PAGES: 456


YEAR: 2012




Antoinette’s world has fallen apart: her husband, the man she loved for as long as she can remember, has died tragically in an accident. He was her rock, the man she turned to for love and support, the man she knew better than she knew herself. Or at least she thought – 

For as she arrives at the familiar old stone church for George’s funeral, she sees a woman she has never met before. 

Phaedra loved George as well, and she could not bear to stay away from his funeral. But as she sits before his wife, she knows that what she is about to reveal will change all their lives forever.   


The beginning of March had been glorious. The earth had sunken off the early-morning frosts and little buds had emerged through the hardened bark to reveal lime-green shoots and pale-pink blossom. Daffodils had pushed their way up through the thawing ground to open into bright-yellow trumpets, and the sun had shone with renewed radiance. Birdsong filled the air and the branches were once again aquiver with the bustle of nest-building. It had been a triumphant start to spring. 


I thought The Summer House was okay. I didn’t find it anything special. It’s no better or worse than anything else I’ve read. I just couldn’t get on board with any of the upper class, aristocratic characters. I didn’t think the plot was very original. Montefiore just rehashes a story that’s been told a thousand times before in a familiar way. An author really needs to do better than The Summer House to impress me.


I found the title was a bit on the boring side. It wasn’t very interesting or inspirational. I picked the book up in the library because I’ve read interviews with Montefiore and rave reviews of her work in various magazines. She could have thought of something more interesting than The Summer House.

I really struggled to get on with any of the characters in The Summer House. I only really enjoy a book if I can relate to the characters in some way. It can be something very small but it needs to be there. Montefiore’s characters are all upper class aristocrats. I didn’t like any of them very much. I found it hard to feel any really sympathy for people with so much money and status they were detached from most of reality. I found something flat and unbelievable about most of them. They were all quite superficial. I don’t even want to get started on what a stupid name Phaedra is for someone. Montefiore gets the thumbs down for her characters.

The plot in The Summer House was okay but not very original. The front cover hints at hidden pasts… forbidden love. This isn’t quite accurate. Montefiore offers us her version of an often told tale of infidelity. Phaedra is the other woman in George’s life. The mistress turning up at her dead lover’s funeral and introducing herself to the grieving wife – I’m sure I’ve read that one a few times before. Montefiore injects a bit of originality by having Phaedra pose as George’s daughter at first but not enough to make it work for me. Another thumbs down.

I enjoyed some of the scenes in The Summer House, especially in the first 300 pages. I enjoyed the bits where Phaedra started to develop a relationship with her ‘new family’. They invite her to various outings including the reading of George’s will, their holiday home and the mansion. I thought these bits were nice. Phaedra and George’s son David are attracted to each other. David believes she is his half-sister and fights this attraction. I though these bits were very well written. It’s not very often an author tackles the subject of incest and Montefiore pulls this off without making it creepy.

I was disappointed when Montefiore reveals Phaedra is actually George’s daughter. I liked the way this was revealed. George’s creepy lawyer sends a DVD to Antoinette of her husband’s fatal hiking trip that shows him speaking to someone on the phone he clearly loves. The lawyer sent the DVD because Phaedra rejected him and she confesses the truth. I liked the way this was written. I was disappointed because I’d suspected for while Phaedra was his mistress and wanted Montefiore to prove me wrong. I felt that by revealing Phaedra was the mistress Montefiore choose the obvious and dull way out. I would have enjoyed The Summer House much better if Phaedra had been his daughter who was just after her inheritance or if the whole thing was a scam concocted by Phaedra and the lawyer. I felt Montefiore chose a boring route.

The ending made me want to hurl. Montefiore went for a twee ‘they all lived happy ever after ‘approach. Phaedra  and David get married and live in the mansion. I wanted to puke at all the rosy happiness. I don’t think over-happy endings. I like things to be more ambiguous.

I was quite disappointed by Montefiore’s style of writing. I felt she used far too much description at times. This was especially obvious in the descriptions of the scenery. I really don’t need an author to give me a vivid picture postcard image in my head of the garden and the bedroom and every other location. Montefiore reveals her characters thoughts and emotions far too much. It was all a bit too heavy handed for me.


The Summer House didn’t quite work for me. I thought the characters were insipid and paper-thin. I found the plot pretty run of the mill except in a few areas. I wasn’t very impressed by Montefiore’s style of writing. I found The Summer House so-so. I’ve read much better but a lot worse. I don’t know if I would read any more of Montefiore’s work.




17 Comments Add yours

  1. Margaret Langford says:

    Grrrrooan, I picked this book up in a hotel where we were staying in very rural Italy and suffered through it because I didn’t have anything else to read. I found it truly dreadful, full of clichés with unconvincing characters who all turn out to be nauseatingly nice even if they started out as potentially crusty and with a very predictable plot. The very worst bit was the DVD of George’s telephone call – as if he would allow such a personal and intimate telephone call to be recorded! What really shocked me is that the author is married to Simon Sebag Montefiore whose books I have read and admire. How can he live with a woman who writes such dreary fluff?

  2. Howdy! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!|

  3. It’s an amazing paragraph designed for all the online people; they will obtain advantage from it I am sure.|

  4. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who had been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me lunch due to the fact that I discovered it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to talk about this topic here on your internet site.|

  5. What’s up it’s me, I am also visiting this site daily, this web site is in fact pleasant and the users are in fact sharing nice thoughts.|

  6. Amazing! Its truly amazing post, I have got much clear idea concerning from this piece of writing.|
    serviced office

  7. If you want to improve your know-how just keep visiting this web site and be updated with the latest news posted here.|

  8. Simply wish to say your article is as surprising. The clearness on your post is just excellent and i could suppose you are a professional on this subject. Well together with your permission let me to snatch your feed to stay up to date with coming near near post. Thank you one million and please keep up the enjoyable work.|

  9. I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your weblog. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility issues? A small number of my blog readers have complained about my website not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any solutions to help fix this problem?|
    singapore serviced office

  10. says:

    Very soon this web page will be famous among all blogging users, due to it’s good articles|

  11. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my website thus i came to “return the favor”.I am attempting to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!|

  12. hello there and thank you for your information – I have certainly picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise several technical points using this web site, since I experienced to reload the site lots of times previous to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but slow loading instances times will very frequently affect your placement in google and can damage your quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I am adding this RSS to my email and can look out for much more of your respective fascinating content. Make sure you update this again soon.|

  13. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!|
    serviced office

  14. seo says:

    great submit, very informative. I ponder why the opposite experts of this sector don’t understand this. You must continue your writing. I’m sure, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!|

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.