Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review & Giveaway: The Summer Garden by Sherryl Woods

The Summer Garden by Sherryl Woods
Series: Chesapeake Shores, Book #9
Published: January 31st, 2012
Publisher: MIRA
376 pages (paperback ARC)
Genre: Adult romance
Acquired this book: Publisher/Planned Television Arts
Warning: may include spoilers
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Falling for "Maddening Moira" O'Malley was the unexpected highlight of Luke O'Brien's Dublin holiday. So when she pays a surprise visit to Chesapeake Shores, Luke is thrilled…at first. A fling with this wild Irish rose is one thing, but forever? Maybe someday, but not when he's totally focused on establishing a business that will prove his mettle to his overachieving family.
Given Luke's reaction, Moira has some soul-searching of her own to do. Scarred by her father's abandonment, she wonders if Luke, with his playboy past, is truly the family man she longs for. Adding to her dilemma, she's offered an amazing chance at a dream career of her own.
Deep down, though, Moira knows home is the real prize, and that love can be every bit as enchanted as a summer garden.

Each of the Chesapeake Shores novels is about a different member of the O’Brien family. The Summer Garden was about Luke, the youngest, and his love Moira. I haven’t read the previous eight books in the series, but figured I’d be safe reading this one since each book is about a different character. 

What I liked:

I love stories that are about families. I love seeing different family dynamics, how family members interact with each other, and I always enjoy scenes with big family gatherings. Even though this was my introduction to the O’Brien family, I think Ms Woods did a good job of giving back story on the secondary characters without going too deep into their stories - they did have their own individual books after all, but I find that a lot of authors spend too much time rehashing in series. I didn’t feel that was the case with book, and I was glad.

I appreciated the fact that Moira challenged Luke. Their relationship wasn’t all sunshine and roses, and that made it more realistic, because they had to work for it.

Nell, Luke’s grandmother and the matriarch of the O’Brien family, reminded me a lot of my Grama - strong, kind, loving, the head of the family, always looking after everyone and taking care of everyone, always giving out the best advice. She was my favorite character.

I really enjoyed the ending. I thought it was sweet and romantic, and a nice way to tie up a series.

What I didn’t like:

Moira in general really irritated me. She was so unsure of herself, always changing her mind about things, and always doubting her decisions. She and Luke had almost the exact same discussion/disagreement/argument throughout the entire book, and I found that exhausting. It was way too repetitive. Also, for a romance novel, I didn’t think there was actually that much romance. Luke and Moira spent so much time arguing about their relationship that it almost ruined what little romance there was.

This is a minor thing, and something that a lot of people might not notice, but I did: Moira’s voice didn’t feel authentic to me. She was Irish, but if we hadn’t seen her in Ireland or been told that she was from Ireland, I wouldn’t have known. Irish people have a very distinctive pattern of speech, and I always love reading books with Irish characters because of that, but it was completely missing in The Summer Garden.

There were a lot of characters. I found it almost impossible to keep them all straight. I’m sure that if I’d read the entire series I might have been able to remember who was who, but I spent a lot of time just trying to remember and keep up.

Overall, I didn't feel this book was really for me. I liked the premise, and it seemed like all the pieces were there, they just didn't really come together for me. I know a lot of other people really enjoyed it though, so if it sounds like something you might be interested in, I encourage you to give it a try! 

Would you like to win a copy of The Summer Garden by Sherryl Woods? The awesome people promoting this book have very kindly given me one copy to give away to a lucky reader! All you have to do to enter is answer the following question in the comments, and leave your name and email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the US, and runs until Friday, March 9th. I will contact the winner after the 10th of March and they will have 48 hours to respond, at which point if I haven't heard from them I'll choose another winner. Good luck!

To enter the giveaway, answer this question:
I'm obsessed with all things Irish, so this question may be a little random, but I'm looking forward to your answers! In The Summer Garden, Luke opens an authentic Irish pub in Chesapeake Shores. Have you ever been to an Irish pub?

An hour east of where I live, there's this amazing Irish pub called Tir Nan Og. The bar itself, like the one in The Summer Garden, actually came from Ireland, and it's made of gorgeous gleaming wood. They serve Irish food, and the inside is decorated with beautiful stained glass, paintings and pictures from Ireland, and all kinds of fun little decorations and ornaments that look like something you'd find in an old Irish country farmhouse. They often have live bands, and a few of the times I've been in there they played all Irish music on the stereo, like U2, The Corrs, and the Cranberries. I love it!


  1. Sounds like a pretty awesome giveaway. I've never been to an Irish pub, but that one that you described sounds really pretty. Apparently there is one where my aunt and uncle live over in England and they took my grandmother there when she visited, though.

    The book sounds relatively interesting, although I can certainly understand being confused coming in at the tale end of a 'series' of romances like that. It's really challenging to keep everything straight in those kinds of books while not constantly repeating stuff, I would assume. (My main experience with them are series that are PNR but I'd assume it's the same issue either way.)

    Anyway, thanks for the great giveaway, Marie!

    Kathy Ann (I know you know I go by Kat, but I always figure there are less Kathy Ann in the world. :p)

    isis_willowsong (at) hotmail (dot) com

  2. Irish pub? Not really a pub kind a girl so no - unless you count Benigans.


  3. Nope. I've seen several around my area, but never have entered one. Maybe some day.
    Thank you!!

  4. No I have not. I too have wondered what a real Irish pub would be like. Their huge pints of ale and U2 blaring...lol awesome.


  5. I've actually been to quite a few Irish pubs and they were all in odd remote foreign countries.:-)
    Thanks for the giveaway!


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