TITLE: Summer Island
AUTHOR: Natalie Normann
RELEASED: June 24, 2020
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter
FORMAT: eARC [thank you!]
GOODREADS RATING: 3.68
TRIGGERS: mention of abortion [briefly]
He never meant to stay.
He certainly never meant to fall in love…
Summer Island off the coast of Norway was the place London chef Jack Greene should have been from. He’s an outsider in the community that should have been his family, and now he’s setting foot on the strange land he has inherited for the first time.
The welcome is a mix of distrust and strange gifts of food, especially from enigmatic Ninni Toft, his nearest neighbour, who has arrived for the season to get over a broken heart. Her wild spirit and irrepressible enthusiasm for the quirky locals are a heady brew for city-boy Jack, who is discovering the simple pleasures of island life – and what it means to belong. To a place. To a people. To one person in particular…
Home is where the heart is, but is Jack’s heart with the career he left behind in London, or on the wind-swept shores of Summer Island, with Ninni?
You know me by now. Sometimes I get in this mood where I need fluffy romance and.. then I actually need it. The feeling is not to be refused or ignored or whatever. So.. When it popped up again, I immediately jumped at the chance to pick up this fun-sounding book! A chef? Set in Norway? I was so curious about it!
Like I just said, this book is set in Norway and I don’t think I’ve read many books set in that country so far? It added a lot to the story because the author included a ton of Norwegian things – food mentioned, customs, habits, explaining the culture and.. so much more. I was being immersed in all things Norway and loved it. Especially the way it got done! We simply get to know all these things through one of the main character’s setting foot in Norway for the very first time because he inherited some land. Like.. It added something to this story that I feel.. I might miss in other romance books from now on? I don’t know. We’ll see, I guess, haha.
There’s this short moment where Jack is.. pretty much being a Peeping Tom and thinking a certain phrase that’s very much on the side of “objectifying women”. The simple fact that I highlighted it and put a note in says plenty about how I felt at that time, I guess? Didn’t really appreciate it and.. maybe that shouldn’t have happened..
But, the main thing I think fell short is the lack of romantic or sexual tension. You know the way romance novels tend to build up to a first kiss or their ‘first time’? I didn’t feel that tension, or something akin to cuteness, at all while reading Summer Island and it’s such a shame too! I feel like the author was trying and I would’ve enjoyed this one way better if she had succeeded..
If you’re interested in Norwegian culture and want a romance to go with it, this might definitely be the book for you! And you might even get hungry, with one of the main characters being a chef and all..
What’s a novel drenched in a certain culture you thoroughly enjoyed?
What’s a custom in your culture you love and wish was shared / talked about more?