Normal Family: THE SUMMER OF GOOD INTENTIONS by Wendy Francis

The Summer of Good Intentions

G0141_SummerGood-238x238by Wendy Francis
Narrated by Marguerite Gavin
Audio Publisher: Tantor Media
Publication date Jan 26, 2016
Running time 9 hrs 8 min
Audiobook provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

Cape Cod summers are supposed to remain reassuringly the same, but everything falls apart when three sisters and their families come together for their annual summer vacation, and they are carrying more secrets than suitcases.

Maggie is the oldest sister. She’s hurt that her parents’ recent divorce has destroyed the family’s comfortable summer routines, and her own kids seem to be growing up at high speed. Is it too late to have another baby?

Jess is the middle sister. She loves her job but isn’t as passionate about her marriage. She’s not sure that she can find the courage to tell Maggie what she’s done, much less talk to her husband about it.

Virgie is the youngest, her dad’s favorite. She’s always been the career girl, but now there’s a man in her life. Her television job on the West Coast is beyond stressful, and it’s taking its toll on her, emotionally and physically. She’s counting on this vacation to erase the symptoms she’s not talking about.
 My Take Oblong
I love Cape Cod, so  was psyched to get into a book that occurs in a place I love to go. But I was disappointed to find a family drama where there was not too much dysfunction, but where there were a lot of issues: Parents’ aging, divorce, bad marriages, career vs. family life, tragedy, illness, OCD. There was the proverbial “something for everyone.”

The book is pretty clean, I can’t recall if there isn’t any sex, but if there is it is not too prevalent.

What is wrong with there being something for everyone?  It spreads the story too thin or ends up with contrived and unlikely scenarios.  And that is what we get here.

My biggest disappointment was that even with a house right on the beach, there’s not much in the book that feels like it is unique to the Cape (unless you’re talking about the traffic on that dang bridge). It didn’t feel like Cape Cod. 

I did have a favorite couple:  the OCD sister Maggie and her husband (who sounds like a hottie). Her twin is a little whiney, and the youngest sister is kind of a self-centered free spirit who has some career and other issues.

But other than that, I think the story began as an idea about how a late parental divorce affects a family. But it all got lost in the storylines with too many major characters, where there wasn’t really enough character development.

I liked Marguerite Gavin’s narration: Her voice is bright, but nuanced and she always hit the right chords of emotion and gives the story a good rhythm.

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