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

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,273 ratings  ·  165 reviews
When Flossy Merrill summons her children to the beloved family beach house to celebrate their father’s eightieth birthday, both cherished memories and long-kept secrets come to light in this charming and lyrical novel from the author of The Lake Season and Mystic Summer.

Flossy Merrill has managed to—somewhat begrudgingly—gather her three ungrateful grown children from thei
Paperback, 325 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
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

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,273 ratings  ·  165 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Summer House
If you’re looking for an intoxicating summer read, you won’t regret sticking The Summer House in your beach bag. Or, if you can’t make it to the shore, living vicariously through the Merrill family and their week spent on the sandy Rhode Island coast, isn’t too bad either.

In my humble opinion, this is Hannah McKinnon’s strongest work to date. With each of her three books, she’s proven that she can nail family dynamics with a skillful hand—the resentments that tend to fester, the growing pains a
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4 stars! This was such a fun and enjoyable summer read!

There was something very relatable about this family and these characters. The story revolves around the Merrill family’s annual stay at their summer beach house. Flossy and Richard Merrill have their three adult children, their childrens’ spouses and their grandchildren come to stay with them at their summer house together for one week in July. The sibling rivalries, parental stresses, childhood drama, family traditions, captivating memorie
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, first-reads
Thanks to Goodreads, the author, and the publisher, for the complimentary copy.

I was expecting a fluffy read, but instead I found this book had plenty of depth and emotion, relatable family dynamics, and it was highly entertaining. I still think it's the perfect book to throw in your beach bag because it's one that will be easy to pick up and put down, as one does at the beach; however, I think the engaging characters will keep you picking it back up more than you are putting it down. :) This i
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

Flossy Merrill's children, her husband, and The Summer House have always been her first loves.

Nothing mattered to her as much as her family. The family wasn’t together for a few summers in a row because of commitments, but this summer Flossy managed to get everyone together to celebrate their father's 75th birthday party.

Flossy also had another reason to get the family together, but she and Richard couldn't bring themselves to tell their children even though they knew they had to sooner than lat
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This book has everything I love about a summer read: a fantastic location, relatable characters, and enough drama to keep things interesting. I loved the descriptions of the beach, the house, the meals, and the long lazy days at the beach house.

Flossy and Richard bring their adult children and grandchildren together for a week at the family beach house, ending the week with a 75th birthday dinner for Richard. What the kids don’t know is there will be an announcement that the beach house, with d
Sarah Joint
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
You can ascertain just from the title and cover that this is a beach read, and it definitely is. Unfortunately, I read it while wishing I was on the beach. It's a sweet little read with lots of family and relationship drama. Ungrateful children, strained relationships, and many other different worries feature in this one. I was in one of my light read moods when I picked this one up, and that's a good thing. I still found it kind of corny at times, but that might just be my jaded, mystery readin ...more
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beach read with depth and well developed characters. Since I wasn't familiar with Hannah McKinnon, the cover and title led me to think this just a fluff summer read. Well, was I wrong.
Three adult children and their families travel to their childhood beach house to celebrate their father's seventy-fifth birthday. Their mother has been trying to get them all together and has finally succeeded. Each "child" brings their own problems and issues as they gather for a family reunion. What they don't
Sam (Clues and Reviews)
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’ve mentioned before that Elin Hilderbrand is one of my summertime guilty pleasures. I love to lay back and lose myself in her Nantucket stories. It just makes me feel like summer. The Summer House by Hannah McKinnon gave me that same vibe, but better! McKinnon breathes new life into cottage living with a little bit of added family drama and dynamics, colourful characters and many heartwarming and humorous moments.

In The Summer House, a different member of the Merrill family narrates each chap
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review-book, fiction
The Merrill family is meeting at their summer house at the Rhode Island shore to celebrate their father’s 75th birthday. Flossy, their mother, has planned the perfect party that will take place on the last night of their week together. She only hopes her adult children won’t kill each other before that night. Each one brings their own drama with them and thinks nothing of reliving sibling rivalries, perceived slights, etc. Paige, the eldest, feels like she’s losing control of her life. Middle ch ...more
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Great book! I laughed, I cried - literally! Because the reader knows what Flossy and Richard are planning for the family summer house, it's much more poignant than had it been a surprise. The crises that each of the family members are going through and have brought to the house makes for a "moody" book. I mean this in a good way. The ups and downs of the characters are dramatic!

I am so glad to have read this book. The author brings real emotion to the characters. The story is superb and flows l
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
Oh, the joys of cottage life. Memories are made year after year when families comes together to unplug from urban life and spend some quality time together. Fresh sea breezes, shared family meals, daily swims and evenings spent playing board games or relaxing with an adult beverage. It’s an idyllic time. It’s also a time when adult children are forced to spend time with their siblings in close quarters. Past grievances and present-day stresses float to the surface like so much seaweed on the sho ...more
Lori Palmer (Palmer's Page Turners)
This book was such a breath of fresh air and just what I needed to get excited for summer! It was everything I love about a summer read--beach house setting, great characters, and a feel good story that makes your heart happy. Normally in books with chapters with multiple characters, I almost always have that one (or two!) character that I'm not as excited to read about. Not so with The Summer House! I loved each character and did not find myself bored or wanting a certain character's chapter to ...more
Carla Johnson-Hicks
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Flossy Merrill's family and the Summer House in Rhode Island have always been her first loves. When her grown children stopped coming to the Summer House, she and her husband decided that it was time to sell the place. All the children had been asked the previous summer if they wanted the Summer House, but they all declined. This summer Flossy managed to get everyone together to celebrate their father's 75th birthday party and have a last family vacation together before they sold the home. The c ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: release-2017
A relaxing beach read I enjoyed!
Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
Flossy Merrill would love to have her family spend some time all under the same roof at their beach house, just like the good old days. What better to get them there than to celebrate their father's 80th birthday? Her three children and their families come, some more willing than others, and along with them come their problems, some larger than others. There's Clementine, the youngest Merrill, who had two little ones and is just coming out of a very, very upsetting year. Then there's Samuel and ...more
Sheyla ✎
The Summer House was a great way to begin my summer. It follows three siblings reunited at their vacation home to celebrate their father's eightieth birthday.

Flossy is the strong mother who wants her children together one last time before they sell their home. She's also trying to reconnect with them and help them through their individual heartbreaks. It's hard for her to say goodbye to the summer home, leaving all the memories behind but she knows they need to move forward.

Paige is the oldest.
Donna Hines
The perfect book to read in a snowstorm because you can always travel to 'The Summer House' even in your dreams.
I loved this book for many reasons, the set of characters was magnificent from the Merrill family ; the extended family aka grandkids , those they brought into the mix as friends, colleagues, and yes even those they'd encountered along the way aka Mara the adoptive parent.
It all begins with plans for a summer reunion and 75th birthday party for Richard the father of the Merill family a
Mar 21, 2017 added it
The Summer House
Hannah McKinnon

What it's all about...

Flossy and Richard own a lovely summer house that has been in their family for generations. It is a source of comfort to them but it is also becoming a growing burden. This is the year that Flossy wants all of her children and their spouses and grandchildren to come to the summer house for at least a week in the summer. They finally come home but they bring their varied issues with them. Every form of dysfunction that you can imagine comes h
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a book about family, tradition, ebbs & tides of life. Set in Rhode Island during the summer, it's also about the restorative nature of home & what it means to need to put each of us back on the proper trajectory of life. A house can do this - especially one located on a beach, along the shore, and redolent of lifelong memories. Good summer read that has its prickles & not all rosiness. ...more
Melissa Borsey
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. A good beach read that is overflowing with drama and family dysfunction! Highly recommend this delightfully heartwarming read!
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.
an absolutely perfect beach read- Heather McKinnon manages to capture the essence of summer in this book perfectly. The Merill family gather at their beach house to celebrate their father's birthday. Everyone in the family has a secret- from the parents, to the three adult children, to one of the grandchildren. I especially loved the setting for the book because it was written at "my" beach. Definitely recommend this one if you're looking for a good beach book.
The Blonde Bookworm
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
The Summer House was my first Hannah McKinnon book, and I think it's safe to say it will not be my last. It was filled with love, heartbreak, plenty of drama, and a real family. I always love books that deal with real life situations instead of perfect cookie cutter families with no issues whatsoever. The characters were unique and I found myself relating to each of them in one way or another.

McKinnon's writing style was engaging and kept me entertained from start to finish. I loved the setting
Heather Donovan
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love a good book set during summer on the east coast, and this one did not disappoint!

This book encompasses everything you think about when you hear the words summer house - a gorgeous setting, a dysfunctional family, and drama, drama, drama.

This was a well written book that grabbed me from the beginning, full of strong characters and believable behaviors. Fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Alice Monroe will love this book. I will definitely read more books by this author.

Thank you to Netgalley
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Two words kept popping into my mind as I read The Summer House: relatable and nostalgic. Flossy and Richard have invited their grown children, Paige, Sam, and Clem, to their summer house in Rhode Island to celebrate Richard's 75th birthday. What their children don't know yet is that Flossy and Richard are planning to sell the house their family has spent generations vacationing at.

The first thing I could relate to in this book is the trouble with trying to get a lot of people together for a vaca
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
A great summer read that I could really relate to--a summer home filled with family and lots of swimming, great meals prepared by the family matriarch, and (when we got old enough!) lots of wine. I could even relate to the neighbors who had lived next to the Merrill family for years.
Christine Savukinas
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good, fun summer read. I always look forward to a few beach reads that allow me to "escape" - this is one. If you like Elin Hilderbrand you'll like this!
Booksandchinooks (Laurie)
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It is a perfect summer/beach read. It is about a family returning to their summer house together for the first time in two years. They are also there to celebrate their father's 75th birthday. As the three grown children and their spouses and children arrive it is evident that each is returning with their own set of problems. Flossy and Richard have lured the children back with the birthday party being a pivotal reason so everyone has interrupted their lives to spend a week at ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a great summer read, with all the necessary trappings: a dysfunctional family, a great summer setting, and lots of drama. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting back in the warm sun, under a cloudless sky, to read it. Flossie Merrill has invited her children and their families to the family summer house in Rhode Island, for their aging father’s birthday. Flossie also wants to check up on her children: Clementine, whose life has recently undergone a major change; Paige, who seems steadfast but who ...more
Leith Devine
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A great summer read! A story that encompasses the arc of a family, the highs and the lows, set in the family summer home by the beach. Beautifully written, and hard to put down. It made me wish I had a summer house to go to with my extended family.

Flossie Merrill has finally gotten all her children and their families back to the summer house in Rhode Island where generations of their family have spen
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Christi by: An Unlikely Story staff
terrific summer read
great descriptions of buildings, landscape and villages
interesting family dynamic - especially how adults fall back into their childhood roles when they spend time with their siblings

the characters were not annoying like they so often are in these books set in a family beach house
I really liked the Merrill family a lot.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Hello, Summer
  • Girls of Summer
  • 28 Summers
  • On Ocean Boulevard
  • All Our Summers
  • Always the Last to Know
  • The Southern Side of Paradise (Peachtree Bluff #3)
  • The Secret to Southern Charm (Peachtree Bluff #2)
  • The Friendship List
  • What Happens in Paradise (Paradise, #2)
  • Only Summer
  • Her Secret Son
  • Troubles in Paradise (Paradise, #3)
  • The Arrivals
  • The Forever Summer
  • Slightly South of Simple (Peachtree Bluff #1)
  • The Book of Summer
  • Feels Like Falling
See similar books…
Author of The Lake Season, Mystic Summer, The Summer House, Sailing Lessons, The View From Here and two YA titles, Franny Parker and The Properties of Water

News & Interviews

Some people love books. Some people fall in love. And some people fall in love with books about falling in love. Every month our team sorts...
13 likes · 7 comments