The Summer Hideaway by Susan Wiggs
is the 7th book in the Lakeshore Chronicles series.
Before I read this book I glanced at some reviews on GoodReads. I wasn't thrilled that the main character in this book is dying of a brain tumor, as I had just read a few books with characters dying from cancer, car accidents or childbirth. When I read in the summer I like the storylines to be fun beach reads, not serious, sad and dour.
That said, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this book!
The story focuses on George Bellamy, who has an inoperable brain tumor. George decides he wants to spend his last days at Camp Kioga on Willow Lake, where he attended camp as a child. He places an ad on Craigslist for a private care nurse to stay with him while at the camp. He also has an underlying desire to fix up his grandson, Ross Bellamy, who is returning from Afghanistan as a military med-evac.
George also wants to reconcile with his brother, Charles Bellamy, after being estranged from him for over 50+ years. There are a few side stories going on within the book itself. The first of course is focused on George's limited time and reconciling with his brother. In order to learn more about the 'why' they've been estranged for so long, Ms. Wiggs takes us back to when the brothers were young and attended Camp Kioga. I enjoyed these flashback chapters more than I expected to.
The second storyline is about Claire Turner, George's nurse. She has a secret past she's been hiding for many years and hasn't let herself get close to anyone. She's finding herself caring too much for the Bellamy family and letting her emotions get in the way of protecting her past life.
Thirdly is the story of Ross Bellamy dealing with returning from war after being away for two years, facing the fact that his grandfather is dying and the unexxpected attraction he begins to feel for Claire.
My favorite part of this book was the storytelling of George's past and second to that was the secret that Claire is keeping from her past. I didn't feel any real connection between Ross and Claire, so that storyline seemed a bit forced to me.