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Summer in February

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  410 ratings  ·  76 reviews
While making a speech attacking modern art, Sir Alfred Munnings is taken back 40 years to a special time and place. Major Evans, listening to him on the radio, is also flooded with memories, and wonders how everything changed in both their lives.
Paperback, 356 pages
Published February 1st 1996 by Little, Brown Book Group (first published 1995)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,360)
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Maha Maged
في وجهة نظري الأجدر بالحب أن يكون ناضجا عاقلا منطقيا ، يقولون أن الرجل عندما يحب يتحول لطفلٍ صغير لا يعي ما يفعل باسم الحب و لكن ثمة فرق كبير بين رجل رزين حوله الحب لطفل ،و بين رجل مراهق حوله الحب لمراهق أكثر خطورة يبني حبه علي أسس ضعيفة جنونية

وللأسف النوع الثاني من الرجال قد يلفت الانتباه أكثر و قد يعجب الكثير من الفتيات و يرضي غرورهن ، هذا بالظبط ما حدث هذه الرواية التي تأخذنا في جولة في حياة ألفريد مونينجز أعظم فناني بريطانية و صديقه المقرب جيلبيرت . على الرغم من نشأته في أسرة عاملة مكافحة إ
Lovely descriptions of the Cornish landscape.
A sad and tragic story of the artists in Lamorna.
I really felt for Captain Evans who's love for Florence which could never be shown after her marriage to Alfred Munnings.
Would love to see the film.
If you love art and paintings , this is based on actual people from the turn of the century.
Damien Mosley
Beautiful and delicate. I just finished it and am filled with that wave of loss and tragedy that exudes a truly beautiful book. Have I used beautiful twice? Well perhaps that is because it is the most apt description. From the Cornish coastal setting to the gentle build and affection the book brought out in me. What it does so well is know how to build and then not to linger. To move the story on and not dwell when love has been achieved. And though I normally do not like a sad ending, it was do ...more
I loved reading this book. The older I get the more I notice whether I pick up a book because I think the subject is interesting or whether I like the writing style and won't be able to put it down. Summer in February is a perfect example of why one should never have to choose between the two. The format isn't 100% linear and Smith never has to spell out the obvious pieces. He trusts the reader with the plot and characters- clearly a well structured book. Still, it is highly readable, with brief ...more
This is a beautifully written book about real people and gives a fascinating insight into the Cornish art community of the 1920's. The author deals with a tragic situation very sympathetically. This isn't the sort of book I would usually read but I am very glad I did.
Toni Allen
If you're interested in art and enjoy discovering more about the personal lives of artists then you'll enjoy Summer in February. Although this is not a biography Jonathan Smith did extensive original research in order to write the most convincing story about Alfred Munnings, world famous painter of horses, and his life in the artistic community in Lamorna, Cornwall, at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Summer in February is a snapshot in time, covering only a few years prior to the outbreak of
Erika Schotty
I saw the movie first, and it seemed to be missing a piece of the story, which left me intrigued to read the book. I didn't understand Florence's character; why she made the decisions she did; and I was hoping the book would give more insight. It did not, as the story is told through the men (mainly Gilbert), switching between first and third person. This lack of detail on Florence makes more sense in the book, as the men would not be able to know everything she is thinking or feeling, but it ma ...more
I read this book a while ago. It is set in the valley where my mother lives. My Great Aunt Ella Naper and her husband Charlie where part of the Lamorna School of artists and life long friend of the Knights. I enjoyed reading this tragic story especially as I grew up hearing the names of many of the protagonists.
took a little while to get into but I loved the characters except for one. To think that this is a true story written from a diary makes it even more heart rendering/frustrating and also made me want to do research on the characters.
Great read based on an actual artists' colony in England in the early 1900's. The characters, too, are fictional recreations of actual people, several artists who lived in the colony. It's a dark subject, and the writing is beautiful. Has been made into a movie that I'd love to see.
A novel of a series of dramatic relationships between artists & models, & their friends, in undeveloped Edwardian Cornwall, its powerful vortex, the once-famous but largely now forgotten, Alfred Munnings, a painter renowned for his fine equine studies & tempestuous moods! Smith captures a world on the cusp of monumental social & technological changes in a landscape of timeless beauty, where little has changed for a hundred years, & natural forces can roam almost unchecked.But ...more
Chloe (Paint and Butterflies Books)
A cannot tell you how much I love this book, a true story about the Lamorna artist community just before the first world war. A well researched novel taken from one of main characters (Gilbert Evans') diaries. A story of talent, love and sorrow. I would definitely recommend and when you're done watch the film!

To see more reviews and things check out my blog -
Dy Swindlehurst
I really enjoyed this book even though it has a heart- breaking ending. Jonathan Smith creates a great sense of place with his beautifully written descriptions of Cornwall. The characters seem to be true to the period of history they lived in. As I read I did look into the lives of the artists depicted, especially the flawed but brilliant Munnings. A tragic real-life story. I would recommend this book.
Liz Fenwick
I loved this book. It was evocative and captured a long lost world of painters in Cornwall. Smith builds the story through the different view points and captures you in the world. I think the only difficulty I found was the motivation of one of the main characters but that was not Smith's fault. He had to stick to the fact of the actual events. It didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book.
I don't normally read romantic novels, and I read this one because of the film which is screening in June, but this book totally got me. It is very beautifully written and heart breaking. I know nothing about art or the artists, but am now looking forward to the film. Dan Stevens would play a convincing Gilbert. Dominic Cooper...he even looks like the same sort of person as A.J.Munnings.
A sad but thoughtful book. I wanted to shake the main characters to stop them making such a mess of their lives. Based on a true story of AJ Munnings and some of his fellow artists in Cornwall in the early 1900's just before the WW1. Florence is tragic and naive but everyone loves her. A slow book but enjoyable in a mellow way.
It took me a little longer than usual to finish a book this long. If I was more interested in it, I probably would have finished it in one afternoon, but some of the time I felt there was a bit too much narration and not enough dialogue. I'm a dialogue freak. I love the interaction between the characters.

The funny story about getting myself to read this book was the fact that I had seen the previews of the film adaptation which really got me interested. I immediately searched for it online and
This book has received many 4 and 5 star reviews, but I just could not get into it. Based on a true story, this novel tells the story of a love triangle between painters A.J. Munnings, Florence Carter-Wood, and estate manager Gilbert Evans. It takes place in Lamorna, Cornwall just before WWI. The book depicts the thriving art colony in the area and provides insight into the art movement of the time. Unfortunately, I was not drawn to any of the characters, and the passivity of the narrator annoye ...more
For me this was one of those books I couldn't put down and was sorry when it finished.
Having read a little bit about the subject matter of this book, I was expecting more. This book came off as a standard romance set amongst bohemians with typical love triangles and jealousies. I just couldn't get into the characters or story as it was written in a fairly pedantic manner.

I'm usually a fan of books over movies, but this is one story where a movie may be better at heightening the tension and the scenery would become a character. I know a movie has been made, but it has not been re
Andrea Torrejón
First of all, I had to make a paper cover for this book.
I bought it in a charity shop (as usual) and it had the cover with the actors of the movie (sigh).
There is nothing that annoys me more than imagining the faces of the characters as the actors. It spoils the fun.
For the new cover I chose a quite minimalistic-geometrical-abstract paper.
And then, the book starts with the 1949 retirement speech of Sir Alfred Munnings, painter and president of the Royal Academy of Arts, taking a piss on Modern
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Summer in February is a story of a love triangle between Alfred Munnings, an eccentric painter, Florence Carter-Wood, "Boticelli' Venus" and Gilbert Evans, Captain who fought in the Boer War.
The story takes place in Cornwall and gives an insight into the artistic comunity in 1913. When a painter, Florence, known otherwise as "Blote" arrives to see her brother, Jimmy to Cornwall she is the talk of the town. Beautiful just like Boticelli's Venus, she catches eye of two men- A.J and Gilbert. While
Megan Frank
I was propelled through this book by the momentum of the characters, first and foremost, but also by the descriptive and colorful and rich language of the text, carrying me away to a different time and place. Through letters, memories, conversations, speeches, and artwork, we are given varied perspectives and insights into the lives of the characters. The story comes full circle, but it made me return to the beginning to get my proper bearings.
Nicole N.
I was ready to put this book down after the first chapter. I was glad I didn't though although it did take me a few chapters to get into it.

It wasn't the plot necessarily that kept me reading. It was the characters. The contrast between Alfred and Gilbert was truly flawless. What Alfred was, Gilbert was the opposite and they both had somewhat dark secrets that were character flaws but more so with Alfred.

Then you have Florence who is described as beautiful as Botticelli's Venus rising from the
Linda Finger
I loved this book! I started it after watching the movie of the same name. I was hooked and wanted the whole story. After reading a small portion of the book I had to do some research and look up pictures of Munnings paintings. I spent three hours looking through hundreds of paintings. Then had to read his biography before I could go back to the book. Stunning story. Art imitating life and vice versa. The characters were real and honest. I can't remember the last time I was so excited about a bo ...more
Lara May
I loved the descriptions of the male characters but found the woman hard to imagine and I had no sympathy for them as I could not come to grips with them. I have very mixed feelings bout the book while I loved researching more Laura, Alfred and ev... I was frustrated at points in trying to figure out what was going on behind the scenes with Florence in particular who made strange decisions
A great insight into the eccentric and genius, twisted and obscene world of art at the turn of the century. It's a love story alright, but the backdrop made it worth reading.

I'm not sure whether the five stars will stand the test of time, but for now, let it be.
Very nice story about a community of artists. The writing style left a lot open, or just hinted at, for a long time. Since the story is based on real people it makes sense that we cannot know what they were thinking, however, a little more feelings would have been ok in my opinion.
Alexandra Harper
Jonathan Smith is an accomplished writer. His details are insatiably good, his characters believable and unaffected. However, his plot is rather slow, and he singlehandedly, through progressive (rather counter-character [or perhaps counter to how the character had been portrayed up to then]) action caused me to hate the very character most lovable for the first 7/8ths of the book. I ended thinking "that was horrid, because everything up to then tells me these characters would not have acted in t ...more
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What do you think of the upcoming film? 2 17 Sep 24, 2014 11:15PM  
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Jonathan Smith was born in Wales in 1942 and went to Christ College, Brecon. He read English at Cambridge, taught at Loretto School, Edinburgh and in Melbourne, and from the late 1960s onwards at Tonbridge School, where he was head of English for 17 years. He is married and lives in Kent.
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“Art was art, humans were humans, but art was best when it was human.” 5 likes
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