A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Monday, June 29, 2020

One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak- Feature and Review


From New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak comes a novel about finding family in unexpected places and the lifelong bonds that don't need a lifetime to forge

When Serenity Alston swabbed her cheek for 23andMe, she joked about uncovering some dark ancestral scandal. The last thing she expected was to discover two half sisters she didn't know existed. Suddenly, everything about her loving family is drawn into question. And meeting these newfound sisters might be the only way to get answers.

Serenity has always found solace at her family's Lake Tahoe cabin, so what better place for the three women to dig into the mystery that has shaken the foundation each of them was raised on? With Reagan navigating romantic politics at her New York City advertising firm, and Lorelei staring down the collapse of her marriage, all three women are converging at a crossroads in their lives. Before the summer is over, they'll have to confront the paths they walked to get there and determine how to move forward when everything they previously thought to be true was a lie.

But any future is easier to face with family by your side.



One Perfect SummerOne Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak is a 2020 Mira publication.

A good sudsy summer beach read

Serenity made a shocking discovery after submitting her DNA to 23AndMe. She has two half-sisters she didn’t know about. Unsure of how they came to be related, Serenity invites her sisters to visit her in Lake Tahoe where her family owns a cabin.

Enter Reagan, who works at an advertising firm, and Lorelei, a stay at home mom.

All three women are at a crossroads in their lives which is centered around their poor choices in men. Things get off to a bumpy start when Reagan and Lorelei clash. Why? Well, it would seem Reagan is riddled with guilt over a heated sexual encounter with her married colleague, while Lorelei has just discovered her husband has been unfaithful. Awkward!

However, it doesn’t take long before the familial bonds of sisterhood take hold, as the three women work to uncover the secrets that will reveal their true heritage.

I am finally coming out of my exclusive crime fiction phase and am ready to get into some ‘summer’ reading. The ‘Beach Read’ label is different for everyone, but for me, it’s contemporary fiction- or what we once referred to as ‘women’s fiction’. I love losing myself in the lives of others, especially when focused on women, as they navigate their family issues, marriages, divorce, kids, friendships and the various challenges and trials of life.

This book was the perfect book to kick off my summer of ‘beach’ reading! I was instantly drawn into the catty drama between Reagan and Lorelei but was soon feeling drawn more towards Serenity as she seemed to have the most to lose by learning the truth and her backstory was truly awful, which made me hope her story would be the most rewarding.

Of the three women, Lorelei’s story is the saddest, yet her character grew more than anyone else's, in my opinion.

She was a little annoying at times, but I was happy to see her gain confidence and realize her self-worth.

I’d love to see Reagan and Lorelei get a story of their own someday, but for now I was very pleased with the progress each woman made, not just in their individual lives, but as sisters. At last, they will know the entire truth about their parentage, and will now have one another to lean on through life’s ups and downs.

The only minor quibble I had was that mystery into the DNA match was often placed in the background, entirely forgotten at times, and the side story involving a neighbor visiting for the summer just kind of fizzled out.

Other than that, the ending was exceptionally well done, and so that I don’t give anything away, I’ll just say it was very satisfying. Certain revelations were especially poignant for one of the sisters and I was so happy that she finally got the peace she deserved!

Overall, another winner for Brenda Novak! This is immersive drama at its finest!






 Brenda's novels have made the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists and won many awards, including eight Rita nominations, the Book Buyer's Best, the Book Seller's Best, the Silver Bullet and the National Reader's Choice Award.

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are proud parents of five children--three girls and two boys. When she's not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually raising funds for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). So far, Brenda has raised $2.6 million!

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