The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen

May 6, 2012

During the summer of 1979 Letty and her three children returned to their island home in the Hebrides following the mysterious death of her husband, Nicky, a diplomat with the British Embassy in Bonn.  All four struggle to come to grips with the loss of a beloved husband and father.  Letty has become dysfunctional by torment over accusations that Nicky committed suicide following a failed attempt at espionage in East Germany.  Georgie, age 17, is waiting for her life to begin but is plagued with memories; Alba, at 15, is angry and vents it primarily on her seven-year-old brother, Jamie, who was not told that his father had died, just that he was “away.”  Jamie is committed to finding his father who promised him a trip to the circus the day before his death.  Dada never broke a promise.  These characters, along with their neighbors make up an interesting cast for a well-woven tale of loss, grief, and family.  This sometimes whimsical tale about three “unparented” children learning to cope with loss and growing pains, may not appeal to readers who enjoy a quick read that is plot-driven and simple.  Summer of the Bear  is brimming with character development in an interesting, often forgotten, part of the world.

Reviewed by Jed D.
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