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BOOK REVIEW:
JULY AND AUGUST: A NOVEL
BY NANCY CLARK

We hope you enjoy this book review by Caryn St. Clair.

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The Hill family returns in Clark's July and August. Following The Hills at Home and A Way from Home, this latest installment finds the entire family converging on Aunt Lily's home in Towne, Massachusetts for the summer. It is a summer that brings many changes to the family-some for the better, some not, but all interesting. As is the case with small towns, the arrival of some of the more “interesting” family members creates a bit of a twitter among the townsfolk, and the lack of arrival of one of the cousin's young man raises the suspicions of the family. Aunt Ginger is in residence convalescing from a serious illness that has everyone concerned. Aunt Lily, who started the Farm Store as a lark has made quite a success of the enterprise. Cam, whose parents work on the farm, has become a sort of member of the family by extension. She and cousin Sally hit it off well and have quite a summer of adventures. As with the earlier books, July and August is all about family. In this book, it's mostly about the women of the family. There are new romances and friendships. There are tears of joy and sadness.

I think readers are drawn to Clark's books because of the gentle tone. Lily's home is quite unlike most readers' homes. It's a huge house set on several acres of land. The family members, for the most part, has plenty of money to do what they want and are therefore able to come and go as they please. In society where every newscast, every newspaper, and even the chat over the back fence bring all sorts of tragedy into our lives, it's a comfort to “visit” families like the Hills.

The book takes on the tone of the title. It's pacing is much like a lazy summer afternoon. While there are some exciting moments, it's really about the ordinary ups and downs of an extended family's summer. This is a book to lay in the hammock or sit on the porch and read. For readers familiar with the Hills, it will be a welcome visit with friends. Readers who have not read the previous books though, will have no trouble joining the family as they laugh and cry their way through the long afternoons of summer.

REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CARYN ST. CLAIR


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