Review: One Distant Summer by Serena Clarke

What a cool book! Jacinda Scott goes to New Zealand to take time off from the pressures of LA life. She doesn’t bank on staying next door to Liam Ward, cute younger brother of her decade-old teenage fling. 

One Distant Summer isn’t a simple story. Author Serena Clarke does a phenomenal job giving us something more than just unrequited love or “I fell for the wrong guy.”  Jacinda has her own life with fun and loyal friends. She focuses on a successful career, but not to the detriment of her own welfare. She’s a whole person… who just happens to fall into Liam’s neighborhood. Subplots abound — always in support of the main storyline. 

Without too much angst, Liam and Jacinda fall in and out of like and lust, trying to determine what will hurt the least. There are lots of gatherings with friends, sandy beach talks, and stolen moments with guitars, as the couple journeys to find a resolution. Serena Clarke successfully takes the reader on that journey — the characters feeling like my own friends, and New Zealand feeling home.  

-calliope

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Review: A North So True by Serena Clarke

  

A North So True combines the best of so many worlds: fast-paced corporate marketing in the city, getting back to nature in the Swedish countryside, family connections and family secrets, icy climate, warm fires, fika, and lots of love. 

Every bit of it is done well. Zoe and Jakob (a quiet, well-mannered, but very alpha male) have the requisite chemistry for my liking, and I appreciate their relationship ebbing and flowing naturally. I love the party Zoe attended – so fun to see a character loosen up! I really got to know her as she shrugs off some inhibitions and socializes. Zoe’s host family is adorable and warm and stable. They provide a thread of constancy in Zoe’s crazy life – and in the novel. 

But my absolute favorite part of A North So True is the juxtaposition of cold and hot. Serena Clarke crafts it so well. No gratuitous snowflakes on eyelashes and fireplace sparks on a bear rug; Every description has a purpose and moves the plot forward. From ice skating and snowmobiling to gut-warming shots and hot baths, my senses soaked up every description.  

I’m not a re-reader in general, but I kinda want to re-read this book just to enjoy the magical Swedish feast again. ❤️❄️⛸🇸🇪

-calliope 

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