Janga's Reviews > Summer Days

Summer Days by Susan Mallery
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Jun 21, 12

Read in March, 2012

Rafe Stryker left Fool’s Gold behind him long ago. His memories of the town are not pleasant ones, and he has no plans to return. But he failed to take into account his mother’s love for Castle Ranch. May Stryker was once the housekeeper at Castle Ranch. She worked for almost nothing because the old man who owned the ranch promised to leave it to her when he died. He lied. Now May has paid Glenn Simpson $250,000 for the ranch, but he doesn’t own it. Rafe, who has the money and power he lacked eighteen years earlier, will do whatever he has to do to see that his mother is not cheated out of her ranch a second time.

Heidi Simpson grew up traveling from town to town with her grandfather who was a carnival worker. She has longed for a permanent home all her life, and she’s found that home in Castle Ranch with its old house and thousand acres and the eight goats that are the foundation of her business: selling goat milk, goat fertilizer, and the goat cheese and goat milk soap she makes. She loves her home and Fool’s Gold and its people. But her grandfather sold her home to get money for a friend’s cancer treatment. May keeps saying they can work things out, but neither Heidi nor her grandfather Glen have $250,000. And May has a very angry son who’s talking about jail and lawyers.
When the case goes to court, the judge delays a decision, in order to give Heidi time to devise a plan, and stipulates that the Simpsons and Strykers share the ranch in the meantime. Glenn and May, who are involved in a budding romance, are pleased, but any resolution between Heidi and Rafe seems hopeless.

I love Fool’s Gold, and I always enjoy catching up on characters from earlier books. But I had a couple of problems with this book. Heidi is an endearing character—sweet, funny, tenacious, and vulnerable, and the carnival connection was unusual. Nevertheless, I had a hard time getting beyond the name, the braids, the goats, and the grandfather. I kept seeing a mental image of the cover of an old copy of Johanna Spyri’s Heidi and laughing. Like several other Mallery heroes, Rafe had his moments, but he also had too many total jerk moments for me to embrace him fully. So, overall, this is not a bad book, but neither is it one of the best of the series.
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