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The Perfect Summer    by Luanne Rice order for
Perfect Summer
by Luanne Rice
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Kim Atchue-Cusella

Bay Macabe is a simple girl living happily in her hometown with her husband Sean, who was her high school sweetheart. They have had some marital discord (Sean had an affair with another woman), but they managed to get through it - or so Bay believed until the day her husband failed to pick up their daughter Peg from Little League practice.

The knot of fear in Bay's stomach grows with each passing moment as she learns about her husband's activities. Sean has embezzled thousands of dollars from the bank where he works. The FBI becomes involved, and they delve deeply into the lives of Bay and the children. On Sean's boat they find letters to Bay, written by Dan, her childhood crush in her awkward teen years. She visits Dan to find out why Sean has these notes, and is again surprised by new information. Bay tries to help the children cope with the stress of dealing with what their father did, and to focus on his good qualities. And Dan has had his own tragedy - his wife died in a car accident a year before while their daughter Eliza watched.

When Bay finally learns Sean's fate, she is torn between being angry and devastated. Dan's daughter, Eliza, and Bay's daughter, Annie, forge a friendship based on mutual loss. And Bay and Dan renew the feelings they had as teenagers. They are also drawn together by the girls' friendship and the fact that Sean may have been pilfering money from Eliza's trust fund. They work together to get to the bottom of Sean's secrets. The characters are all woven together by childhood relationships. In addition to Dan's involvement, Bay's childhood friend, Tara, is there to help her with the children; their own grandmothers were friends, and Bay and Tara have continued the tradition.

Luanne Rice about small towns where everyone knows everyone. The Perfect Summer is filled with action, drama, love, friendship and sadness. It is a well-written story that at times makes you teary-eyed, and one that you will want to keep reading until the surprising ending.

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