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March 16, 2022

The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery ~ a Review & Excerpt

by MK French

Robyn Caldwell had always held her family together, but in the wake of her divorce, she still has the same job to do. Her daughter is a Bridezilla, her son won't consider college, and her best friend is on the brink of marital disaster. As if that wasn't bad enough, her ex is making monumentally disastrous decisions that could ruin her life. When her Great-Aunt Lillian invites her to Santa Barbara, Robyn leaps at the chance. Everyone follows her there, but maybe this time she can take care of herself. 

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of The Summer Gateway by Susan Mallery
March 2022; HQN; 978-1335479990
audio, ebook, print (416 pages); women's fiction

Robyn is an ordinary kind of woman that married young, had two kids, and worked at a business until her divorce from her cheating husband. Her children annoy me at times, much like any 22 and 18 year old would: Harper thinks the world revolves around her needs, and that Robyn does things to deliberately undermine what she dreamed of. Austin doesn't have a clear goal, and is content to coast, especially when his parents help him so much. Opposite to this is Mason, with his military background and need for more structure. His uncle had been Lillian's husband and will inherit the house while Robyn inherits the contents. With Robyn's boyfriend at the beginning of the book clearly looking down on her, we know from the start that Robyn and Mason are destined for a meet-cute.

I really didn't like Harlow in the first half of the book and wasn't particularly attached to anyone other than Mason. I sympathized with Robyn and liked Austin when I saw more of him, but overall I started the book feeling no real connection with the characters. Some of the heel turns other characters took felt out of the blue, so Robyn bursting out in laughter at one point mirrored what I felt. 

Summer Getaway is well written, and other people might like the characters more than I did. The plot is solid enough, but my emotional distance didn't allow me to really enjoy the book.

Buy The Summer Getaway at Amazon

Read an excerpt from The Summer Getaway


“I’m going to sleep with Dimitri.”
Robyn Caldwell picked up her glass of white wine and briefly thought about swallowing the entire contents in one gulp. Mindy’s statement was certainly gulp-worthy. But she knew pacing herself through lunch was the responsible thing to do. A lesson her friend had yet to learn.
“You are not,” Robyn murmured, because shrieking wasn’t attractive. Especially at “the club,” where their friends and frenemies were also enjoying Thursday’s lobster salad. The dining room was filled with forty or so women, all dressed in Florida chic—diamonds sparkling, gold or platinum charm bracelets clinking, necklaces resting on tanned and toned skin.
“I might,” Mindy Krause said, picking up her champagne. “He’s gorgeous.”
“Of course. He’s a thirty-year-old tennis pro. What else would he be?”
Mindy, a petite brunette who was six months from turning forty, sighed. “I need a Dimitri in my life.”
“You have a great husband. Payne loves you and the kids, and never has eyes for another woman. Why would you screw that up?”
“Payne would never know.”
“There aren’t any secrets in this town. Not in our social circle.”
Something Robyn had learned the hard way herself. She’d been blissfully unaware of her ex-husband’s affairs until a “friend” had oh-so-sweetly informed her.
“Maybe just some kissing,” Mindy mused. “I want a little Dimitri action. The fantasies make me happy, so imagine what the real thing would do.”
“The fantasies are safe. The real thing could destroy everything you have. Knowing you’ve cheated would devastate Payne.”
Mindy’s mouth formed a pout. “I never see him anymore. All he does is work.”
Robyn stared at her friend-slash-boss. “You two talked about how that promotion would be more work for him but that it would be worth it. You wanted this for him.”
“I didn’t know how much he’d be gone.”
The unreasonable statement grated nearly as much as Mindy’s whine. “This isn’t a good look for you,” Robyn murmured. “You’re changing the rules without telling your husband. That never ends well.”
Mindy dismissed the warning with a quick shake of her head. “I’m not worried. Besides, if he does find out, I can just move in with you.” She laughed. “You’ll soon have that big house all to yourself.”
“You have four kids,” Robyn pointed out. “If things go south in your marriage, I’d rather have Payne move in.”
“Well, that would get people talking.” Mindy held up her empty glass to the server. “More, please.”
The server obliged.
Mindy took another sip. “My sister called, swears she found a Thomas Pister chest in a tiny shop in Wales. It’s dirt cheap, so I’m afraid it’s a fake. She’s looking for someone to prove authenticity. Wouldn’t that be a find?”
“It would. I’d love to see it.”
Thomas Pister had built beautiful chests and cabinets in the late 1600s and early 1700s. His intricate designs with stunning inlays sold quickly and for huge amounts. Depending on the condition and the materials, a good-sized chest of drawers could go for sixty or eighty thousand dollars.

Excerpted from The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery, Copyright © 2022 by Susan Mallery, Inc. Published by HQN Books. 

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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