Review: One Summer by David Baldacci

Title: One Summer

Author: David Baldacci

Published: Pan Macmillan Australia July 2011 {Courtesy Pan Macmillan}

Synopsis:  It’s almost Christmas, but there is no joy in the house of terminally ill Jack and his family. With only a short time left to live, he spends his last days preparing to say goodbye to his devoted wife, Lizzie, and their three children. Then, unthinkably, tragedy strikes again: Lizzie is killed in a car accident. With no one able to care for them, the children are separated from each other and sent to live with family members around the country. Just when all seems lost, Jack begins to recover in a miraculous turn of events. He rises from what should have been his deathbed, determined to bring his fractured family back together. Struggling to rebuild their lives after Lizzie’s death, he reunites everyone at Lizzie’s childhood home on the oceanfront in South Carolina. And there, over one unforgettable summer, Jack will begin to learn to love again, and he and his children will learn how to become a family once more.

Status: Read on July 12, 2011 — I own a copy

My Thoughts:

Balducci has strayed from his usual formula of legal thrillers to publish One Summer. This slightly mawkish novel of tragedy and love pulls at the heartstrings from the first pages. Jack, a war veteran, is confined to his bed, struggling to stay alive just a few more days to spend Christmas with his wife and children. But in a tragic twist of fate, it is Lizzie, Jack’s beloved wife who dies while Jack miraculously recovers from his terminal illness. In honour of his late wife, Jack takes his three children to spend the summer at her childhood home, where they must learn to live without her.
I couldn’t resist the premise for this novel because stories of triumph over tragedy are always appealing. I think it’s because they help me keep my comparably petty worries in perspective. Balducci covers the breadth of tragedy in this novel – a dying young war hero, child abandonment, a tragic accidental death, an arrest, a custody battle, a near drowning… the Armstrong family are besieged by adversity. The plot reads like a condensed season of a soap opera, and is as oddly compelling. The lows, of course, enhance the highs – a miracle recovery, a blossoming relationship, a family reunited, a second chance at love. Balducci shows he is as skilled at manipulating emotion as he is suspense.
It’s almost impossible to separate the characters from the plot, their situations are designed to immediately elicit sympathy, war hero Jack is as irresistible as his motherless children. Balducci has no qualms in exploiting the natural compassion the reader would feel for any one in a similar plight to ensure an emotional connection.
It’s literary merit may be dubious but the story flows well and is easy to read. Balducci may well rival Nicholas Sparks in the realm of male written chicklit. One Summer is as corny and melodramatic, as it is inspiring and satisfying.

Available to Purchase

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Review: The Sixth Man by David Baldacci | The Book Shelf, My Book Blog

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