That Summer

Atria. May 2021. 432p. ISBN 9781501133541. $28. F
An email mixup figures in Weiner’s second “Cape Cod” story (after Big Summer). Midlife ennui has hit Daisy Shoemaker hard. Her husband Hal’s patronizing attitude is exhausting, her daughter Beatrice is in the throes of teen girlhood, and her best friend has recently died. Then she receives an invitation to a lavish 50th-birthday party—but it turns out to be intended for someone with an email address similar to Daisy’s. Daisy and the intended recipient, Diana Starling, strike up a correspondence, and Daisy is immediately impressed with Diana’s poise and sophistication. Their friendship leads Daisy to wonder what could have been if she hadn’t left college early to marry Hal. But Diana has an ulterior motive; as a teenager, she was sexually assaulted, and her quest to confront her rapist has led her to Daisy’s doorstep. Each chapter features a different perspective from Daisy, Diana, or Beatrice, providing insight into the characters’ motivations, as well as glimpses of their pasts.
VERDICT Weiner’s ability to take a complex, painful situation and spin it into an engaging, thoughtful story about women’s inner lives is showcased throughout this novel. The beautiful beachside settings and aspirational lifestyles that women’s fiction readers gravitate toward are on full display, but the depth of the story is what shines. A likely summer blockbuster, this will have readers looking forward to the third volume in trilogy.
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