Imagine Summer: A Novel
Setting – Rhode Island
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (May 11, 2021)
Paperback: 416 pages
Kindle ASIN: B08FKL4CQ4
As a child, Skylar Mackenzie’s imagination always got her in trouble. Now it’s making her a fortune. She owns Imagine That, a toy and bookstore and creativity center in a small Rhode Island beach town where children, and adults, can use their imagination free from judgment.
Skye is about to embark on her biggest venture yet, a weekend retreat of family exploration. But it begins to unravel when she finds her estranged half-sister Amy on the doorstep. And Amy’s not alone.
She’s brought Skye’s first love, Connor Reid—the boy who broke her heart; the man who could break it again.
Amy claims she wants to make amends—but how can Skye trust her? It was Amy’s lies that drove her from home fifteen years before. Suddenly, Skye’s perfectly imagined summer is in jeopardy. Not to mention her perfectly ordered life. Or her beloved town’s financial future.
With Amy back to her old trouble-making ways, and Connor making Skye wonder what might have been, Skye makes a decision that may cost her everything.
Imagine Summer is a story of discovery, trust, and the courage to dream.
Skylar Mackenzie feels she is in a good place in her life. She has a successful business, Imagine That. a creativity center/toy/bookstore. So successful she is planning a family weekend retreat that will not only benefit her but the whole town. She is also in a great relationship with Jack who supports and loves her. Her best friend Maya works for her and Maya’s boyfriend Sonny is Jack’s business partner. Maya just found out she is pregnant. Her Aunt Roxy has been her rock. She took Skye in when she needed love and a place to heal after a fire burned down her father’s hobby shed and her half-sister Amy told everyone Skye started the fire, which was a lie. She was overwrought physically and mentally and it took her a long time to get where she is now.
Then Amy shows up in town along with Connor Reid, Skye’s boyfriend at the time of the fire, her first love, that knew the truth but disappeared right after everything happened. Amy says she wants to make amends but Skye wants nothing to do with either of them. So Amy makes sure to spread the word all over town about her sister, making her seem like an angel and Skye the terrible one. Worse seeing Connor has Skye questioning herself and her feelings.
This is definitely not the summer Skye had imagined and it could be the summer where she loses everything.
I really liked meeting Skye and loved the theme of her business. A place for kids of all ages to be creative in a myriad of ways with no judgments. A place to just be. Her relationship with Jack was strong and comfortable. Then came Amy, a spoiled brat if there ever was one. She may have had some good ideas but there was something missing in her makeup that allowed her to take responsibility for anything. She also didn’t engage her brain before she opened her mouth. I hated everything about her. Connor had good intentions but was drawn into Amy’s web. He quickly grasped what she was up to but he still brought strife to Skye’s life in his own way. Roxy was my favorite character. Everyone needs an Aunt Roxy. Her friend Heddy was also a fun character. The characters are well-written and brought out the emotions in the reader the author intended.
The events with Amy continue throughout the story along with a plethora of problems with the venue for Skye’s big event. The Chamber of Commerce and other shopkeepers and residents have piled so much on Skye’s shoulders and she rolls with all the punches to see the event take place no matter what. I really did admire that vast difference between Skye and Amy. The original family dynamic was truly lacking and it was no surprise that Amy was estranged not only from Skye but her parents as well. Skye is strong in every way that Amy is weak. The author did a great job of tying the main plot and subplots together. A lot happens within these pages and at times the pace did feel a little off but quickly found its footing again.
Imagine Summer was an entertaining story, a true beach read. Estranged sisters that probably should have stayed estranged. Ms. Noble piles on the drama to keep the pages turning and brings the story to a nice end that left me a little conflicted.
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About the Author
Shelley Noble is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including Beach Colors, Stargazey Point, and Holidays at Crescent Cove. As Shelley Freydont, she is the author of the Celebration Bay Mystery series and two other mystery series. Her mysteries have been translated into ten languages. Shelley lives near the New Jersey shore.
Also by Shelley Noble
Written as Shelley Freydont
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”