Overall Grade: 3.5 ⭐️
Willow Aster’s Summertime is a sleepy romance that offers up a bit new adult, love triangle, and workplace romance all in one. The story follows Summer, the daughter of a popular Hollywood director. She has just graduated college and has decided to spend the summer with her father in Hollywood in the hopes of rekindling their somewhat estranged relationship. At the airport, she meets Hudson, her father’s assistant director, and she is instantly attracted to him. She is also disappointed that her father isn’t there to greet her. In fact, as her summer begins, her father is mostly focused on making his movie to exclusion of his daughter with the exception that he expects her to work on his film. This continues her disillusionment. Two days into filming, she is photographed with the star of the movie, Liam, and his PR person suggests a fake relationship between them. When her father encourages it, she decides to help Liam, but it complicates her burgeoning feelings for Hudson. Very quickly, Summer finds herself the center of a wicked love triangle.
Here’s the thing. I really enjoy Willow Aster’s romances. There is always some twist or point of view that isn’t obvious. But I struggled with Summertime. I didn’t connect with her characters. Summer struggles to find a voice, and she needs one with her father, Hudson, and even Liam. Yes, there is a happy ending with this story, but there was pall over it for me. Nothing is really as it seems in the story which makes the reader divest themselves from the characters. Additionally, I’m not a fan of stories that have so many plot points that they overwhelm character development, and quite frankly, A LOT happens to Summer in this story. Sometimes, it feels like too much. At the same time, the day-to-day grind crafted into the book causes it to slog on along.
Summer eventually finds her voice, her man, and her happy ending. Unfortunately, getting there takes a bit of time and energy for Willow Aster’s readers. There is just something missing for me with Summertime.
In love and romance,