Audiobook, Contemporary Fiction

One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak

One Perfect Summer

Serenity Alston is a true crime writer and also manages a blog. She decides to submit her DNA to an ancestry site so she can write more authentically about the process in her next feature. However, she got much more than she anticipated when she discovered two half sisters. It’s a complete mystery to her as she had no reason to believe she was adopted or that her father had strayed. Reagan Sands is a high powered marketing executive working in New York and is aware that she was adopted but has no idea of the identity of her biological parents. Lorelei Cipriano is married with a 5-year old daughter living in Orlando. She has no knowledge of her ancestry as she was found abandoned when she was 2-years old. The three women connect online and after a time, decide to meet and spend a week together at Serenity’s family’s cabin in Lake Tahoe.

I was drawn immediately to this story having had a similar experience when I joined a little over a year ago. My outcome has been a happy one but they don’t always have good or satisfactory endings and can unleash long-held family secrets that were intended to stay that way.

This story was particularly interesting as all three women were at important junctures in their lives. I won’t detail them here as I enjoyed finding that out on my own and think that’s preferable for most readers. I liked all three women and they were definitely flawed but had hidden strengths. It was admirable how they made the effort to get to know one another and form some kind of familial bond as they also worked to determine their paternity. There were lots of false starts and wrong paths taken but what I enjoyed the most were how they tackled individual challenges they were facing in their personal lives that served to help create and deepen their bond as sisters.

These are three very different women who decided to commit, in essence, to being in relationship with strangers. The timing of their discovery of one another felt serendipitous to some degree but because of my own experience it felt realistic. I also liked the narrator who found subtle ways to distinguish the voices of each sister. Her pacing was on target and she managed the storytelling very well. There’s a definitive end here but I would be pleased if there was further exploration of their stories as this was a really good, entertaining reading experience.

Book Info

  • Release Date: April 7, 2020
  • Narrator: Erin Bennett
  • Audio Length: 12 hours, 40 minutes
  • Publisher: Harlequin Audio



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(Thanks to Harlequin Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)

26 thoughts on “One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak”

  1. I read and enjoyed this book. Though the ending was a bit abrupt. And do these DNA companies really give out personal information or did I miss some detail. Also, a small point, the women weren’t flawed. They had some issues, not surprisingly in two cases, but they weren’t flawed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I think Lorelei was definitely flawed but respect that you feel differently. And, I consider taking up with a married boss a serious flaw in Reagan’s judgment. But that’s just me. And Serenity’s lack of honesty with her family was questionable. Again, you may see this differently but it is my opinion.

      The DNA companies will give out information to the extent you allow it. In my situation, I reached out via the message feature on the site to my half sister and we moved to personal email and text messaging after a couple of days.


  2. The story sounds fascinating and having had a similar personal experience you must have related to the characters more than usual. I can’t even begin to imagine finding a half-sister…
    Great review, Jonetta!❤❤❤🌞

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve also joined and love finding out things I might never have known about my family. Admittedly, I haven’t found out anything this extreme but the premise of the story has me intrigued, especially as the characters are all at significant points in their lives. I’m adding this to my TBR. Fab post Jonetta!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jen💜 I had multiple reasons for joining Ancestry but never expected to find a half sister…maybe some cousins no one knew about and secrets involving extended family…certainly not mine😏

      The characters have MAJOR drama going on in their personal lives but I didn’t want to spoil your discovery. I never saw any of it coming and that was the fun of it.


  4. I think I would enjoy this – excellent review! I do usually enjoy this author but I’m off contemporary romance sort of but this is more like life fiction and it has its appeal.

    Anne – Books of My Heart

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review! Have you read the memoir Inheritance by Dani Shapiro? It’s about a woman’s experience learning family secrets after doing an Ancestry DNA test. Fascinating. This book sounds great, and I can only imagine how relevant it must have felt to you. I’m glad your discovery led to a happy connection!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I enjoyed this story as well Jo. How exciting that you had that personal connection to the story and the process of finding a sibling through a DNA site. So glad that it was positive for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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