*I received a free copy of The Summer We Lost Her from Gallery Books via Edelweiss. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *The Summer We Lost Her by Tish Cohen
Published by Gallery Books on 4 June 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
It’s been a busy—and expensive—few years for Matt and Elise Sorenson and their young daughter Gracie, whom they affectionately call Little Green. Matt, a Manhattan lawyer, has just been offered a partnership, and Elise’s equestrian ambitions as a competitive dressage rider may finally vault her into the Olympics. But her long absences from home and endless hours of training have strained their relationships nearly to the breaking point.
Now they’re up in the Adirondacks, preparing to sell the valuable lakefront cabin that’s been in Matt’s family for generations. Both he and Elise agree it’s time to let it go. But as they navigate the memories the cabin holds—and come face to face with Matt’s teenage crush, now an unnervingly attractive single mother living right next door—Gracie disappears without a trace.
Faced with the possibility that they’ll never see their daughter again, Elise and Matt struggle to come to terms with what their future may bring. The fate of the family property, the history of this not-so-tiny town, and the limits of Matt and Elise’s love for each other are inextricably bound up with Gracie’s disappearance. Everything for the Sorenson family is about to change—the messy tangle of their past, the harrowing truth of their present, and whether or not their love will survive a parent’s worst nightmare.
The Summer We Lost Her is a slow-paced mystery where a young girl disappears without trace from the front of a summer house.
Especially the beginning of The Summer We Lost Her is very slow. I was wondering when something would happen, while also getting to know Matt and Elise and Gracie. Between the fact that Elise was a top athlete, and Matt the main caretaker for Gracie, it was clear that the usual gender roles were not part of this family’s dynamics.
The Summer We Lost Her switches between the present and various flashbacks. The narrator is 3rd person omniscient, with the closest perspective being Elise’s. I enjoyed learning about Elise and Matt, how they had come to terms with their differences. They both loved Gracie very much, but Elise’s dreams of the Olympics made her choices seem like she didn’t always have her priorities straight.
Because of the cost of dressage riding, Matt and Elise had decided to sell the place where Matt spent all his summers with his grandfather. The Summer We Lost Her had a nostalgic feel to it among the mystery. And with Cass, Matt’s teenage crush living next door, this brought another layer to the marriage, and the troubles that came to the forefront after Gracie’s disappearance.
The main theme in The Summer We Lost Her is redemption and forgiveness. The mystery was well done, and the anguish Matt and Elise lived with after Gracie was gone was palpable. Well written, the story unfolds rather slowly, and that worked very well both with the overall story arc and with the mystery aspect of the novel.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: