4.5* – For almost the whole time I was reading One Golden Summer, my heart felt like it was caught in a vice. It’s not a comfortable feeling, but it was close enough to what one feels when scared of losing everything. It probably was close to what Kirsty and Saffron were feeling too. Damn. Falling in love is hard, sometimes.
At 49, Kirsty McBride is finally in a good place in her life. She’s happily single since her divorce from her cheating ex and her little wine store is doing well. She loves her small town on the Kent coast, she enjoys working with her best friend and partner Helena, and her parents are awfully cute. Enters Saffron Oliver, Hollywood star in need of a break. Saffron’s sister Ginger recently moved to Sandy Cove and Saffron is hoping to spend time with her sister and take it easy for a while, away from her greedy and overbearing agent and from her manipulative ex and co-star Echo Black. Sparks fly between Kirsty and Saffron, despite the age gap and everything else that should make them incompatible.
I didn’t expect to enjoy this book so much. I’ve liked books by T. B. Markinson (she writes the most realistic characters) and I’ve liked books by Clare Lydon. The two of them writing together works even better for me.
The main theme here is trust. How do you trust when you’ve been cheated on. How do you trust when everything around you is fake. Two sides of the same question, linked to a second one: is it possible to come back from your mistakes? As I’ve written before, communication is not only key, it’s also very sexy, in and out of the bedroom. Something both Kirsty and Saffron would agree on, I think. I really liked both characters, the way their differences make them perfect for each other once they manage to get over them. I loved Ginger, the merry divorcée and fantastically supportive sister and friend. The other secondary characters – Helena and her husband Hugh, Kirsty’s parents, Saffron’s entourage… – are good too.
Another thing I loved is the place itself. Sandy Cove. I’ve been lucky enough to move to my own small beach town (small but with an insane number of visitors in the summer) and beyond the small-town feel, with everything it implies, both good and bad, it’s the nature side of things I enjoyed a lot. The breeze, the sea, the smells, the quiet. All things I cherish where I am. The setting is a real part of the story, which is something I always appreciate.
If you’re looking for a cute but cleverly angsty novel, give One Golden Summer a try.