Touted as a delight for fans of Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy,
A SUMMER IN THE COUNTRY is a disappointment. Author Marcia Willett
paints a lovely setting in the English countryside, but the plot
and characters stretch the reader's patience. At 375 pages, this
book could have been tightened up with much more success to under
The plot involves several women who end up together in Devon. One
lives there, her estranged mother and sister are nearby, and a
friend, Louise, comes for what is supposed to be a short visit.
Each is in a crisis, and it comes to a head when Louise is
visiting. While their relationships to each other are complicated,
they find a way to lean on each other to get through the
Two of the women are treated badly by men to a ridiculous point.
Readers will wonder why they cannot find other fulfillment, such as
in a satisfying hobby, a career, or at least some self-respect.
Indeed this eventually does happen, though to a degree that is less
than satisfying. The approach to the women and their relationships
with men seem dated with this problem. Dr. Phil would make short
work of these women.
The mother is the best character, as she changes and develops in
her troubled relationship with Brigid throughout the book. Other
minor characters, such as Brigid's father-in-law, enter the picture
as well to add some color.
Sadly, A SUMMER IN THE COUNTRY ties up fairly neatly the four
women's lives, though readers who make it to the end may find that
Reviewed by Amy Alessio on January 23, 2011
A Summer in the Country