I thought I was reading historical fiction about an Anglo-Saxon’s journey in the afterlife…(THE SUMMER COUNTRY by Lauren Willig, narrated by Nicola Barber)

Somerset in south-western England, the “Land of the Summer People.” Source: British Heritage.

I have never heard of Lauren Willig before, so when I picked up THE SUMMER COUNTRY, I honestly thought I was reading a tale about an Anglo-Saxon person’s journey to the afterlife. (The Anglo-Saxon’s referred to life after death as “the summer country.”)

If you have read this tale of intrigue, lies, desperation, greed and a bold bid for freedom in 19th-century Barbados, you can imagine how surprised I was. However, Lauren Willig’s sensitive tale of slavery, and the way she immerses you in the sticky heat of the Caribbean drew me in.

Bussa who led the largest Slave rebellion in Barbadian history. Source: Wikipedia.

I listened to this novel, and at first it was a little difficult to keep track of the parallel stories of Charles & Robert Davenant from 1812 to 1816 and the story of Emily Dawson and her search for her mother in 1854. As usual, the background tale of the rising of 1816, and Charles Davenant’s complex relationship with his brother and sister-in-law proved to be more gripping than the more “modern” tale set in 1854. However, the 1854 narrative braid was saved by the character of Emily herself, as she dealt with the men fawning over her, no doubt because she was the unexpected heiress to Peverills, a famous estate on Barbados.

Lauren Willig is the author of several novels, and her experience shows in the telling of this one. I loved the way this novel ended. Five stars. #laurenwillig #thesummercountry

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