28 Summers

- Elin Hilderbrand


Their secret love affair has lasted for decades — but this could be the summer that changes everything.

When Mallory Blessing’s son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he’s not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It’s the late spring of 2020 and Jake’s wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election.

There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other?

Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother’s bachelor party. Cooper’s friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere — through marriage, children, and Ursula’s stratospheric political rise — until Mallory learns she’s dying.



What are we talking about in 2020? Kobe Bryant, Covid-19, social distancing, Zoom, TikTok, Navarro cheerleading, and… The presidential election. A country divided. Opinions on both sides.



This is not a new or unique plot, but it is well-written and enjoyable. Each chapter covers a summer in a new year and feels too short. The narrative changes enough to stay interesting but not too often to become confusing.

The only frustrating part preventing me from rating higher than three stars is the implausibility. If any of these characters were more intelligent or had higher self-esteem, there wouldn’t even be a story to tell here. I get that humans are not perfect and make mistakes, but this takes it to the extreme. Jake stays married to a woman who makes him extremely miserable because, well, I’m not sure why. Because she was friends with his sister? Because she asked him to propose? Because she was around? Mallory spends most of her life alone outside of one night stands or short flings because of three days every year that she spends the same way, down to the meals and movie. Jake becomes increasingly paranoid about being seen with Mallory and ignores her the other 362 days of the year. All while Coop marries multiple women and never honestly confronts his former best friend or sister about what they’re doing but still lies to cover for them.

If you suspend disbelief that all of these lies and inconsistencies and rules hold (because no one has ever had a last-minute plan or emergency on the labour day weekend for 28 years…), this read is delightful. I liked that each chapter started by helping to place you into that year, that it mirrored the real world and covered the Kavanaugh senate appointment in its way. I also appreciated that not all of the characters were likeable all of the time – some of them were not likeable at all (looking at you, Leland).

Yes, I would recommend this book as a beach or summer read, as an easy chick lit romantic comedy. Just relax and go along with the story, don’t try to delve too deep for realism.


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