Daisy Shoemaker can’t sleep. With a thriving cooking business, full schedule of volunteer work, and a beautiful home in the Philadelphia suburbs, she should be content. But her teenage daughter can be a handful, her husband can be distant, her work can feel trivial, and she has lots of acquaintances, but no real friends. Still, Daisy knows she’s got it good. So why is she up all night?
While Daisy tries to identify the root of her dissatisfaction, she’s also receiving misdirected emails meant for a woman named Diana Starling, whose email address is just one punctuation mark away from her own. While Daisy’s driving carpools, Diana is chairing meetings. While Daisy’s making dinner, Diana’s making plans to reorganize corporations. Diana’s glamorous, sophisticated, single-lady life is miles away from Daisy’s simpler existence. When an apology leads to an invitation, the two women meet and become friends. But, as they get closer, we learn that their connection was not completely accidental. Who IS this other woman, and what does she want with Daisy?
From the manicured Main Line of Philadelphia to the wild landscape of the Outer Cape, written with Jennifer Weiner’s signature wit and sharp observations, That Summer is a story about surviving our pasts, confronting our futures, and the sustaining bonds of friendship.
As we follow the tale of two women named Diana, That Summer takes us back and forth in time. Something happened to fifteen-year-old Diana on the Outer Cape, but we don’t discover the details until much later.
Flipping between the present and those past events, we begin to finally understand what happened back then…and what is motivating one Diana in the present day.
As the events come together in the present, filling in the blanks from the past, we are in another #MeToo situation that will suddenly change directions. Will the two Dianas find solutions to the choices of the past and realize what is happening between them now? Meanwhile, “the entire country is in the midst of facing the wreckage of decades of sexual harassment and sexual assault.” Is it a time of reckoning, an inflection point?
As Daisy reflects on her life, her daughter Beatrice reminds her of snippets of the play The Doll’s House, and she begins to change how she views her world and her husband. She can now turn her perspective onto that summer and what happened to the other Diana.
I loved this story, and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen.
***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley