“Summer Breeze” (Ballantine Books, $26) by Nancy Thayer is set in a beachside community in the Berkshires, near New England's Dragonfly Lake. Thayer is known for her beach novels set in Nantucket, but she chose a new setting for this one.
Natalie Reynolds, a struggling artist, accepts her aunt's offer to housesit her fabulous lakeside house. She will have a year in which she hopes to be able to work on her art without worrying about having to pay bills.
Neighbor Bella Barnaby returns to her hometown to care for her mother and look after the family's shop, Barnaby's Barn. She is in love with an architect named Aaron. He's been offered a job in San Francisco, but Bella loves being back home and doesn't want to move.
Morgan O'Keefe has put her career aside to care for her young son, while her husband holds down a high-powered job with a big corporation. She feels set aside and neglected.
The three women become acquainted, and they lean on each other for support.
Bella decides to remodel the shop and to hang Natalie's pictures. Natalie's brother is into antiques and helps Bella evaluate the furniture her family has had for decades. Bella's brother, Ben, is a loner who has never settled down, but he seems attracted to Natalie.
Romantic entanglements, friendship and homecoming are the gist of the story. It's a great summer read that's not too complicated.
— Betty Lytle
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