New York City is on my shortlist of places I’d like to visit some day. When a book is set in the city, I get to experience it just a tiny bit. What I loved about Once Upon a Summertime was the main character was new to NYC and through her experiences, I got a tourist’s view of the city.
Anna Gordon thought her life would be more than managing The Value Lodge in her small hometown in Indiana. In college she’d had dreams of making a difference while managing a hot hotel. Instead she’s stuck in a rut. The owner’s of the Value Lodge don’t want to spend the money to make their establishment more inviting to guests, the employees don’t do their jobs, and Anna is sleeping on her grandmother’s couch. When she runs into a friend from the past, an opportunity to land a position at a boutique hotel in New York City feels like providence. While it wasn’t the job she’d hoped for, Anna accepts a management position at the new establishment. During her tour with one of the owners, she runs into another face from the past. Sean O’Neil was three years older than her and hadn’t paid her or his friend’s little sister, Marley any attention when they were teenagers. Now, Sean is paying lots of attention. So much attention, Anna fears losing her job. Will Anna have to choose between the job she desperately needs and the man who just might be the love of her life?
I’ll admit, after reading a little bit of a dud from Melody Carlson earlier this year, I was a tad bit hesitant to pick up another offering from her. Sometimes a risk offers a reward. Overall, I enjoyed this story. The NYC setting was a huge plus. Anna’s journey was interesting. The reader gets to know Anna very well before Sean enters the story about a quarter of the way through the book. Anna’s friend Marley is hard to get a good read on. One moment she seems friendly and excited for Anna, and another she’s angry and upset with her. The ending was a little too hastily wrapped up, and the solution to the huge problem was not the one I was expecting. This one still has a few issues that were not hammered out well in the book. That said, this is a great beach read for summertime. Take with you on vacation or read it by the pool. It offers what we’re all hoping for during the warm summer months: an escape.
***Revell provided me with a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.