July and August

Published By: Pantheon

Book Category: Fiction,

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Reviewed by Yuka Mizushima

July and August is about the events that occurred in the Hill family during the summer of 1999. When I think of summer, some of the words that come to mind are: freedom, weddings, and reunions. Clark explores many of these themes.

For Lily, the matriarch of the Hill family, summer is about family reuniting. Lily never married, and doesn’t have any children, but it is to her home that the far-flung Hill relations will gather at. For couples, Rollins and Petal and Glover and Ginerva, summer is about romance. Is this just a case of summer loving or will something more permanent occur?

For Sally and Cam, summer is about freedom. I loved reading about the mischief and fun these girls created. Whether it’s a misspelled word in a note or deciding what to spend their allowance on, they demonstrate the secret world of childhood (and how much adults are oblivious to). For Julia, summer brings wedding plans. While the rest of the family prepares for the September wedding, they also question the absence of the mysterious fiancé. Is he really working in Siberia or is there a more complicated explanation?

Unfortunately, summer is not forever. Ginger and Betsy are a great example of knowing when to let go. Betsy finds that her relationship with her mother has reversed, as Betsy cares for frail Ginger. Ginger’s lesson to her family is to enjoy each and every day.

I think that fans of the Hill family series will enjoy this second book. July and August can also be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.

I enjoyed the author’s skillful use of language and the imagery she created. The book is composed of six chapters but it’s not meant to be a quick read. Instead, read at a leisurely pace to really savor the writing. Enjoy the lively dialogue, humor, social satire, and keen observations.

Armchair Interviews says: Spend an unforgettable summer with the Hill family.

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