Book blurb: A tragedy brought Eva Brookwell and Samuel Shaw back into each other’s lives. But will lies from the past destroy their chances of a future?
Left penniless after the death of her philandering father, Eva Brookwell takes a job as a governess at Rye Hall, but didn’t expect to find her young charges scarred and blinded from smallpox. Rye Hall is an unhappy house with a tyrannical master and Eva is forced to turn to her pupils’ uncle, Samuel Shaw for help.
Eva and Samuel had once been engaged, until his lies drove them apart. Still in love with him, Eva knows she could never trust him again; however he is her only ally in the dark and disturbed household she now lives in.
Absolutely gripping, high intensity and powerful novella! It will certainly steam up your cold January evening!
Summer in Rye is an exceptionally captivating historical love story, with truly good, strong characters that instantly draw the reader in. It has a hot and steamy moment, with the ongoing tension that Eva is feeling for all of the right AND wrong reasons. This intensity continues through the whole story as Eva battles her feelings for Samuel against her fear of the future turning out the only way she can possibly see it to be.
It must be quite tragic and embarrassing for Eva, coming from a well-to-do family, having to work as a governess for a family that are already only too aware of her downfall. However, Eva is a strong woman and holds her head high. Although not made to feel too welcome by Lady Florence Shaw (Samuel’s sister-in-law), after meeting the children she feels compelled to ensure their wellbeing and make a living to support her mother and sister.
For this novella, Lucy Oliver has packed a great deal of emotion and described the relationship that Eva has with each character really well. There are only a few characters but the reader is provided with a great idea of who they are and what they care most for. Eva clearly has to decide on her feelings for Samuel, try to maintain a civil relationship with Florence and also be aware of the intentions of Edward, Samuel’s brother, towards her.
Eva’s feelings for Samuel may only be explored in one moment. It is very erotic and sensual, with the reader believing that this will be the only time these two greatly matched people will ever be as one. Eva finds it difficult to follow her heart entirely and decides to have what she can, while she can – without the risk that she may someday marry Samuel, for him to gallivant with mistresses and push her aside just as her father did to her mother.
Despite of all the doubts that Eva has regarding Samuel’s love, it is pretty obvious to the reader that he thinks fondly of her from the first time the reader is acquainted with him. It isn’t too long before we realise that Samuel loves everything there is to love about Eva. As a reader, I longed to strongly urge Eva to just go and be with him. He is hers, completely. The feelings that these two characters have are overwhelmingly strong. And I love that Eva keeps him at arms length mostly and considers her family. She is using her mind but instinct should surely show her to follow her heart on this occasion.
The story’s novella length is perfect as the story continues at a steady pace with every intensity and passion you can imagine. There is certainly no opportunity for the mind to wander anywhere else. Lucy Oliver’s writing style is quite direct and easy to follow, at a good pace and leaves the reader intrigued with the characters and how they feel for each other.
There is no reason why Summer in Rye couldn’t be a Top Seller. I would certainly like to read more of Lucy Oliver’s work in the future.
I think one conclusion I can draw from this is for all those doubtful ones amongst us to go and grab the bull by it’s horns. Go grab your man, girls, before you miss that chance. Sometimes it is good to follow your heart, especially when it is being heard by another!
A copy of Summer in Rye was provided by the author for the purpose of an honest and fair review.
Reviewed by Caroline Barker