That Certain Summer
Reviewed by Marissa Libbit for Reader Views (5/11)
“That Certain Summer” by Mary Verdick is the fictional journey of the main character Sally Grimes. Sally, an unemployed writer, gets hired by has-been actress Diane Fenwick to write her autobiography. Moving to Connecticut from Iowa to live with Diane while writing her book, Sally is forced to also babysit Diane’s twins. She also meets Ricardo, a handsome assistant of wealthy neighbor Mr. Morley-Watts. The two develop a relationship quickly while entertaining the children together. When odd things start happening such as rearranged items in the house and strange cars parked outside at night, Sally gets suspicious that there is something mysterious going on. The mystery is revealed at the end of the story. Diane’s dog Rufus also plays a prominent role in the book.
There is a nice story in “That Certain Summer.” There is mystery, love, and family drama. However, I must admit that the story did not grab me as much as I wanted it to. Though I believe the story was written for modern times, the language was often dated with expressions such as “hunky dory,” “fella,” “dandy,” and “…if that doesn’t beat all.” Had I known the story to be written in an earlier decade, the language would not have jumped out at me so obviously, making the dialogue seem quite unnatural at times. I also found certain things odd, such as why Sally hadn’t known that Diane had not performed a big role in awhile. Wouldn’t she have done her research before coming to Connecticut? Plus, there were very little interactions between Diane and Sally written about that would have shown Sally researching and writing Diane’s life story. It really seemed like all she did was take care of Diane’s kids, which as I writer I don’t quite understand why Sally accepted that role so easily.
I know Ms. Verdick has a good story to tell. There are enough elements to make a good tale. A review of the dated language and plausibility of some of the circumstances might make “That Certain Summer” a more enjoyable read.