I received a free copy of Suddenly That Summer by Lori Handeland through TLC Book Tours. All opinions are my own.
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About Suddenly That Summer:
They called it the Summer of Love . . .
For small-town Wisconsin siblings Billy and Jay Johnson, it’s a summer of change, confusion, and self-discovery.
Billy enlists in the army and is soon on his way to Vietnam. The letters and sketches he sends home tell the story of the crack-shot soldier he has become. ‘Slayer’ is a sniper the Vietcong both fear and loathe, an enemy they will never stop hunting. But the more violence Billy sees, the more he kills, the farther he drifts from who he thought he was––or at least who he thought he wanted to be. He draws strength from the friends he makes on his journey and the camaraderie he finds. Billy begins to wonder if he is there for the mission or the men or if, maybe, his mission has become these men.
Jay expects to enjoy the summer with her three lifelong friends, but the Four Musketeers have grown up and grown apart leaving Jay adrift and alone. Then she meets Paul, the dazzling new boy from California, whose anti-war views make her question if things are as cut and dried as she’s been taught. Shouldn’t she be on the same side of this war as her brother, who believes just as strongly in the right of the conflict as the protestors believe in the wrong of it? Torn, Jay struggles to make sense of her lifelong beliefs versus the turning cultural tide when surprising support comes from the friends she thought she’d lost.
From the voice of New York Times bestselling author Lori Handeland, a heartfelt, coming-of-age story that brings back the feelings of innocence, fireworks and fireflies, warm summer sun on your skin––and the moment you realized everything was about to change.
You can purchase Suddenly Last Summer on Amazon.com
About the Author:
Lori Handeland is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with more than 60 published works of fiction to her credit. Her novels, novellas, and short stories span genres from paranormal and urban fantasy to historical and contemporary romance and, most recently, women’s fiction. Just Once (Severn House, January 2019), which is under development by Catalyst Global Media as a feature film, is her women’s fiction debut. Just Once is a richly layered novel about two women who love the same man and how their journeys of loss, grief, sacrifice, and forgiveness intertwine.
Lori set her sight on being an author at the age of ten. She remembers sitting at a typewriter before she knew how to type, pecking out a story about a family who went into space. As an only child, her summers were spent with that typewriter, television, and, above all, books. She recalls thinking that if she could write books of her own, she would never run out of books to read. As a young adult, she got sidetracked by the need to make a living. She worked as a waitress and later enrolled in college to become a teacher.
While student teaching, Lori started reading a life-changing book, How to Write a Romance and Get It Published. Within its pages the author, Kathryn Falk, mentioned Romance Writers of America. There was a local chapter; Lori joined it, dived into learning all about the craft and business, and got busy writing a romance novel. With only five pages completed, she entered a contest where the prize was having an editor at Harlequin read her first chapter. She won.
I will again state that my brain finds it hard to parse “historical fiction” that takes place within my lifetime but I suppose I AM getting old and have lived through some very historical events.
I was 8 in 1967 so I can’t say that I was overly politically aware. What I do know is that my mother’s only brother died in Viet Nam so my family was definitely impacted by that war.
Suddenly That Summer brings the time period alive for the reader as the characters navigate through very trying times. Four close friends who all have to deal with how the war impacts them and changes them.
It is a fast paced, page turning read that keeps you engaged from start to finish. War is never an easy “character” and it’s not here, particularly given the relatively recent nature of this war. Many of us of a certain age have family members who were impacted by the Viet Nam war.
Good stories are welcome no matter the time period in which they occur. Even if, as noted, I find it hard to wrap my head around my own lifetime being part of “history.”