Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Summer House” as Want to Read:
The Summer House
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Summer House

3.5  ·  Rating details ·  709 Ratings  ·  113 Reviews
For years, Marcia Willett has touched readers with her poignant novels about the intricacies of friendship and family. Now, in The Summer House, she explores the secrets that families keep, and the decisions, made in an instant, that can change our lives.

Matt has always felt that there was something missing in his life. His mother kept all his childhood memories in a small
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 19th 2012 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Summer House, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Summer House

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Aug 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-books-read
Milo and Lottie are brother and sister-in-law who have raised Imogene and Matt when their mother Helen was unable to look after them. Matt is a successful writer, living in London,looking to fill a hole in his life, and Imogene is living near Milo and Lottie with her husband and infant daughter. Milo has a son Nick by his ex-wife and he needs a large amount of cash. Milo agrees to raise the sum of money by selling the Summer House, a small property attached to the main house, to Imogene and her ...more
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first couple of pages of this book didn't grab me, so I set it aside for a couple of weeks. Once I got into the story, however, I was charmed by the characters and the setting and finished the book quite quickly. The central plot contains a mystery that I didn't find very mysterious; it includes 3 different elements, one of which I guessed when it was first referenced, and the other two before the book ended. I don't know if Willett's intention was for readers to understand these plot elemen ...more
Mar 03, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meh
Ugh...I finished it. I could not stay with the beginning and my mind kept on wandering. I couldn't keep the people straight and thought that it might be a tool the author was using for a big reveal. was just a false attempt at such I think. I have no idea how I got into it enough to finish it. It had some charming parts but really it was, well, meh.

Furthermore, the author kept on interjecting strange words for verbs...or just using them out of place. I'm sure some would say that is beca
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chic-lit
This is one of those books that makes you want to go to Cornwall. Milo and Lottie live in beautiful High House. I want to be able to walk around the garden with Milo as he works or sip a glass of wine while he makes dinner. Or sit and have tea and chat with Lottie while she knits.

It was like bejng a fly on the wall watching Matt, Im and Nick dealing with where they were in life. You could kick Nick up the backside but found sympathy for him because Im does.

Best was watching Matt come to realiz
Jan 20, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not what I was expecting at all, and not in a good way. Where was the intrigue, suspense and the mystery?

The memory box is hardly mentioned in the first 3/4 of the book, so you spend most of the time waiting for something interesting to happen... not that it ever really does.

There is a mix of convoluted characters that are very insipid and boring, and add no real depth to the book at all. The author tries to explain the relationships between the characters as if this is an important part of th
Feb 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2014
I loved the idea of the main premise, but it didn't fulfill it's promise. It just danced on the surface of the characters thoughts & ideas; it stayed very one dimensional. I got none of the feelings needed to really connect with any of the characters. It really needed to go deeper on many levels, and I think if it had it definitely would have not only kept the original promise, but surpassed it. I had figured out what was going on before the end, but I'm not sure if that's what the author ha ...more
Still a fluff book, but a step higher than The Great Escape. The writing is a little wooden, and the plot is both contrived and predictable, but it's an enjoyable book, maybe because Willett seems to believe so whole-heartedly in what she writes about: the healing power of the English countryside and family love, even (especially) if that family is patched together. She introduces WAY too many characters whose relationships are far too complex in far too casual a way at the start (Tom was the au ...more
Laura Beasley
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Mary Ann
First book by this author and not sure if I will read any more by her. Different story and was rather depressing. The characters in the book were all different and guess you could say mostly dysfunctional. Most strange folks. The book drug but for some reason it kept me curious about what was going to happen. Could not figure out where the story was going. The relationship between Milo and Lottie was strange as well as the relationship between Milo and Venetia. Then there was nick and all his pr ...more
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was okay. After Matt's mother dies, Matt, the main character, is trying to find out why he feels as if something has always been missing in his life and why he can not make emotional connections with anyone outside his family. Things don't start to make sense to him until very late in the book. I was wondering what was going to happen since I was quickly running out of pages to read. Then all of these coincidences occur and things fall into place for Matt. In my opinion, the coincidences were ...more
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned, 2012
"Matt has always felt that there was something missing in his life. His mother kept all his childhood memories in a small inlaid wooden box, along with many photos of Matt as a child. But something about these photos has always puzzled Matt. Why doesn't he remember those clothes? The toys? And where, in the photos, is his sister Imogen?"

I really couldn't get into this book. In the beginning I had trouble keeping track of the characters and their relationships. I found them all a little bland. So
Sep 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fans of Pilcher will like this author, but it is very annoying that St. Martin's keeps changing her UK titles to banal interchangeable ones. Be careful not to buy a book you already own!

In this book, nothing much happens - Matt is haunted by a barely remembered childhood and agonizes about becoming involved with a young woman he barely likes - I assume a sequel is forthcoming.
Kristy Trauzzi
Mar 21, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book went no where. It didn't even have a good "following someone's life" story that I am usually a total sucker for. I was bored by the almosts and the what ifs and just felt myself going COME ON SOMETHING HAPPEN! Sigh.It was horrible.
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was so pleased to have found this book in the local charity shop.

I really enjoyed this book, although there was not as much mystery or suspense as I thought there would be. This is the first time that I have read any books by this author and am sure that it will not be the last.
Shelley Lawrence
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Absolutely LOVED this book! I loved the writing style and the characters...I wish I knew them in real life. :) There were so many insights and messages within the story that I found deeply insightful and therapeutic. Cannot wait to read more by this author.
kept reading hoping it got better. Didnt. dont bother
Eve Recinella (Between The Bookends)
Half way through and this just isn't holding my attention...
Carol Mott
I've read so many of her other books and loved them. This one was a disappointment. I kept putting it down and really had to force myself to keep going and finish it. If this is the first of hers you've read and was disappointed try some of the others such as The Children's Hour, A Week in Winter, etc.
Een prettig lezend verhaal met prachtige omschrijvingen van de omgeving.
Heel beeldend geschreven.
De zoektocht van Matt en het leven van zijn zus Imogen, omringd door de liefde van de mensen om hen heen.
Een mooi verhaal met een verrassend einde.
Vicki Moutoux
An interesting family mystery finally solved.
Daphne Kim
Easy read with some interesting twists at the end. I figured out part of it before it was revealed, but it was still interesting to read how exactly it played out.
Yilin Tan
it was pretty confusing reading the book. I felt that there were too many descriptions on the landscape and other unnecessary details which made the whole story boring. the plot was okay though.
Lisa Lade
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book with a twist at the end which I guessed. Would read more from this author
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
4 Blue Ribbon Review courtesy of Romance Junkies. Matt and Imogen's childhood was difficult, dealing with their mother's depression and alcoholism, but they never understood her until Matt follows the clues left behind after her death. Surrounded by good friends who love them like their own children, Imogene and Matt have much to be grateful for, but will they realize that in time to set their future as adults on the right path?

Matt inherited a treasure box of his mother's, which contains all th
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like the English and their sense of humor and quirky words, you will like this easy to read story with well developed characters
Joanne D'Arcy
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matt has been left a small box where his late mother kept memories of his childhood. He remembers vividly putting small items into the box and locking them securely away. But opening the box not long after his mother's death, Matt sees what is inside in a different light. Teh photographs evoke memories but not that he can recall, he cannot remember the clothes, the toys, the background is wrong and where is his sister Imogen? Matt recognises something is wrong but he cannot focus his mind to wha ...more
De tekst op de back-flap belooft een spannende vertelling, maar dat valt tegen. Ik zeg het maar vast (dan hoeft u niet langer in spanning te zitten ;-) ) ... Het duurde bij mij even voordat ik de sfeer te pakken had, maar die blijkt wel oké. Bij tijd en wijle dreigt het verhaal in de bouquetreeks-hoek te verzanden en daar zit je niet op te wachten (ik niet in ieder geval). Maar de auteur trekt het voortkabbelende verhaaltje steeds nèt op tijd vlot uit dat drijfzand.

Blijft over? Een vertelling wa
Three and a half stars for me: likable characters (as usual the most interesting characters are beyond the flush of youth). In this book they are Lottie and Milo, who have lived together for years as brother and sister, and Milo's lover, the formerly glamorous and still flirtatious-at-70 Venetia. The main characters, however, are Imogen, who longs to buy the summer house she has loved since childhood, improvident Nick (Milo's son) who is ready to trade in his difficult wife for Imogen, and Imoge ...more
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2012
Matt, who has written a best-selling novel, is plagued with insecurities and often feels disorientated. His sister Imogen is not entirely happy in her marriage, and their friend Nick is decidedly unhappy with his. Nick's father Milo wants to sell a small house he has been renting out, and would like it to remain with one of his loved ones...

There are a lot of sub-plots and a large cast in this book, and it took me a while to sort them all out. It's written in Marcia Willett's usual warm style,
Sep 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish all the characters in this novel had their own book. Some spoilers are mentioned. Milo and Lottie are brother and sister-in-law but share a home. Milo's son Nick was raised to consider Matt and his sister Imogen as cousins even though they are not related to Lottie. Lottie was very close to their parents and helped raise the children after their father died and their mother was unable to cope. Now a successful author, Matt struggles to learn who is sending him photographs of his childhood ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Die Stunde der Erben
  • Life Begins
  • A Medal for Murder (Kate Shackleton, #2)
  • Lord James Harrington and the Autumn Mystery (Lord James Harrington Mysteries Book 4)
  • The Last Lighthouse Keeper
  • Goodbye Hamilton
  • Promises, Promises
  • Amenable Women
  • With All My Love
  • Moederkruid
  • The Dance of Death (Roger the Chapman, #18)
  • The Bird House
  • Joseph Cornell: Shadowplay. . .Eterniday
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Among Us: 101 Inspirational Stories of Miracles, Faith, and Answered Prayers
  • Stolen (Blackpool Mysteries)
  • My Sister Dilly
  • The List Conspiracy (Wallis Jones, #1)
  • The Kennedy Rifle (Michael Cole, #1)
Marcia Willett began her career as a novelist when she was fifty years old. Since that first novel Marcia has written twenty more under her own name as well as a number of short stories. She has also written four books under the pseudonym "Willa Marsh", and is published in more than sixteen countries.

Marcia Willett's early life was devoted to the ballet, but her dreams of becoming a ballerina end
More about Marcia Willett...