Book Review: A Summer Hideaway


Susan Wiggs

Here’s the question that haunted me
while writing [The Summer Hideaway]
–If you’re under witness protection,
how do you keep from getting attached?
– Susan Wiggs

Tears.  You learn to relish your solitude.  You learn to be “with” yourself.  You read books to escape.  You accept that it is better to be alone than in bad company.  Thank God for Facebook and pen names.

A new premium edition of The Summer Hideaway by Susan Wiggs was released yesterday.  I read it again and couldn’t put it down.  It is part of Ms. Wiggs’ very popular Lakeshore Chronicles series.  George Bellamy hires Claire Turner (a/k/a Clarissa Tancredi) to deliver hospice care at Willow Lake’s Camp Kioga where he plans to complete his bucket list which includes a reunion with his estranged brother Charles and a union between Claire and his grandson Ross.

Map of Camp Kioga on Willow Lake

I loved the flashbacks to George and Charles’ summers at Camp Kioga during WW-II and their educations at Yale University.  I loved joining George on his bucket list adventures.  I loved being swept into the magic of a late August vacation on Willow Lake.

Claire is hiding something big, and the Bellamy clan wants to know what it is.  Vance Jordan wants her dead.  He’s a cop and was Clarissa’s foster father.  She witnessed him murder her two foster brothers:

When the bad guy was a cop, you couldn’t call the cops.

The same is true when he’s a judge.  Address Confidentiality Programs are wonderful, but they aren’t WITSEC, the federally funded and managed witness protection program.  Ms. Wiggs nails the challenges facing people who need to hide to stay alive as well as the mortal risks those who protect us often encounter:  “sometimes the only ally was luck.”

Camp Kioga at Willow Lake

The Summer Hideaway is a glorious love story infused with history and mystery.  George ticks of his bucket list experiences with glee, laughter, and joy.  He shares life lessons with Ross.  Ross struggles to accept his granddad’s choice to enjoy his final days rather than pursue aggressive medical treatment until Claire shares her wisdom:

This is his life and he gets to choose.  Now, you can either support him and wish him well, or you can begrudge him this time and criticize the choices he is making.

Live.
This.
Day.
– Susan Wiggs, The Beekeeper’s Ball
“Live.  This.  Day.” is a theme in Ms. Wiggs’ books and excellent advice.
Yes, it is definitely better to be alone than in bad company.
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