Summer's Road Reviewed By Gordon Osmond of
Gordon Osmond

Reviewer Gordon Osmond : Gordon is a produced and award-winning playwright and author of: So You Think You Know English--A Guide to English for Those Who Think They Don't Need One, Wet Firecrackers--The Unauthorized Autobiography of Gordon Osmond and his debut novel Slipping on Stardust.

He has reviewed books and stageplays for and for the Bertha Klausner International Literary Agency. He is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School and practiced law on Wall Street for many years before concentrating on writing fiction and non-fiction. You can find out more about Gordon by clicking HERE

Gordon can also be heard on the Electic Authors Showcase.

By Gordon Osmond
Published on June 29, 2011

Author:Kelly Moran

Publisher:The Wild Rose Press
ISBN: 1-60154-878-8

Click Here To Purchase Summer's Road

Author:Kelly Moran

Publisher:The Wild Rose Press
ISBN:  1-60154-878-8

As befits a tale of challenge and conflict, Summer's Road travels uphill—a direction that is confirmed by the book's bucolic cover. Abandoned virtually at birth by her mother and having lost her father to cancer in her twenties, Summer Quinn, of the Wylie, South Carolina Quinns, may not strictly qualify as an orphan, but she certainly behaves as if she considers herself one.

On the asset side of her personal balance sheet, however, Summer possesses talent and energy as a painter, teacher, and later, entrepreneur, a group of loyal and supportive friends, and not one, but two handsome and single men who are totally devoted to her. Summer is also generous, kindhearted, and selfless in her philanthropic endeavors. Although less important, I believe I counted no fewer than three vehicles at her disposal.

If Summer were to dismiss the past as irrevocable and press on with her pleasant present and promising future, we'd have a very short book. So Summer struggles with her continuing obsession with the past, which is facilitated by the sudden appearance after 28 years of her mother. The story is further extended by Summer's "failure to communicate," which makes transmissions between Cool Hand Luke and his guards seem telepathic by comparison.

While awaiting the motivation and consequences of her mother's visit, Summer busies herself with her professional pursuits and her personal life. The latter is coming to a bit of a boil because of job decisions that must be made by one of her suitors and sexual frustrations that are emerging in the other, not to mention in Summer herself.

Summer's Road has many of the trappings of a beach-read romance novel, including a fair sampling of trite and overused expressions. (The rivalry between the two who would win Summer is hardly ennobled by referring to it as a "pissing contest.") And, indeed certain scenes featuring the chronically shirtless boy next door bring to mind book covers featuring Fabio Lanzoni. The sex episodes with the temperature-appropriate Summer, though never even close to pornographic, frequently approach the prurient, which actually contrasts nicely with the somewhat puritanical leanings of not only Summer but even more with those of her other boyfriend. What marginally elevates the book above this genre is the psychological complexity of its heroine, which is nicely explored in the final chapters of the novel.

Without disclosing the details of the Martha Stewart tidiness of the book's conclusion, it should be noted that in respect to the critical tension generated by the mother's visit, the author tricks rather than teases the reader, and at other times dialogue and events are severely lacking in credibility. Summer asking herself "what did I do?" (when in diapers) to drive her mother away needs rethinking. Also, the vagueness of antecedents for pronouns and imperfectly placed modifiers often slow the flow of the narrative. Finally, words like "kinda" and "gonna" are fine for dialogue but fit uncomfortably in the authorial voice.

In the last analysis, Summer is a fascinating contradiction of strengths and weaknesses, and reading about her personal struggles and her sex life could well provide diversionary pleasures of various kinds to many.

Among Summer's fascinations is her age at the time her tale is told. The weight of evidence suggests 28, but in the chronological notes of some chapters it ranges from 24 to 26.

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