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SUMMER’S GIFT – Jennifer Ryan
ISBN: 978-0-063-09415-4
June 20, 2023
Contemporary Fiction

Carmel, California – Present Day

All of her life, Summer Sutherland wondered about the man who fathered her and chose not to be a part of her life. But a decision to take a DNA test for one of those ancestry sites leads her to the family she never knew—and a father who didn’t know she existed. One day, Cody, a lawyer who works with her father, shows up at her office and lets her know that her father wants her to come to Carmel to meet him and her half-sisters. After dealing with her hysterical mother one too many times, Summer decides to drop everything and go. She tells her beloved grandfather where she is headed but not her mother. 

Once in Carmel, Summer meets her father, Nate, and his family—his wife Miranda and their daughters Natalie and Haley. Turns out that her father is a wealthy business owner in partnership with Cody and his sister, Brooke. Both families share a huge beachfront mansion. Summer soon settles in. She gets along great with Haley but Natalie dislikes her presence, mainly because Summer and Cody have hit it off. Natalie, who is about to graduate from high school, sees herself as Cody’s future wife. As Cody and Summer continue to fall in love, will Natalie put a damper on their relationship? Will Summer’s mother track her down and cause an ugly scene since she thinks Nate is trying to “steal” their daughter? 

SUMMER’S GIFT is a pleasant summer read that will leave you feeling good. Things start out fine for Summer. Her new family welcomes her with open arms. She has been groomed by her grandfather to run the company in Dallas once he retires, so her plans are not to stay in Carmel. Cody is aware of this and wonders if there is any hope for them to have an ongoing relationship since his job is in California. But in the meantime, they enjoy each other’s company, though Natalie tries to drive a wedge between them. All Summer wants is a great relationship with her half-sisters and doesn’t want to cause trouble. In the background, she is also trying to ignore her mother’s calls and texts demanding that she come home. Summer is falling in love with Cody, but she has a lot going on which demands her attention. 

Cody and Brooke ended up being raised by Nate Weston after their father died (their mother had abandoned them years earlier). Cody feels grateful for everything Nate has done for him and his sister. This is why he can’t just abandon Nate and follow Summer back to Texas. He has already been burned by one bad relationship that has left him wary of committing to a new one. For now, Cody plans to see where things go with Summer. But is there any chance of a future together? 

The drama in SUMMER’S GIFT is mostly mild and predictable. There is the “can they figure out how to be together while their lives are in different states” and the “other woman,” though at the age of eighteen, Natalie’s feelings aren’t taken seriously. But readers will enjoy it as Summer learns about the family she has just discovered and wonder how her mother’s jealousy over the new family will play. There are obstacles that Summer and Cody will have to overcome and that makes for the question mark as to whether they can find a happily-ever-after. Don’t miss SUMMER’S GIFT.

Patti Fischer

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