Monday, September 13, 2010

Review: One Season of Sunshine

Summary: Adopted as an infant, Jane Aaron longs to know the identity of her birth mother and why she gave her up. Her only clue is the name of the small Texas town where she was born, so she's come to Cedar Springs for answers.

Handsome ad executive Asher Price lost his wife, the beautiful, mysterious Susanna, in a terrible car crash eighteen months ago. When he hires Jane as the nanny for his two children, sparks fly. Jane finds herself falling in love with both Asher and his children, but begins to suspect that Susanna was not the perfect mother and wife the family portrays her to have been. 

As Jane gets closer and closer to finding out the truth about both her own and Susanna's past, devastating secrets begin to emerge that may be more than anyone can bear. Will the truth bring Jane and Asher closer together or tear them apart forever? -- Pocket Book

It really seems like I've been reading quite a few books lately that aren't exactly in my comfort zone. The latest one was ONE SEASON OF SUNSHINE by Julia London. I was a little bit worried that this book might be too much of a romance story for me because Ms. London is a bestselling author of historical romance books; however, I found that this novel was more contemporary women's fiction. Naturally, there was some romance thrown in too, but overall, it was a story about family, adoption, and discovering one's self.

I enjoyed ONE SEASON OF SUNSHINE a great deal. I probably wouldn't go so far as to say that I loved it, but I think it was an enjoyable read and I know the story and the characters will appeal to many women. I found that, while I liked Jane's character most of the time, I didn't always understand her. That's not to say that she wasn't interesting and complex because she certainly was. I'm just saying that I didn't find myself relating to her for much of the story. Of course, I am much older than Jane and I wasn't adopted so I don't know why I even expected to find things in common with her!

When ONE SEASON OF SUNSHINE began, Jane was definitely at a crossroads in her life. Despite having a wonderful and supportive family, she longed to find out about her natural mother. She so desperately wanted to learn about herself that she was willing to quit her job, leave her long-time boyfriend and move away from her family. My heart went out to her because Jane was so sure that discovering the identity of her "real" mother would help her understand herself. Like Jane's adopted mother, I had a feeling that she was setting herself up for some disappointment, but sometimes people just have to discover things on their own, right?

I found Jane's story to be entertaining, but I thoroughly enjoyed how she evolved throughout this story. By the end of the novel, she had really matured and become much more accepting of herself. I think discovering things about her past certainly helped her reach that level, but I also think her relationship with Asher and his children allowed Jane to find some peace and happiness in her life.

Another thing I appreciated about this novel was how the story unfolded. While parts of the book were rather predictable -- namely the romance parts, there were a few twists and turns and even some surprises thrown in! I wasn't totally shocked with the ending or the mystery surrounding Jane's mother, but I did enjoy the ride that the author took me on to get there.

ONE SEASON OF SUNSHINE would make a great pick for book clubs who enjoy books with a little romance (but not too much) and/or contemporary women's fiction. There is a reader's guide included in the back of the book with twelve good discussion questions. Some of the topics include adoptions, the definition of family, mental illness, love, marriage, privacy, forgiveness, acceptance, fresh starts, and self awareness.

Thanks to the publisher for sending a review copy of this book.


Anonymous said...

I also enjoyed this book!

I sometimes wonder about the line between romance and contemporary women's fiction-- I think there are several authors that weave back and forth around it.

bermudaonion said...

I don't mind some romance in a book as long as there are other things to compel the story along.

RAnn said...

This looks like a winner (off to add to list)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

It sounds pretty interesting. That whole compulsion to find the birth mother must really kill adoptive parents.

Anonymous said...

This looks like one I'd really enjoy. I'll have to look for it.