A Summer in the Country
By Marcia Willett
(Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9780312287818, 320pp.)
Publication Date: May 2003
Other Editions of This Title: Mass Market Paperback
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Marcia Willett’s previous novel, A Week in Winter, her first to be published in the United States, received a rousing welcome from readers and reviewers alike. Her new novel, A Summer in the Country, introduces an equally beguiling cast of characters whose lives become intricately entwined at Foxhole, a charming and cozy country house on the wild edges of the Devon moors.
Brigid Foster has inherited Foxhole from her father, and has created two guest cottages, which she rents during the holidays to tourists. Brigid’s delight at welcoming Louise Parry, one of her regular summer visitors, is tempered by the irritating presence of Brigid’s monumentally judgmental mother, Frummie. Having abandoned Foxhole (and Brigid) forty years earlier, Frummie makes no secret of her disdain for the glorious natural splendor of her surroundings, nor of her preference for Brigid’s flightly but fabulous half-sister, Jemima. Jemima, meanwhile, has problems of her own.
When a stranger begins lurking in the isolated byways of the lonely countryside, Brigid turns to her oddly elusive father-in-law for comfort and protection. But both Brigid and Louise Parry are hiding certain essential facts, and each woman’s fragile sense of haven and security is threatened by disclosure. A Summer in the Country is the story of the enduring, but often painful love that exists between mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives. It describes with exquisite sensitivity and tenderness the precarious journey each of us undertakes as one generation makes way for the next, as each indelible and priceless relationship grows, changes, blossoms, or dies. Marcia Willett writes novels that will last.
Marcia Willett was the youngest of five girls, born in Somerset, in the west country of England. Her family was unconventional and musical, but Marcia chose to train as a ballet dancer. Unfortunately her body did not develop with the classical proportions demanded by the Royal Ballet, so she studied to be a ballet teacher. Her first husband was a naval officer in the submarine service, with whom she had a son, Charles, now married and training to be a clergyman. Her second husband, Rodney, himself a writer and broadcaster, encouraged Marcia to write novels. Although she has published several novels in England, A Week in Winter was her first novel to be published in the United States. A Summer in the Country is the second.
Praise for Marcia Willett
A Summer in the Country
"A complex tale featuring many fully drawn characters, an engaging plot . . . . vibrant characters, and [an] excellent depiction of the English countryside."
--Booklist (starred review)
"An intriguing relationship drama . . . . an insightful character study."
--Midwest Book Review
A Week in Winter
"Fans of Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy will definitely applaud the introduction of such an enjoyable writer."
"A charming story . . . highly recommended for public libraries everywhere"
"A Week in Winter has all the elements of a perfect summer book . . . it's thoroughly engrossing, with richly drawn characters, a mysterious locale, and a beautifully crafted plot . . . the perfect addition to your summer beach tote."
--The Sun-Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
"Captivating. . . . Set in a wild Cornish landscape that will evoke for readers Rosamunde Pilcher's The Shell Seekers, Willett is a true discovery."
--Michelle Slung, Victoria Magazine
"Like Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy, Willett creates such fully dimensional characters that readers feel as if they should phone or e-mail them to keep in touch."
--Rocky Mountain News
"It is a wonderful moving story of family and values set in the English countryside. It is very reminiscent of the novels of Pilcher and Binchy. I am so glad Ms. Willett is following in their footsteps!"
--Marilyn Sieb, Books & Company