Review originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/02/07/review-when-summer-comes-by-brenda-novak/
I really enjoy the Whiskey Creek series with the small town setting and group of best friends that continue to appear in each book. Although I was kind of hoping that we would get the story of another character, I really enjoyed getting to know Callie better.
Callie is living with a secret: she has been diagnosed with a fatal liver disease and only has a few months left to live. She doesn’t want to tell her friends and family in fear of the way they will treat her, so she cuts back on work and spends her days at her farm. When Levi scares her one night, she takes him in despite the hardened exterior and befriends him.
Levi has been drifting through life since he got out of the military, and when he lands, wounded, on Callie’s doorstep, the last thing he wants to do is stick around. But he needs a place to stay while fixing his bike, and offers up some hard labor to Callie in exchange of a place to crash. He never expected to stick around for long, or even have the desire to. But something about Callie draws Levi back into the world, the small town, and most of all, the desire to find a place to call home. Once Levi realizes what it is he really wants, will it be too late for Callie?
I have a confession to make: as a little girl I used to love reading books about kids who had terminal illness. I don’t know why, but when I read about Callie’s liver disease, I knew I would have to get this book right away. I’m so happy to report that unlike the books from my childhood, Callie does get her HEA, and a second chance at life. The ongoing theme of death looming over her shoulder was one I enjoyed though, it really gave her the chance to take chances and determine just what was important to her in the end. I loved that.
The romance between Callie and Levi was a slow burn, with a somewhat instant attraction. But it took awhile for these two to actually start a physical relationship, which I liked. I liked that Callie was so hesitant around Levi at first, but that once she realized how emotionally lost and vulnerable he was, she really opened up to him. Levi was so scared of everything Callie represented, and although he seemed to appreciate her friendship, once things got a little more series, he was the one to freak and pull back before they could get physical. I liked that dichotomy in their relationship, and how different it is from the norm in romance novels.
I do have to say that one of the secrets that Levi keeps from Callie, and here are quite a few, was a little hard for me to believe. Without giving too much away, he lost a woman who was very close to him, and he struggled with getting close to Callie because of his guilt over her death. The situation surrounding the woman, how they met, and how she died was a little out there for me, and while my heart broke for Levi, I just couldn’t find the realism in it.
All in all I continue to be a big fan of the Whiskey Creek series. I love that we get to see the ongoing friendships between the group of friends, and Novak does such an amazing job with these core characters that I am constantly finding a new person to fall in love with. I can’t wait to see where the series goes next!
I give When Summer Comes a B