The lives of three women intertwine in friendship as they meet during sultry summer days on Massachusetts' Dragonfly Lake. Bella Barnaby has returned home to Dragonfly Lake to help her mother, Louise, after the older woman breaks her leg. Although Bella enjoyed her career as a third-grade teacher in Austin, Texas, she knows that teaching is not her true calling in life. She has traveled and lived in many places; now she hopes to stay on Dragonfly Lake forever. As she tends her mother's rather dated craft and toy shop, Barnaby's Barn, she begins to feel a renewed interest, coming alive in a whole new way as she brainstorms how to make Barnaby's Barn into a viable and fashionable business.
"SUMMER BREEZE lives up to its name as a light and distracting perfect-for-the-beach read."
However, even as she finds a passion in making over the family business, she grapples with romantic problems. Her boyfriend, Aaron, is perfect in every way, but it appears that he will be taking a job in San Francisco --- far from Bella's home, family, and the business she is so interested in reviving. Meanwhile, another man enters the picture. He is not only magnetically attractive but also knowledgeable and helpful to Bella as she explores options for Barnaby's Barn.
Artist Natalie Reynolds is used to living in New York City, where she scraped along with any job she could find in order to study and make art. When her aunt asks her to house-sit her home on Dragonfly Lake, Natalie accepts with pleasure. At last she has the time to paint and draw. As a bonus, the neighbors are friendly and the setting is gorgeous. Louise Barnaby, sidelined with her broken leg, is Natalie's first friend at the lake, inviting her over for a cookout where Natalie meets Louise's handsome son, Ben. When Natalie first sees Ben, she immediately yearns to paint his portrait. Little does she know that Ben Barnaby will be much more to her than a subject for her art work.
Morgan O'Keefe is new to the neighborhood at Dragonfly Lake. She's also new to a style of living that includes being a stay-at-home mom to one-year-old Petey and helping her husband Josh in his new and lucrative job at Bio-Green Industries. Morgan is a scientist specializing in hazardous materials, and she sorely misses her career. They agree, though, that it makes sense for Josh to support the family with his new job, which allows them to live in a breathtaking modern home. Morgan's role is to socialize with Josh's boss and the boss's wife, and to network with people who might invest in the company. However, when Morgan agreed to this new arrangement, she never dreamed that Josh would be working constantly. She and Petey miss his company. Morgan is so lonely, in fact, that when a certain charming man enters her life, she finds him to be irresistible…or nearly so.
Bella, Natalie and Morgan meet and grow close, supporting each other in a warm community of friendship, although misunderstandings and jealousies soon complicate these burgeoning bonds. Nancy Thayer tangles and untangles these intertwining lives warmly but without delving too deeply. Some fans may be slightly disappointed to find less substance than in some of her earlier work (such as STEPPING, THREE WOMEN AT THE WATER'S EDGE and NELL). Still, SUMMER BREEZE lives up to its name as a light and distracting perfect-for-the-beach read.
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on July 6, 2012