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Saturday, May 17, 2014

My Thoughts: The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver

Two sisters are summoned to their aunt's Greenwich Village flat, where they must start dressing like young ladies, cultivate their artistic sensibilities, and open themselves up to Life with a capital L.

When Franny and her older sister Valentine are summoned by their Aunt Theodora from foggy San Francisco to sunny New York City for one summer, they are taken to old-world locales like Bemelmans Bar, the Plaza, and the Sherry Netherland by their chaperone, Clover, Aunt Theodora’s protégé. As they discover New York City going lingerie shopping and learning about the simple elegance of a cucumber sandwich, they also begin to unearth secrets and answers about Aunt Theo's glamorous and romantic past, and they have a few romantic adventures of their own.

**Review copy received from publisher**

What was this book about? That was my first thought upon reading The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver. Really, I finished all 192 pages and had no idea what the book was about. I struggled with the story, it's not a long book, and still it took me a couple days to read it. I considered putting it down a number of times, but in the end I powered through it.

The Summer Invitation tells the story of Franny (Frances) and her older sister Valentine, who get an invitation to spend the summer in New York. This invitation comes from an elderly aunt the girls have never met, and who will not be joining them in New York until the end of the summer. Instead, they will be cared for by a 28 year old chaperone (who they have not met). My first issue with this, their parents agreed to this without really thinking about it... no discussion, no concerns, not really. They just let their fourteen and seventeen year old daughters venture off to a big city with a stranger. Really?!?!?

As I briefly mentioned earlier, I felt like this book was about nothing. The girls visit New York with the idea that they are to be educated about proper social etiquette. What was weird about this part- and I will do my best to explain this- was how their chaperone- Clover- approached this. The Summer Invitation is supposed to take place in modern day New York, however I felt like the tone was very much 1920s-1930s, with hints of modernity thrown in to confuse things. The girls weren't encourage to wear "trousers," they only ate at the right restaurants and blah blah blah. I felt like Clover was straight out of the 1930s, the way she would dress, act, even the way she would speak. It felt SO unrealistic to me. Had this story taken place in that era it would have made for a great read. However, it was to all over the place for me.

Honestly, I think what bothered me the most about this book, was how juvenile it felt. The book felt immature to me, it lacked character development and the plot was weak. Some would say this novel was a coming of age novel, and maybe it was supposed to be, but it never got there for me.

Overall, I really did not like The Summer Invitation. It was not the book for me. In saying that, I do believe that this book will be greatly enjoyed by younger teens, who are just starting to enjoy the thrills of reading.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

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  1. I think I might pass on this one, I doubt I'd enjoy the lack of maturity in the characters but my niece would love it so thanks for the heads up.
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  2. Nothing worst than a book that left you feeling…nothing. And a general disinterest that resulted in…well, what the heck did I just read? Lol.

    I hope your next read will be better, Sara!

  3. Just reading the synopsis made me think that this one was set in the early 1900s so it's weird that it's set in modern New York. Do people, besides those who come from old money, still care about proper social etiquette? This book just sounds so dull! I hope your next read is much better, Sara.

  4. Ehh, never heard of this one and after reading your review, I definitely have no interest in a book that lacks plot and reads young. I hope your next read is better!


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