ARC Book Review–The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

Rated 2 stars on Goodreads (it was okay).

I received this book from NetGalley. This review is merely my opinion of the ARC. I was not required nor paid for this review.

I had a hard time getting through this one. One reason is the format. As hard as I try to get into e-books, I just can’t get into them the same way that I get into books. I also felt that this book had a lot of telling in it, making it very tempting to skim.

The overall premise is nothing too new. A girl named Elizabeth Margaret, a.k.a Em, goes to visit her aunt for the summer after graduation. Before this, Em hasn’t even known she had an aunt. Em’s parents are kind of snooty and are pushing her into going to Harvard like her dad. Em isn’t interested in law, however. Her passion is cooking–something her family forbids her from doing. While at her aunt’s bed and breakfast, Em is allowed to help the cook out and exlpore her love for cooking.

Besides her aunt Tilly, Em also meets her cousin, Fredrick. Then there’s the cook, Domino, and two other people who help out at the B&B–Beth and Cade. Em is immediately attracted to Cade, who seems to be hiding something. During the summer, Em is determined to find out why her parents and grandmother refuse to speak to her aunt.

Like I mentioned before, I felt this book did a lot of telling. The writing style didn’t really grab me. I liked several of the characters, but some seemed flat to me. I liked Gwenny, Em’s little sister, a lot in the beginning, but she seemed to lack dimension. I loved the cook, Domino, as well as Aunt Tilly. The other characters just kind of felt flat–including the main character and the love interest.

I did enjoy Em’s passion for cooking and discovering the truth about her family. I loved Em’s relationship with Aunt Tilly, Gwenny, and Domino. But I didn’t really care about her relationship with Cade. I just felt they were “meh.” Nothing exciting. Nothing new. Didn’t really detect the chemistry that was supposed to be between them.

The twist definitely caught me off guard and I enjoyed the ending, even if it felt a little cookie-cutter to me. Overall, this was okay, but probably not something I would pick up again.


J.N. Cahill

Writer. Artist. Dreamer.


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