A Certain Summer: A Novel

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A Certain Summer, book jacketA Certain Summer, Patricia Beard’s first novel, is set in 1948 in “Wauregan,” an idyllic island colony off the shores of Long Island, where the myth and the mystique is that “nothing ever changes here”— the comforting tradition that its summer dwellers have lived by for a century. But in the aftermath of World War II, wounds still fester beneath the surface.

Helen Wadsworth’s husband, Arthur has been declared missing in action during an OSS action in France. She is raising a fourteen-year-old son, who longs to know the truth about his father. Helen turns to Frank Hartman, her husband’s best friend and partner, who has mysteriously returned from the mission during which Arthur disappeared. But across the sandy path behind Helen’s house, is Peter, a handsome Marine, his war dog, Max, and disturbing memories of his experiences in a Japanese prison camp. With her heart pulled in multiple directions, Helen doesn’t know whom to trust—until a shocking discovery forever alters her perception of love and war.


Part mystery, part love story, enlivened by an insider’s view of a private world, A Certain Summer hit home…A really satisfying read…I’m crazy about A Certain Summer.” —Bookreporter.com

Equal parts novel of manners, historical fiction, and quiet examination of social mores, A Certain Summer weaves important questions about class, gender, trauma, and family through its seemingly simple narrative as artfully as an experienced hostess arranges the seating at a dinner table so that conversations flow…Wauregan’s magic prevails…as Wauregan learns that it must change to stay true to its origins.” —The East Hampton Star

Woven into this tale of loss and romance are themes of intrigue, growth, betrayal, psychological trauma, and a fulfilling healing process. Beard’s attention to historical details and understanding of the realities and shortfalls of privilege make this a satisfying…read.” —Publishers Weekly

A richly evocative debut novel…” —Goodreads