The Girl from Summer Hill
The first novel of New York Times bestselling author Jude Deveraux’s breathtaking new series set in Summer Hill, a small town where love takes center stage against the backdrop of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
Enter Elizabeth Bennet. Chef Casey Reddick has had it up to here with men. When she arrives in the charming town of Summer Hill, Virginia, she leaves behind a demanding boss at a famous D.C. restaurant and a breakup with a boyfriend jealous of her success. Some peace and quiet on the picturesque Tattwell plantation is just what she needs to start fresh. But the tranquility is broken one misty morning when she sees a gorgeous naked man on the porch of her cottage. Enter Mr. Darcy. What Tate Landers, Hollywood heartthrob and owner of Tattwell, doesn’t need on a bittersweet trip to his ancestral home is a woman spying on him from his guest cottage. Mistaking Casey for a reporter, Tate tries to run her out of her own house. His anger, which looks so good on the screen, makes a very bad first impression on Casey. Hollywood he may be, but he’s no sweetheart to Casey—and she lets him know it!
The plot thickens. Sparks fly—literally—when Casey is recruited to play Elizabeth Bennet opposite Tate’s Mr. Darcy in a stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Just brushing past Tate makes Casey’s whole body hum. As they spar on and off stage, Casey begins to think she’s been too quick to judge. Tate is more down-to-earth than Casey expected, and she finds herself melting under his smoldering gaze. But then Tate’s handsome ex-brother-in-law, Devlin Haines, who is playing Wickham, tells Casey some horrifying stories about Tate. She is upset and confused as she tries to figure out who and what to believe. As she finds herself falling for Tate, Casey needs to know: Is the intense, undeniable chemistry between them real, or is this just a performance that ends when the curtain falls?
The Girl from Summer Hill pushed all the right buttons for me. It had a Montgomery, a Pride and Prejudice theme, and a hot opening scene. Let me just say that the scene in the beginning made think about having a new book boyfriend, because Tate has it all. The sexiness, the teasing demeanor, and overall good guy persona really made me sigh.
The story focuses on a small town that is having auditions for a play based on Pride and Prejudice. Not only that, but the real story also mimics the book that is the focus of the play. All the characters are there, and we find a real life Wickham in Devlin. It was an interesting take on the famous story by Jane Austen, for I haven’t read one like it yet. The part of Lizzy both in the play and in real life is Casey. She has her pride and her prejudice and it was fun to read the interactions between Tate (Mr. Darcy) and Casey. I loved the fact that Tate is a major movie star because it instilled a natural doubt in Casey about whether he was acting or not. It would definitely make me second guess myself as well.
It had the common trope of girl hates hero, but then gradually falls in love, girl doubts herself and hero, but then hero sets it straight and finally a HEA.
At times, I did find it a bit unrealistic with the constant reminders of “oh, there is a spark, I must be really attracted to you,” type inner monologue/dialog. I was rolling my eyes when that occurred. To blatantly mention it, took away from the chemistry for me. It shouldn’t be that obvious to the characters. But other than that, I did find this story enjoyable.
For fans of the Montgomery’s and Jude Deveraux’s stories, there is an Easter Egg in here that made me laugh. It was a wink to the readers. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say it includes a knight. You have to read it to appreciate it. No spoilers here.
I’m happy for a new series and can’t wait to read more. The endearing characters are all there and it will be interesting to find out what would be in store for them.
“At the foot of the stairs, she took a breath before going up. Maybe she should burn some sage sticks to get his presence out of her house.”
*I received an ARC though NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*