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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"One Summer"

by David Baldacci, AF, 2011, Playaway digital audio, 8hrs, rating=4

It's almost Christmas, but there is no joy in the house of terminally ill Jack and his family. With only a short time left to live, he spends his last days preparing to say goodbye to his devoted wife, Lizzie, and their three children. Then, unthinkably, tragedy strikes again: Lizzie is killed in a car accident. With no one able to care for them, the children are separated from each other and sent to live with family members around the country. Just when all seems lost, Jack begins to recover in a miraculous turn of events. He rises from what should have been his deathbed, determined to bring his fractured family back together. Struggling to rebuild their lives after Lizzie's death, he reunites everyone at Lizzie's childhood home on the oceanfront in South Carolina. And there, over one unforgettable summer, Jack will begins to learn to love again, and he and his children will learn how to become a family once more. (case cover)

I have a confession. When I browse my library, I often don't read the blurbs before reading a book. I scan for key words and mainly go by author, the look of the bookcover, or thickness of the book. Maybe pretty shallow, but that's what I do.  Usually more hits than misses ... here's an example of a hit. :)

Wow, what a heartwrenching story!  I'm glad I didn't read the blurb because listening to it without knowing the premise gave an element of surprise and excitement to the experience.  Anyway, from the start you are introduced to a devastating news.  Jack Armstrong has a terminal disease and trying to hold on until Christmas.  Christmas eve rolls around and Jack is ready to go ... love letters written, accepted his fate ... but BAM! his wife Lizzie ends up getting killed in a car accident on the way back from picking up Jack's medicine.  You can imagine the "Oh no!" gasp going through my head when the police officers came knocking on Jack's door.  Then as the story continues, Jack makes it to the funeral and soon prepares to die alone because his mother-in-law saw it fit for her grandchildren to find new homes in order to spare them of watching their father die.  Little did anyone know that Jack would make a complete recovery, "Miracle Man" as he later would be coined.  So the next step was for Jack to get his children back and fulfill a promise he made to his wife.  There in the "Palace" the Armstrong family learns to heal and bond.

You can guess that this entailed a love story between husband and wife.  But it extended beyond that.  This tale involved immediate family and extended family as understandably when a tragedy hits.  An array of emotions were bounced around and I found myself attached to basically all the characters.  So much so that many tears were shed from my end.  Because as you know, I'm a sucker for books that tug the heart. ;)

I like that this book was a lot about father-daughter relationship.  It was a beautiful account!  It's the ultimate, I'm a daddy's girl fuzzy feeling. 

Overall, Mr. Baldacci did a great job at creating a second chance story with the right amount of fluff.  I can imagine that this may give someone who has lost a loved one a bit of a good cry. 


  1. Thanks for the great review! I might give Mr. Baldacci another try. For awhile, I thought he'd grown stale. He lives in Virginia, a few counties from me, and openly employs writers to help him out. I have mixed feelings about that.

  2. This is the first of Mr Baldacci's that I've read. It seemed out of his usual ..from browsing on his other work.. but this looked girly so I gave it a shot. --Didn't know that about him ..I didn't know that kind of stuff happens. Wow, that's cheating isn't it?


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