I originally picked up the romance, Same Time Next Summer, because I like Holly Jacobs' Everything But...series. But, once I started it, it felt as if it was a letter from home. Jacobs sets her story in Heritage Bay, a summer community on Lake Erie, near Port Clinton, OH. Members of my mother's family spend summers at cottages in that same area. Jacobs even mentions the Ida Rupp Library, the name of the public library in Port Clinton. Even if the story hadn't been good, I would have appreciated the setting.
However, Jacobs tells a good story. The prologue introduces a young Carolyn Kendal and her best friend, Stephen Foster, as they spend their summers together at Heritage Bay. But, life moves on, and it isn't always summer. Carolyn married and divorced, and faces a mother's nightmare. Her daughter, Emma, suffered traumatic brain injury in a car accident, and no one gives her much hope. Carolyn insists that Emma will come out of her coma, and no one listens to her, until Carolyn's mother asks Stephen to visit the hospital, and convince Carolyn to give up. Instead, Stephen pitches in to help Carolyn and Emma, encouraging them, and spending his days and nights at Emma's bedside. It takes a child's tragedy to bring these two friends back together.
Over more than twenty years, Carolyn and Stephen have shared memories. Same Time Next Summer flashes back and forth from the present to previous summers to give readers a glimpse of their lives. In doing so, Jacobs allows the reader to share in the summers, and the growing love between the two characters.
Holly Jacobs' Same Time Next Summer is set in a place I recognize, one that feels like home. Summers on Lake Erie can be magical. Just ask Carolyn and Stephen.
Holly Jacobs' website is www.hollyjacobs.com
Same Time Next Year by Holly Jacobs. Harlequin, ©2008. ISBN 9780373782567 (paperback), 320p.