Review of The Summer Guest by Emma Hannigan

Published: 31st July 2014
Publisher: Headline
Pages: 448


Lexie and her husband Sam have spent years lovingly restoring No. 3 Cashel Square to its former glory. So imagine Lexie’s delight when a stranger knocks on the door, asking to see the house she was born in over sixty years ago.

Kathleen is visiting from America, longing to see her childhood home… and longing for distraction from the grief of losing her husband. And as Lexie and Sam battle over whether or not to have a baby and Kathleen struggles with her loss, the two women realise their unexpected friendship will touch them in ways neither could have imagined.

In Caracove, there’s more than a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.


Thank you to Headline for kindly sending me a review copy. I recently became a fan of Emma’s after I read her previous novel Perfect Wives and I was incredibly touched by her own personal story. I fell in love with her ability to create such beautiful, realistic characters so naturally, I wanted to read more of her work.

The blurb had me very intrigued as to how these three individual women would form a bond over a house. I thought that the general concept of the plot was brilliant and that was before I’d even read the first page. Lexi has a morning ritual: coffee, the news, breakfast with her husband and then more coffee. I liked that the main character had stability and it showed how strong of a young woman she was. I also enjoyed that we were taken back in time a little bit to understand how Lexi and her husband Sam met. Their relationship was simple and I found myself easily falling into step with them. Their love for one another can at such ease and I could sense their admiration for each another a mile off.

When we met Kathleen and Amelie (Lexi’s niece) for the first time, I became fully involved with the narrative and allowed it to take over my mind. These three women are very strong in their own individual ways, despite them not even realising it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Lexi, Kathleen and Amelie. When they grouped together with Kathleen, their bond got off to a fantastic start and soon enough, they became a wonderful trio. There are a lot of secrets to be told within the narrative and Emma delivers them at the perfect moments. The three women become each other’s support system and it was absolutely beautiful to see how a friendship between Lexi and Kathleen was created over a simple thing such as a house.

Emma’s writing style comforted me and I felt as if I’d known the characters for several years – it was almost as if I was their summer guest. The epilogue came at a surprise and I found myself gasping for breath – what a shock! The only problem I had with the narrative is that I thought the dialogue could have been cut short at times. I wanted to be shown the character’s feelings instead of being told how they felt. I wanted to imagine their faces for myself, rather than have the work being done for me.

Twitter: @MsEmmaHannigan
Website: www.emmahannigan.com