Anna is a family girl who takes a job at a value hotel in order to be near her grandmother. Anna doesn’t expect to stay on her grandmother’s couch for two years, though. And she’s frustrated managing a hotel that isn’t in line with her hospitality philosophy. So she finally goes to New York on the referral of a friend and starts working at a chic boutique hotel… where her childhood crush is the manager. And he’s still handsome and charming and kind. And she kind of sort of can’t help falling back in love with him.
Great plot, pretty good characters, and easy dialogue made Once Upon a Summertime a very nice read. The only thing I didn’t really like was the interaction between Anna and the other girls. The banter was contrived, and the snark was inconsistent. I couldn’t get a handle on Marley – and here Carlson missed an opportunity to let Anna show how strong she was by being an example to, or firmly standing up to, her friend. Besides that, the book is well-written and a joy to read.
I always love the sweetness of Melody Carlson’s books. I like that she writes main characters who experience a transformation, or who grow due to a life-changing event. Anna goes from thinking about her ideas to acting on them – and in the process she becomes more true to herself. A person is always rewarded internally for living authentically, and in Once Upon a Summertime Anna is also rewarded by those she loves.