Summer of Sun and Shadows

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In 1962, a tightrope accident left a man known as Heavy Duty dead at a carnival. Lady Priscilla, the carnival’s matron, decides to send two other carnival employees, Beau and his goddaughter Sabrina, to a small town in Ohio to recover from the tragedy. The duo move into a house across the street from Tom, a sixteen-year-old boy, and his aunt Zephyr. Tom recently lost his parents and younger sister in an accident, and he has come to live with Zephyr, his mother’s sister. He is looking forward to making friends with Sabrina, which could be problematic since she is of mixed race. Nevertheless, the two quickly become entangled in local affairs as they try to navigate life in a small town. On top of that, Lady Priscilla has her own reasons for sending Beau and Sabrina to the town. She is hoping to learn more about her godson Isaac’s death.

I had the good fortune to read and review the author’s previous work, Cicada Dreams, so I was thrilled to see the return of Lady Priscilla, a character I loved. Summer of Sun and Shadows is a complex tale that brings together diverse characters who are all trying to find their place in a small Ohio town in 1962. I think what makes this book so enticing is the way the author creates sympathetic characters, especially Tom and Sabrina. I felt that I could connect to them and also to Zephyr as she coped with trying to raise a teenager. The same goes for Mr. Alexander, the church elder who was living a despicable double life. Getting inside his mind made the story come alive.

The author incorporates a range of different emotions throughout the book. First, there was the teenage relationship between Tom and Sabrina, which was well portrayed. The romantic relationship between Beau and Zephyr was nice and unexpected. The slow breakdown and paranoia that plagued Mr. Alexander made him an interesting character. Furthermore, the author’s ability to bring in symbols and sensory detail made this book feel like it had a pulse of its own. It was both mesmerizing and entertaining.

I loved the author’s use of well-known music and songs from the 1960s to recreate the atmosphere of the time and set the tone of the story. I think it is the details that bring this book to life, which is something this author does very well. For me, this was a magical book. The multi-layered story kept me interested until the end.

In short, Summer of Sun and Shadows did not disappoint. It delivered a complex and magical tale of justice, love and finding a new life in an unexpected place, with characters I would love to see again in the future.

Reviewed By:

Author Roger E. Carrier
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 360 pages
Publisher Xlibris Publishing Company
Publish Date
ISBN 9781796046014
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue October 2019
Category Modern Literature


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