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That Summer    by Joan Wolf order for
That Summer
by Joan Wolf
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2003 (2003)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Rashmi Srinivas

Returning for her father's funeral was not at all what Anne Foster imagined her homecoming to be. Putting her career as a vet on hold, she stays with her mother in her hour of need, helped by her childhood friends, Liam and Kevin Wellington. Once home, Anne recalls with fondness the idyllic years she spent helping her father train at the Wellington horse farm, as well as the massive crush she developed on Liam.

Anne also recalls that chilling night all those years ago, when the town's beautiful young heiress disappeared and Liam was suspected of her murder. But without a body, the case remained unsolved. Even today, Anne has feelings for Liam, but as always he looks upon her as a younger sister. This infuriates Anne who becomes determined to prove to Liam that she's no longer the young girl who hero-worshipped him; that her feelings have grown and lasted the test of time.

With plenty of gorgeous and eligible men around, including Hollywood heartthrob Kevin, Anne's scheme takes off superbly. Meanwhile, it's the Derby season and everyone at the farm is caught up in escalating excitement when one of Liam's horses shows great promise of winning the Triple Crown. Speed, high stakes, and money make for a competitive atmosphere, even as events take a sinister turn at home. The truth cannot remain hidden, but can Anne withstand it?

Joan Wolf narrates a straightforward story of love, lust and luck set amidst the high-stakes world of equine racing in That Summer. She depicts the hard work, the scientific monitoring and financial investment which goes into training horses as well as the excitement and tension surrounding the races themselves. Underlying it all is the chilling disappearance which took place years before but still remains unsolved. An explosive combination of events (seen through Anne's eyes) leaves the characters reeling from a maelstrom of revelations.

Liam is beset with troubles; he sees years of hard work going down the drain, even as his childhood friend returns home as a beguiling young temptress. Anne's all's fair in love and war policy charges the atmosphere with lust and jealousy. The side characters are intriguing. The mystery is good and the suspense builds explosively, but surprisingly comes to a dull conclusion. Though dragged down somewhat by an almost flat narration style That Summer has all the right ingredients to entertain.

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