets a job in a bookstore, you know things are not going to turn out well. Audrey and Grace meet under unusual circumstances and form a tentative friendship, that turns into a close relationship where they help one another and learn what they really want out of life along the way.

It is a heartwarming story, with plenty of surprises as the past, present and futures for both them and others is changed forever. The characters were sympathetic, yet they were strong and not just going to sit back and take what life threw at them. The setting was wonderful. Meeting up and exploring, the language, the food, the bookstore, all add so much ambience to the story. There are also a couple of old romances (Grace and her grandmother) that are rekindled, albeit not permanently. I liked this multi-generational friendship and how they helped each other decide what they really wanted out of life, and supported each other through the changes. This is a story of daring to change and making the most of what life has to offer. We also see once again how miscommunication of lack of any communication can ruin a relationship. I really enjoyed this summer story and recommend it to those who enjoy Women’s Fiction. Eileen Stevens, Billie Fulford-Brown, and Tanya Eby do an amazing job with the narration of this story. I love when there are multiple narrators to differentiate the characters, especially when they are various ages and genders. Their performance definitely enhanced my enjoyment of this story.

The Summer Escape by Lily Graham

Published May 26, 2016 by Bookouture

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ria is still grieving after the loss of her husband, and writing obituaries is not letting her deal with her grief. She is getting fed up with her boss, so one morning on her way to work, she finds herself on the road to the airport. Armed only with her bad, which happens to have her passport in it, she hops a plane to Crete, and a town her Yaya grew up in. She decides to stay awhile and figure out what she wants to do with her life and ends up finding a job, making friends and being instrumental is solving a mystery. There was a rather large contingent of English speakers, so Ria was able to get a job quickly. She works for a reclusive and eccentric novelist, and is offered an opportunity to write a profile on her for the English paper. She meets Tom, a vintner who is trying to revive his family’s winery that had had a tragedy ten years earlier with a fire and the death of his father.

Tom and Ria were a great couple. They both had tragedy in their past and although they took time to get to know each other, they eventually gave in to their feelings. The book has so many great secondary characters that bring the village to life. Tom and his brother are estranged and as the mystery of who set the fire is revealed, you can see why. There are some not so nice characters as well, but only a couple and they will get their comeuppance. This is an easy read, enjoyable story about summer on a Greek Island. There is some romance, family issues, grief, community, friendship, new beginnings and a mystery. I enjoyed the addition of the mystery to this story. With Ria being a journalist, it added another great plotline to the story. This was a great story for me to read out by the pool.

A Summer Scandal by Kat French, Elisabeth Hopper (Narrator)

Published June 28, 2018 by Avon Books, HarperCollins

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Violet isn’t sure what she wants out of life. She is living with her parents working out of an outbuilding on their property, using it as a studio. Her grandfather lives next door, at least he did until he recently passed away. She is given a letter by her mother that her grandfather left for her. It opens a can of worms, as Violet finds out that her grandparents owned a pier in Swallow Beach. The pier contains an arcade and there is also an apartment, that now belong to Violet. She knows almost nothing about her grandmother, Monica, who drowned when her mother was a young child. Violet heads to Swallow Beach to decide what she will do next. Once there, she meets several interesting and friendly people, including hunky Calvin (Cal) and his mother, the not so nice mayor. With Vi wanting to stay in Swallow Beach, reopening the arcade as an adult-themed arcade full of artisan shops, she has to fight the mayor who is trying to force sale of the pier to the village. Can Vi make a go of the pier? Can she solve the mystery of what happened to her grandma? Will she find romance in Swallow Beach?

This was a fun story with a bit of scandal, a mystery, and some romance. I really liked Violet. She was a bit of a lost soul until she moved to Swallow Beach. She found people like her and developed some great friendships. She was a bit insecure, but she grows a backbone, especially when dealing with Madame Mayor Gladys Deerheart. Cal is her handsome neighbour and there is instant attraction between the two of them, but he is the mayor’s son and she is not happy about their friendship. As the arcade fills up with various artisans, Gladys gets even more upset and her antics are hilarious. There are several secrets that are revealed as the story moves forward and they bring the characters closer together as they help each other deal with things. Overall this was a wonderful story. The characters are quirky and fun, the location is simply gorgeous, there is a mystery to solve, some romance, some regrets, some laugh out loud moments and an ending that blew me away. A perfect summer read and one I very much enjoyed. Elisabeth Hopper narrates this audiobook and I enjoyed her performance. She gave the characters their own voices using various accents, tone, and expression. I was pulled into the story and as I listened I felt like I was there in Swallow Beach. I definitely recommend this audiobook to those who enjoy listening, otherwise pick up the book and get swept away to Swallow Beach.