BOOK REVIEW: Seven Summer Weekends

Seven Summer Weekends by Jane Rosen

Seven Summer Weekends

by Jane L. Rosen


Looking to escape the everyday? Try some time away. Or better yet, spend “Seven Summer Weekends” with Islander and author Jane Rosen in the fictional Fire Island town of Bay Harbor.

A screenwriter of romcoms before she turned her talent to novels, Rosen dishes out what she calls “literary comfort food” in her new tome. A mix of meet-cute, kiss-kiss, I-hate-you, I can’t-live-without-you.  

Addison Irwin, age 34 and counting — is it too late for marriage and family? — is so sure of a step up at the ad firm where she works, she even has the champagne glasses out. Instead, after a 10-year career as a graphic artist, she’s out on her linen capris. What’s a girl to do?

Enter Aunt Gicky. Well, actually Gicky’s will. The woman, barely known to her niece, has left her the keys — and summer guest list — to her Fire Island house. Should Addison keep this pricey piece of real estate, or sell? Her dilemma becomes more complicated by the oh, so attractive — and annoying — widower, Ben Morse, of Rosen’s previous, “On Fire Island.” She  cleverly assigns the authorship of that novel to Ben. A nice twist that has twenty-something fan girls aswoon for an autograph. He signs his name where!? Addison is swooning too, but she can’t admit it. Yet.

Also back again, is Shep Silver, shooting from the lip with his usual tactless good humor: “It’s not funny son,” he tells Ben when he thinks his friend is enjoying too much of a good thing. “You’re a little loose with the goods. I worry you’re gonna get the clap.”

There’s an energy to the writing, the mood upbeat and lively as guests appear for their stays. “I’m Margot, the gray-haired woman said, pushing the door open with her hip and wheeling in her bag,” making herself right at home in Addison’s new home. “Hello. I’m Paresh, Gicky sent me,” says Auntie’s lover upon arrival.

Addison learns a lot about her artist aunt from her quirky bunch of invitees. And about the “Terrible Big Trouble,” the unexplained rift between her father and his sister that has kept the family apart for decades.

Goal oriented, focused, a no-nonsense kind of gal (and a little uptight), “It’s Addison!” she bristles when Shep and Ben insist on calling her Addie. But away from the hustle and demands of big city life where folks get around on bikes instead of taxis, she’s more relaxed, more contemplative.

Taking up some clay and a sculpting tool in her aunt’s studio, she taps into her creativity.  “… [L]ost in the clay, lost in herself … again and again, she became completely absorbed … a connection she had not felt … even creating her most successful ad campaign.”

The off again, on again romance between her and Ben builds throughout the book. Still pining for his wife, Ben’s cautious about getting emotionally involved with Addison. And Addison, having had failed romances, is also shy about a committed relationship. Affecting scenes show their hesitation and embarrassment about revealing how much they do care about each other. 

There is fun aplenty in Bay Harbor at an “Over and Under” softball game where Addison becomes a star-hitter; a dance-all-night at the Ice Palace in Cherry Grove. A contract on a clamshell? And a funny recurring bit about Addison trying, and failing, to replicate her aunt’s famous scones — even Ben’s dog won’t have them. She never guesses — nor will you! — the secret ingredient.  

Oh! And the “Big Terrible Trouble” that had her aunt banished from the family circle and into the soup? I don’t want to give it all away, but it has to do with a reveal at a Passover seder. All that Manischewitz and matzoh … things can get pretty intense.

There you have it. Family drama; romance; confusion and misunderstandings. And, most important, new beginnings. “Seven Summer Weekends” has it all. So, ring up Addie — we’re besties now — maybe she’ll book you in for an eighth summer weekend.