Good story about finding unexpected family. Serenity is a true-crime writer who took a DNA test as research for her book. She never expected to find out that she had two half-sisters. Curious about their connection, and not ready to confront her parents with the knowledge, Serenity invites Reagan and Lorelei to her cabin in Lake Tahoe. There they will get to know each other and try to find out the truth. Each woman has more than her heritage on her mind, and they all have big decisions to make about their futures.
Serenity discovered that her husband, Sean, was dealing in child pornography. After turning him in, and divorcing him, she spent months buried in his trial. It was a particularly nasty one that subjected her to ridicule and worse, especially from Sean's family. The stress affected her ability to write, and she is way behind the deadline for her next book. She hopes that time at the lake will help jump start her writing.
Reagan feels overwhelming guilt over her relationship with her married boss. It went further than she expected, and now she doesn't want to face him again. Meeting two previously unknown sisters gives her a way to put some distance between herself and Drew while she decides what to do.
Lorelei's life is in turmoil. Shortly before she left, Lorelei found out that her husband, Mark, was having an affair with her best friend. Now Francine is pregnant, and Mark thinks it shouldn't make any difference to their marriage. But Lorelei's feelings of betrayal make her unable to contemplate a future with either of them in her life. The bright spot in her life is her daughter Lucy.
I liked watching the development of the relationships among the three sisters. There is tension at the beginning, as all three are wary of what they might find out. There is also some initial tension between Reagan and Lorelei. Lorelei doesn't react well to Reagan's "other woman" status, being on the wronged wife side of the issue in her own marriage. I liked how they all opened up and shared their lives without judging each other. The planned one week visit turned into the whole summer as each of the women uses the time to make decisions about their futures. I liked the way that they supported each other, sometimes with advice and sometimes just by being there.
Each of the sisters also has decisions to make on the romantic front. Serenity's sort-of brother-in-law stood with her during the trial, alienating him from the family that took him in when he was young. Sawyer made his admiration of Serenity clear, as well as his attraction to her. Serenity feels the sparks herself but doesn't want to be responsible for ruining his relationship with the only family he has. I liked Sawyer's patience as Serenity worked through her fears.
Reagan put distance between herself and Drew, not trusting that she could resist giving in again. Complications arise, making that separation a little more problematic. A recent acquaintance stays in touch by text, making his interest in Reagan clear. I liked their texted conversations, as Rally offers his friendship and support.
Lorelei faces the end of her marriage and wonders if she is partly to blame. Her self-confidence has taken a hit. She connects with a handsome neighbor, whose attentions are a balm to her spirit. Meanwhile, her husband indicates his desire to repair their marriage, but Lorelei is suspicious of his sincerity. I liked seeing Lorelei's growth as she dealt with all the uncertainties of her future, and drew strength from the support of her sisters.
The DNA storyline was interesting, though it sometimes faded into the background. The thought of discovering unknown family through such a random event is an intriguing one. Each of the women had specific reasons for taking the test. Serenity's was simple research that turned into a mystery to be solved. She's somewhat torn about the search as she doesn't know what it would do to her family. Reagan is the daughter of a workaholic, emotionally distant mother. Her father walked out when Reagan was little. Her interest is in possibly finding her father. For Lorelei, she simply wanted to see if she had any family. She was discovered wandering alone as a toddler, and no family was found. She grew up in the foster system, always wanting a family of her own. Their attempts to discover the truth were sometimes convoluted when direct and honest conversation would have been more productive. The revelation at the end was an unexpected twist.
The three brothers who were the women's neighbors were interesting. Finn was the one we saw most of, with his interest in Lorelei. I was never quite sure how deep his interest went, but I liked his steady friendship and support for her. There wasn't much about Nolan, but I got the feeling he might have an interesting back story. My heart broke for Davis. His brothers brought him to the lake house to recover from a horrific motorcycle accident. He lost an arm and is having trouble dealing with the change to his life. I enjoyed seeing how each of the women influenced him in some way. I would love to see the men get HEA's of their own.
One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak has Serenity Alston surprised by the results she received after submitting a DNA test to 23andMe. She learns that she has two half-sisters. The three women will be spending the summer together in Tahoe. It will give the three women a chance to get to know each other and try to identify their common link. Each woman is going through a rough patch. Serenity just finished testifying at her husband's trial after turning him in to the police. Lorelei discovered her husband cheated on her with someone unexpected. Reagan had a one-night stand with someone from work and cannot face returning to her job. Each woman will need to overcome their issues before moving forward. One Perfect Summer is a light read that touches on an interesting topic. Imagine taking a DNA test and finding out you have two siblings. I liked that the three women who were at an intersection in their lives. It was touching to see them go from strangers to true sisters. The point-of-view switches between the three sisters which can be confusing in the beginning until you get used to each ladies' voice. It does mean that there is a repetition of information. It does, though, allow us to understand what each woman is feeling and thinking. I wanted to find out how the three women were related and came to be separated. When the solution was revealed, I was surprised because it came out of left field. I liked Lorelei's daughter, Lucy and how she helped an injured man. I did find the pacing a little sluggish and there is foul language (too much) in this book. I was happy with the epilogue that showed the women rallying around Reagan for an important event. One Perfect Summer is a sweet story about sisterly bonds, second chances, overcoming the past, finding love, and family.
The premise of One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak is based in the trend toward commercial DNA testing. What I appreciate about the book is the independence and strength of the women as they navigate the challenges of their lives. What I also appreciate is the sisterhood, even though it is too easily achieved. That kind of a support system, if any individual is able to find it, deserves celebration no matter how it is achieved.
Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2020/03/one-perfect-summer.html
Reviewed for NetGalley.