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That Camden Summer

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  4,912 ratings  ·  271 reviews
Following such major New York Times bestsellers as Home Song and Family Blessings, one of America's most adored storytellers outdoes herself with this compelling story of a pair of lovers who must battle a town's hypocrisy--a triumphant paean to the power of love. ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 23rd 1996 by Putnam Adult
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,912 ratings  ·  271 reviews

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Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. I'd read this so many years ago I'd basically forgotten what it's about so this was like a new read for me pretty much. It's a lovely story set in Camden, Maine in 1916. It focusses on a newly divorced mother of three teen/pre-teen daughters who's just moved back to the town where she grew up. Roberta's husband was a serial adulterer and sponge, and she's much better off without him. But the town doesn't think so. Divorce is scandalous, and she must be a 'loose woman'.

Then there's th
LaVyrle Spencer is one of the few romance novelists I can enjoy. Her characters are normal people going about their normal lives -- they're not great beauties or handsome young rakes. Often the two main characters dislike each other or just plain don't notice or care about each other at first. And she does a good bit of historical research about the times and places she sets her stories.

I was a bit disappointed with this one. It's obvious she did a LOT of research on the time (1916), the place (
I won't give this a rating after discovering that I inadvertently was listening to an abridged version rather than the full version. I have read books by the author previously and I I know she is capable of spinning a very believable and emotional tale. I will therefore give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that many of my issues with this abridged version - lack of details, jolted plotline, inadequate character development and chemistry - likely would be resolved in the unabridged editio ...more
Erin Burns
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: openlibrary
I remember reading this first on one of those rare breaks during college where I could not stand to write another paper but felt like I had too much to do and couldn't go home. So, I found myself on the second floor of the library where the scanty fiction section was. I wasn't expecting much because this wasn't an author that had ever interested me, but I was instantly captivated and re-read this book several times over the next several years, naturally I was pleased to find a copy of this on Op ...more
Judie Dooley
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is the story of a very strong woman who divorced her wayward husband. She returned to her home town of Camden Main where she met with scorn by everyone including her mother. These were the days where a divorced woman was seen as nothing more than a prostitute. She proved them all wrong by doing everything she could to raise her 3 daughters by buying a car and learning to drive. She got a job as a traveling nurses which gave more fuel to the the rumors that were spread about her that were no ...more
Another winner from Spencer! I saw this book at a local library used book sale and snatched it up, given the great experience I had with Morning Glory. I was not disappointed!

First off, I adore Roberta! I find her fantastically independent, caring, and vulnerable when she needs to, as well as un-domestic, just like me. There were times where the claims to independence were a bit much with multiple stressing of the point, but I can forgive that with how much I love her character. I also loved Gab
Sharon Huether
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, chick-lit
A very capable and independent woman, Roberta Jewett returns to her home town of Camden Maine. Newly divorced with three daughters. Roberta was different, she had many struggles with the townspeople. She held her head high while teaching her daughters and all their friends new things, making it a very happy time.
When romance comes into the picture, Roberta is very reluctant. Finally she gives in to a wonderful man who had been remodeling her home.
The book is so full of unexpected and happy momen
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this heartwarming book. It was really interesting to read about the turn-of-the-century traditions, inventions and morals of the people back then and I loved the New England setting during my favorite season. As usual, Spencer writes a sweet love story amidst important personal issues.
Apr 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who want a fast read. Mainahs!
Recommended to Deana by: Elizabeth
Shelves: read-owned, 2011, maine
I saw that someone I follow added this to her bookswap. Recognizing Camden as a town in Maine, I checked first to be sure it -was- in fact referring to that town, and once I was sure of it I requested the book. I did enjoy the Maine-specific parts of the book, it was kind of cute to read a book with a setting so familiar to my life. It was clear that the author did some research and knew the area. I must admit, though, I was surprised that more people didn't seem to remember Roberta from when sh ...more
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have forgotten how I used to LOVE LaVyrle Spencer! I am not so much into "love" stories (romance novels) anymore..but it's nice to go back and read occasionally! I loved the era in which LaVyrle wrote about and the woman (Birdy) well before her time!
Birdy is a woman in the 40's, divorced with a nursing job and three girls to support. In a time that women stayed home and cooked for their husbands and raised families...Birdy lived her life on her terms. She raised her girls with imagination and
Elizabeth Kissner
This was the first book I ever reread and over the years have read it probably twenty times. This is the only book of Ms. Spencer's I have ever read, so I cannot compare it to her others. I just know that I love the simplicity of the tale, the ferocity with which Roberta loves her daughters and life, and the creative spirit with which she approaches everything. I find the main characters to be inspiring and entertaining, without being snobbish or outlandish. For me, this book brings a comfort an ...more
Mar 16, 2016 rated it liked it
In the summer of 1916, Roberta and her three daughters arrived in Camden, Maine. As Roberta tries to rebuild both her life and a ramshackle house overlooking the harbor, she endures violence, betrayal, and pain. But she also finds love, friendship and acceptance from the most unlikely source.
From People:"A modern fairy tale, complete with a deserving heroine, a prince of a guy, and a happily-ever-after ending."
This is the perfect description of this book!

Sara Pauff
Another good Spencer novel. The writing isn't as subtle as some of her other books, but once again the main characters absolutely shine. I loved Roberta Jewett. She's the kind of parent I would like to be if I ever had kids: fiercely independent, imaginative, a bit messy and not at all enthralled by housework, but she never lets her daughters forget they are loved -- kind of like a 1916 version of Lorelai Gilmore. And Gabriel is sort of like the 1916 version of Luke Danes -- a gruff carpenter/ha ...more
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roberta has returned home after 18 years with her three daughters. It is early 1900 and Roberta is apprehensive. She has divorced her husband which is frowned upon and will suffer not only the stares and accusations of Camden, Maine itself, but her mother and sister as well.

Roberta is very self reliant and buys herself a motorcar. She is a trained nurse and intends to support herself and her daughters without anyone's help. Her brother in law starts with snide looks and untoward touches on the v
Deborah  Cleaves
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by this author and clearly I have been remiss. Excellent book with great characters who live off the page in your imagination. The plot delivers people you know surviving difficult situations scathed but thriving. What a wonderful book. Highly recommended.
Usually when I read romance I tolerate and excuse unlikely and unrealistic characters, situations, conversations, personalities and reactions because the predictable happy ending makes me feel good. I didn't have to do that here, it was so honest. I loved it. ...more
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I had read this book years ago while in high school, possibly college, but remembered nothing. Because I LOVED visiting Camden Maine a year and a half or so ago, wanted to read it again. Luckily my sister had a copy and let me borrow it. It's been quite awhile since I have read a book like this I admit. I especially loved hearing about Camden Maine and Rockport from back around 1918. It still held the same charm for me. Several locations peaked my interest having been there. The story ...more
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't get into the heroine

The story is nice. Place description is good. The characters I like best are the children. The hero is likeable too. As for the heroine...... sorry to say while I like independent women I hate it when they are overdoing it to the point of being irritatingly stubborn. Being independent doesn't necessarily mean you can't be gracious in accepting offer of help.
And.... though my kind of heroines are not necessarily beautiful I prefer them to at least like being tidy and cl
She simply lived life day to day by her own code of happiness first.

Another beautifully written story from Spencer. I laughed, cried, and fumed with intense emotion. Spencer tends to deliver fiercely strong heroines, and Roberta is no exception. I admired her boldness and more importantly her lovingness towards her daughters. I liked the romance, but it did not pack the punch I've experienced with some of her other books. Regardless, it remained a compelling and worthwhile read.
Jane Stewart
4 ½ stars. I really enjoyed this.

This has a women’s fiction feel and also fits the definition of romance - a satisfying ending with a couple together at the end. I enjoyed watching Roberta achieve independence at a time when women were expected to marry and serve their husbands. The story begins with Roberta having divorced her husband and moving with her three daughters to Camden, Maine, her home town. Her new job starts in a couple weeks. She will be a traveling nurse, visiting people in their
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lavyrle-spencer
***3,75*** - Another truly enjoyable historical tale by talented Mrs Spencer.
This one is set in a beautiful coastal town in Maine, in 1916, and we meet spunky Roberta Jewett, a strong 36-year woman, rather plain, mother of three most endearing daughters, returning from Boston to her hometown after having divorced her cheating and deceiving husband. Roberta is a most wonderful character; she's quite independent (considering it's 1916)and she's so generous with her love for her daughters. Roberta
Aug 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roberta Jewitt is going back home to Camden, Maine in the year 1916 after divorcing her philandering husband. Women that were divorced back then were labeled and out-casted. Roberta is a very independent woman who is now raising her three children. Some men in the town think she is easy prey, but she shows them otherwise. Gabe Farley lost the love of his life when his wife died years ago. He keeps all of her things like a shrine to her. Two totally different individuals, in the way they think, l ...more
In 1916 a divorced women was treated as an outcast in society. Roberta and her 3 daughters moved back to her hometown in Maine, only to discover that she is not welcome by her own family or the community as a whole. Being a self-reliant woman, Roberta is determined to make a home for she and her family. Leaving behind an unfaithful man and starting a job as a county nurse, Roberta also learns to drive and soon buys a Model T. Her progressive and modern ways raise many eyebrows and captures the a ...more
An easy to read book that sometimes dragged a bit. I liked the characters and the way they developed. I still find it hard to believe how ostrasized a divorced woman was back in the early 1900's. Now adays divorce is everywhere and we don't think it's the womans foult (it was the man! haha jk)
I loved the spunk of the main character, how she managed a raggedy house, 3 kids and even her own motorcar!
I was surprised how quickly she fell into marriage again, but then she was miserable her entire
May 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, romance
Romantic novel - At the turn of the century in New England, an independent divorcee, progressive before her time, returns to her provincial hometown of Camden, Maine, in order to build a new life for herself and her three daughters. Braving adversaries such as her lecherous brother-in-law, condemning mother, and a community that considers a divorced woman little better than a prostitute, Roberta Jewett behaves "scandalously," securing a job as a county nurse to support her children, learning to ...more
This was better than I thought it would be. It was fun to be reading about Camden and the area around it, as that is where I am staying right now. :-) The title is misleading, it isn't really about a summer romance. It's about a young woman who brings her three children back to Camden, near her family, after her - unheard of! - divorce, back in 1919. The author did a good job of making her characters seem real. I'd really like to this this a 3 1/2. It's better than average, but not good enough t ...more
Jennifer Gelert
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is of a woman in the early 1900's who defied society and got a divorce from a husband who cheated, left all the time and was not interested in her or their 3 daughters. She returns home to Camden where she is hoping to raise her 3 daughters around her family. She has a job as a traveling nurse and is the first women to ever get a motor car! All no no's during that time. But the love for her girls and her desire to give them the best love, affection and enjoyment of music, plays, etc is ...more
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a well written book and well executed plotline! I absolutely loved Roberta and her independent nature and how she carried herself. Spencer has the skill of character development and leads the reader to really engage with the lives of these characters. I have to admit I thought it was going to be a sappy romance novel but I'm glad I was wrong. This was a novel that mirrored the struggles women faced in the early 1900s. Roberta broke all of the rules by getting a divorce, an education, buying ...more
Kate Lawrence
Jul 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Summer is here, and time to read something light and undemanding, although "light" in this case doesn't exclude some serious subject matter. The main theme here is sexism that goes beyond annoying to life-damaging for the heroine, a spunky divorcee and single mom in the early 20th century. This isn't only about women, though; we get an in-depth look at a male character too, as we progress to a satisfying ending.
Before her retirement in the late 90s, several of Spencer's novels made the New York
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was an alright story. The characters were a bit 2-dimensional for me, so I had a hard time relating to them. I felt like they were plucked from a bucket of generic characters and then thrown together into a story.

If the people I was reading about had had more depth, I think I could have appreciated the story a lot more. There were some very powerful and well-written scenes; the rape scene, for example. It just wasn't enough to make this something I'd want to reread or recommend to someone
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LaVyrle Spencer is an American best-selling author of contemporary and historical romance novels. She has successfully published a number of books, with several of them made into movies. Twelve of her books have been New York Times bestsellers, and Spencer was inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame in 1988.

Spencer is known for creating realistic characters and stories that focu

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