Summer at Hideaway Key: A Novel. Barbara Davis. Penguin Group (USA). August 2015. 416 pp. ISBN#: 9780451474582.
Betrayal after betrayal, all in the name of protecting a beloved sibling! Like a hurricane that grows in strength in between landfalls, the cataclysmic events that caused a lifelong rift between Lily Mae and Caroline began with a seemingly innocent trip. Their mother was abandoned by her husband and she in turn left them alone and defenseless in a home for the poor in a small Tennessee town, a place that left horrific scars in Lily Mae. Caroline never believed that what happened to her sister was a loving act and from that day the wound between them grew exponentially.
The girls survived by becoming models and then the trail grew cold after Caroline spent years with her husband Roland and daughter Lily. Now Roland and Lily Mae are dead and Roland has left Lily a small beach cottage in Hideaway Key, Florida. Imagine her shock when she finds a rundown shack filled with boxes, papers, magazines, fancy furniture and the finest of crystal and other formal dinnerware. This then is the journey of truth that begins for Lily, a series of revelations through the diaries left by Lily Mae, comments made by neighbors, news articles from New York papers and magazines, and letters written by the characters involved in years of secrecy.
Lily meets her nearest neighbor, Dean, an architect who on his first visit wants to buy the cottage left to Lily by her aunt. At this initial meeting, they are really like-minded individuals who do everything possible to avoid any semblance of commitment in order to protect each one from being rejected and abandoned. The past rules their thoughts and feelings on a daily basis. This is another journey of discovery and shedding of hardened skin layers that are more destructive than constructive.
Summer at Hideaway Key… is a delightful summer read filled with shocks and secrets that never allow the reader’s interest to lag. It’s a novel about telling honest truth rather than convenient truths designed to insulate one’s feelings, the latter truths which really never succeed in their conscious or unconscious designs. It’s about the sacrifices one makes and endures to express and protect real love. It’s quite simply a well-crafted, evocative, poignant and beautiful story. It’s name belies the beautiful love behind all the misunderstandings, gossip, machinations and petty acts that desperately need forgiveness and redemption. This is highly recommended contemporary, romance fiction – so nicely crafted by Barbara Davis. A fine job done, indeed!