Summer's End by Kathleen Gilles Seidel
Have you ever discovered a charming book, with likable characters, even the angst-y teens? In fact when I finished the book, I immediately reread Summer's End to make sure I really liked it as much as I did. Yep! It is a story of a family raveling and unraveling. Hal Legend and Gwen Wells have been widowed for awhile, they fall in love and marry and decide to bring their adult children and grandchildren together at Hal's family cabin in Minnesota. It is very primitive; ugh I hate primitive, and so do some of the kids. Hal's first wife Ellie has made her mark there and now Gwen will too, to the chagrin and grief of Phoebe, Hal's oldest. Amy, Hal's youngest is a world famous Olympic gold medal ice skater but still thought of herself as Amy Afterthought and was not close to or really approved of by her mother. Her older brother Ian a PhD in Native American languages and Phoebe were the smart ones with college degrees and "meaningful careers." Jack and Holly, Gwen's children are single and successful, Holly as a lawyer and Jack as guy who likes challenges but felt he never measured up to his father, the admiral's expectations. These are not all the characters here; there are children, in-laws and cousins. My favorite line in the book is, "The family was two strands of beads that had been joined together by the clasp of Hal and Gwen's marriage." I think this is a lovely way to talk of a blended family. Summer's End is a story of the beads, some falling off the necklace, some strung back on and some beads getting all twisted up and finally straightening out. Enjoy.