Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Blog Tour: Summer is for Lovers by Jennifer McQuiston (Review + Book Trailer + Giveaway)


Love Saves the World is very, very, very excited to welcome one of my new favorite authors, Jennifer McQuiston and her latest book, Summer is for Lovers.

There is a Tour-Wide Giveaway of two digital copies of What Happens in Scotland, Jennifer McQuiston's debut novel (an amazing, amazing read. Trust me.)

To follow Jennifer's blog tour, click here.

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About the book:

Summer Is For Lovers
By: Jennifer McQuiston
Avon Romance
Release Date: September 24th, 2013

Blurb:

David Cameron has been tricked. After bringing his supposedly ailing mother to Brighton to take the waters, he’s found himself bombarded with young ladies of marriageable age, while his mother has made a marked improvement. Seeking respite from the hordes, he retreats to a beach he hasn’t seen in years -- and finds a woman he’s never quite been able to forget.

Caroline Tolbertson just wants to be left alone. But her mother is determined to see her married off, no matter Caroline’s protests -- or her embarassing lack of suitors. Seeing David Cameron, her childhood crush, again sets her heart racing, but she’s older and wiser now. And no, that wasn’t her heart sinking when David suggested a faux courtship instead of the real thing.

But Caroline has never been very good at following the rules, and the fake attraction soon grows into the real thing. Now Caroline has more scandalous pursuits in mind and David is finding it very hard to say no to his gorgeous friend. Will giving in to temptation send them both down a path they each claim to abhor -- straight to the altar?

Book Trailer:



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My Review:

Caroline is Brighton-born and bred and, thanks to her father's instructions, is an expert ocean swimmer, despite her mother's disapproval. She has discovered a hidden cove where she enjoys her secret passion.

David Cameron tried to kill himself in Brighton twelve years ago but a very young Caroline saved him, masterfully cutting through the waves and treacherous currents and dragging his very drunk person to shore. Now he has returned to Brighton with his mother, who is seeking treatment for consumption. He remembers that night he almost died but what he remembers more vividly is the girl who saved him.

It is summer and Brighton is awash with visitors from London, all anticipating the Queen to vacation there. It is a glorious time for Brighton's business and families but an annoyance for Caroline, who no longer has the privacy of swimming in her beloved waters. Add to that, Caroline knows of her mother's dwindling savings and it is up to her to save the family by marrying well. Her mother hopes she might make a match with one of the young men who are currently visiting Brighton but Caroline knows that the chances of that happening is less than zero. She is too lanky, too tall, with too broad shoulders and too unfashionable clothing to make any sort of favorable impression on anyone.

Until David comes along -- and changes everything for Caroline.

I have a confession to make: I don't know how to swim. I've tried to learn at several points in my life: as a child, as a young adult, and even now as a mom -- but I can't get past the idea of floating. There is something so daunting about being so vulnerable, about letting go and about trusting the water to buoy me up. I think I might be too big, too tense, too afraid, too everything for the water to support me.

Isn't love the same way? And, isn't life? We go through both with such doubts, such fears about how we would fit and be accommodated and the idea of trusting someone or something other than ourselves is a challenge that every person needs to face and eventually overcome.

Jennifer McQuiston's Summer is for Lovers features two characters: one who has embraced and trusted the world and one who has yet to hurdle the obstacle. Swimming is the metaphor that McQuiston utilizes to illustrate the different stages of readiness and acceptance in her characters:

Caroline has only known the ocean and understands the currents, the tides, the waves -- she knows when it is okay to jump in and when it is too dangerous. She also knows when it is okay for others to enjoy the waters. Caroline represents the character who is open to all possibilities but such awareness is also a burden: she is too self-critical and her openness makes her vulnerable to anyone who would seek to harm her.

Then there is David, whose experience of swimming was restricted to the loch in Scotland. The loch has clear boundaries and the waters are quite predictable. David is the character who is only comfortable when he has control over his environment. The event that precipitated his suicide attempt twelve years ago has made David too wary of the "surprises" of life: he would rather live it according to his terms and dictates.

It is Caroline who encourages David to step out of his comfort zone and try something new. It is Caroline who makes David feel something again -- but the feeling reminds him too much of his past that David must wrestle with his instincts of self-preservation.

He had kissed her tonight for no reason other than to show her what a proper kiss could be, to shape her knowledge into something she could use in the future. His point had been made. So why couldn't he stop thinking about her? She finally disappeared from view and he could breathe again. He wanted nothing more than to follow her. To make sure she made it home safely, to be convinced she understood the experience he had offered had been just that: an experience, with no expectation -- or promises -- of anything else.
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The tug-of-war between the two of them continues: there is the attraction that they cannot help but act upon but, at the same time, they realize that what they have can never be. Caroline needs money to secure her family, which David doesn't have and David cannot give Caroline his heart, which he buried twelve years ago. However, Caroline is no stranger to rough waters and she challenges and pushes at David to yield to the possibility of happiness.

"I don't want to dance with someone else," she told him. Her mind, which had been tied up in knots, began to slip free. In fact, it started sliding down the steepest of slopes, tumbling end over end, with only one possible outcome in sight. "I want to dance with you."

He shook his head, a notion that made him appear unexpectedly vulnerable. "Whatever you think of me, whatever misimpression I have fostered, I am sorry. Truly, I am." His voice had gone hoarse, and she latched on to the regret that hung in his words with all the finesse of a drowning woman. "But I am not a worthy partner for you, Caroline. I am just trying to help --"
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The pivotal moment in their relationship comes during the annual swimming competition, the pot money for the year had been increased substantially and Caroline knows that if she wins it, the prize would keep her family afloat a while longer -- but, how could she? A female? The competition happens when Caroline is already fielding the attention of several eligible men. Winning would delay the inevitable but it would still be inevitable -- but the idea that she had more say in when and whom is just so very tempting to Caroline. David encourages her to join but she cannot jeopardize her reputation to win it, so he offers to swim in her stead. They would split the money and all Caroline needs to do is teach David her special stroke.

It may seem that, throughout the novel, it is Caroline leading the way with David following -- but theirs is actually a very equal relationship: both have something to offer the other. David showed Caroline and the whole of Brighton who she was: the beautiful person hiding behind the old clothes and the salt-sticky hair. (Read: Chapter 9, David's conversation with Dermott, Branson and Hamilton about Caroline.)

She was swimming, for the first time since her father's death, with someone else. Someone who wasn't judging her. Someone who made her laugh.

Someone who made her want.
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Jennifer McQuiston's debut novel was fun and lighthearted, Summer is for Lovers raises the emotional bar up a notch: like the waves, this story will surge and swell with David and Caroline's tentative explorations, will roll and crash with their heartache and confrontation and will leave you breathless and excited when things finally fall into place for them. The author continues to blaze her own trail in the world of romance with her very unique perspective and stories. This one is definitely a keeper.

Final note: Following the swimming metaphor, there is actually a third group of swimmers: the females who, because society has deemed them too delicate for the open sea (and whose swimming attires were considered too scandalous for the public), indulge in a "sea bath" via bathing machines. They are made to believe that it is adventurous and athletic -- that it is sufficient. It is an interesting commentary on a woman's very fixed place during that period.

"Some women are quite frightened by the ferocity of the waves, miss," the attendant explained as he opened the door to the yellow box. Up close, the bathing machine appeared even less hopeful than it had from a distance. The paint was peeling off in large swaths, revealing tedious, weather-beaten wood beneath.

Even the horses hitched to the front appeared bored.

The man motioned to a red flag that lay against the outside of the house. "If you become overwrought, you needn't stay out your entire allotted time. Just pull the rope inside to signal the flag, and we'll send the driver out, straight away."
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Disclosure: I received this book via Edelweiss as part of the book tour. Thank you to Tasty Book Tours, Avon and to Jennifer McQuiston for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.

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Author Info:

A veterinarian and infectious disease researcher by training, Jennifer McQuiston has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, their two girls, and an odd assortment of pets, including the pony she promised her children if mommy ever got a book deal.

Jennifer can be reached via her website at www.jenmcquiston.com or followed on Twitter @jenmcqwrites.

Author Links

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There is a Tour-Wide Giveaway of TWO digital copies of What Happens in Scotland, Jennifer McQuiston's debut novel (and an amazing, amazing read. Trust me.) To follow Jennifer's blog tour, click here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

14 comments:

  1. This book is great isn't it!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tin, thank you so much for having me on for the blog tour! I actually got all weepy when I read your review. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. great book , would love to win

    debredevil@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. sounds like a great book, and one I'll have to read, especially since I have a soft spot for all things scottish!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Congratulations on the publication of Summer Is For Lovers! It sounds like a wonderful book. Lovely cover. Thanks for the giveaway.
    bhometchko(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi, Jennifer and Lisa! As always, my whole-hearted appreciation for the opportunity to be part of the tour. Jennifer, this book blew me away! (Now I can't decide which one i loved more -- What Happens or this one.)

    Hi, BookLady, Rachel, Debbie and Phaxx027, thank you for helping me welcome Jennifer to my blog with your comments! Good luck with the giveaway!

    Have a great day, all!

    ReplyDelete
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