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.
May 6, 2012