The Summer Country

The Summer Country

A Novel

Book - 2019
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Barbados, 1854: Emily Dawson has always been the poor cousin in a prosperous English merchant clan--merely a vicar's daughter, and a reform-minded vicar's daughter, at that. Everyone knows that the family's lucrative shipping business will go to her cousin, Adam, one day. But when her grandfather dies, Emily receives an unexpected inheritance: Peverills, a sugar plantation in Barbados, a plantation her grandfather never told anyone he owned. When Emily accompanies her cousin and his new wife to Barbados, she finds Peverills a burnt-out shell, reduced to ruins in 1816, when a rising of enslaved people sent the island up in flames. Rumors swirl around the derelict plantation; people whisper of ghosts.
Publisher: New York, NY : William Morrow, [2019]
Edition: First Edition.
ISBN: 9780062839022
Branch Call Number: FICTION WILLIG
Characteristics: 464 pages ; 24 cm.


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Jun 09, 2019

Barbados in the early 1800’s and in the mid-1800s went from slavery to emancipation. This was a time when women took a supportive role, yet Willig has made strong females the main characters of a family saga. When Emily is left a run-down sugar cane plantation, she and her cousin and wife leave England to visit Barbados. Moving back and forth between the story of a female slave and Emily, the reader learns only about Emily’s history. It’s a satisfying historical novel and will make me see Barbados differently when I visit the country again. (LibraryThing review copy)

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Apr 01, 2019

This is a bit of a departure for Lauren Willig, in terms of being a totally new setting -- 19th century Barbados -- and also, I think, in terms of being a bit more of a slow read than her books normally tend to be. She uses her typical dual-timeline format which, while it leads to some satisfying connections between characters that aren't apparent at the outset, also slows down the pace a bit and makes it kind of hard to keep track of who everyone is. This is incredibly well-researched and she really does a deep dive into the politics of slavery and class and interracial relationships (in as much as any sort of relationship can exist on equal footing between two people when one of them is enslaved), and I really admire the ambitious scope of the novel. I ended it finding it all very satisfying, but it requires patience.


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