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The Summer House Party

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  598 ratings  ·  50 reviews

In the gloriously hot summer of 1936, a group of people meet at a country house party. Within three years, England will be at war, but for now, time stands still.

Dan Ranscombe is clever and good-looking, but he resents the wealth and easy savoir faire of fellow guest, Paul Latimer. Surely a shrewd girl like Meg Slater would see through that, wouldn't she? And what about D

Kindle Edition, 423 pages
Published March 9th 2017 by Head of Zeus
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  598 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
You get real good value for money with this book, its a heaping 512 pages thick full of goodness, drama, intrigue and mystery.

I was very lucky to receive a proof copy from Head of Zeus which I will forever treasure.

Its the summer of 1936 and a group of people meet up at the Summer House. Its 'party' time. Champagne is flowing nicely, chit chatter being had and flowing nicely and what would a party be without a little bit of flirting. Dan had a 'thing' for Meg and she was
Kelly Lacey
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Summer House Party

In 1936 a group of young people gather for a frightfully delightful garden house party. From there we follow them as they grow and start to face the reactions of their choices and watch as they try to cope with the whole world changing around them.

I adored this book and the characters that I got to meet. Meg is so likeable and you do feel great empathy towards her throughout the book. She was my absolute favourite and I was at odds with her choices.
Shirley Revill
Audiobook version that was brilliantly written and I really enjoyed.
Very well written and well worth a read. Storytelling at it's best.
Jim Mullin
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book set in the early WW2 period in England. The characters and plot center on the upper class who at times exhibit no class.

I read this in order to clasp on to the last remaining days of summer. Well, there was certainly enough heat in the first section of the book.! I can’t imagine or even remember the guests of Downton Abbey being this much on heat. Knocks on doors in the middle of the night, stolen kisses on the Chaise Longue and that’s nothing compared to what happens in the little wooden artists haven at the bottom of the garden.

There’s a summer party going on and many guests with their fair share of
Jill Meyer
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
British author Caro Fraser's novel, "The Summer House Party" is set in the years 1936 to 1945, and looks at a bit of British society that is often the subjects of novels. The upper class - non-titled but still wealthy - who have country homes in addition to London apartments, and lived fairly easy lives with plenty of servants. The book begins during the summer of 1936 - that year of the three kings - and is the story of the Latimer and Haddon and Slater families. There is love and sex that firs ...more
Roman Clodia
May 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
DNF/Skimmed to the end

I've dipped into Fraser's books set within a set of law chambers, but this family saga/romance is very different and seems to be aimed at Downton Abbey fans. Opening in 1936, it follows a group of friends and relations through love and lust affairs, marriage, separation, heartbreak and war. It doesn't add anything fresh to the genre and is a gentle rather than a gripping read.

The writing can be cliche-ridden: 'she felt the familiar fire glowing in her loins'; '
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing

I so enjoyed this book. Not being familiar with the author, I wasn't sure what to expect. Well, sometimes, in choosing a book and an author you're not familiar with, brings an unexpected surprise. Caro Fraser writes beautifully, bringing the story, the setting, all the characters wonderfully to life. I definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading more of her work.
Robin Kuritzky
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Like all Caro Fraser books, a really good read, with that essential ingredient of suspense; so that the characters are real and complex and you really care what happens to them. And my personal favourite, that it almost completely avoids cliché. And tedious explanation of subtleties that the reader deduces on his/her own. A striking albeit predictable tale that will leave us thinking about the characters for a long time, as if they had been a real part of our own lives.
Sep 07, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish
This has an average rating of over 4 stars.


It's a one-dimensional yawnathon. DNF at 20%.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Overall I enjoyed the book and it was interesting to hear about how the war affected those left at home and the changes and sacrifices the middle and upper classes had to make, but I felt that there were many plot lines laid down that didn't bear fruition. I was constantly trying to work out twists and turns that simply never materialised. I would sum it up as a gentle very steady read but with no punch.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it
At first I thoutht it to be worth reading. About a British upper-middleclass family and their friends. Meg marries Paul. She thought it would give her a nice, wealthy life, a husband, who always does the propper thing. But her heart and passion is with Dan, a childhood friend, who showed up at the summer party. Then the war comes with its challanges to survive.
Fromthere on it gets slow and sticky. The affair plus her determination, to keep her family intact, takes its toll on Meg. Sudden P
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received this book through Netgalley. This book is much more than the title or cover discloses; it is much more than a one-week summer party. The setting initially is in England prior to WWII but progresses through the war. It begins very lighthearted and is a pleasant read.

The introductions to characters are primarily made in the first chapter. As the story progresses, the complexity of the characters and relationships becomes evident. The story includes war, survival, infidelity, homosexua
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I found this novel a bit disappointing overall. At the beginning, a young, under-loved child witnesses her father in a disturbing situation with her very young nanny. As a reader, I was lead to believe that the child and the nanny would be significant characters in this story, but the author chose to let both characters fade into oblivion which I found very unsatisifying. After having finished the novel, it is my opinion that the nanny and the underloved child were both superfluous to the story, ...more
Michael Cayley
Oct 05, 2019 rated it liked it
The book could have been so much better.

It starts with a summer house party in 1936, against the background of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, the abdication crisis in England, and the rise of fascism in Germany. The description in this opening section is at times almost turgidly over-detailed, making for a very slow pace, but things speed up as the house party moves towards its disastrous conclusion, with a death and afterwards a pregnancy of a young nanny.

There f
May 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
You certainly get your money’s worth from this book. It’s a lengthy sprawling epic saga (that would probably do well as a daytime TV series) spanning the key years just before and during WWII and following the lives of a group of ‘bright young things’ living life in the pre-war cocoon of London high life and country manor house parties; and how their lives change as they start to mature and as the country heads into war. I’m sure that a certain demographic of older female readers who enjoy easy- ...more
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Compelling and riveting from start to finish.

I loved this book. So atmospheric, the mood reminded me of 'Brief Encounter', Gosford Park' and 'Remains of the Day' full of repressed emotion, stiff upper lips and unspoken passion. The characters are beautifully drawn, complex and fully rounded unlike the cardboard cutouts that modern authors usually give to books set in this period. I felt it dipped slightly in the middle ... a bit too much plot leading the story rather than characters,
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
While I enjoyed the setting and the story line it was a very long book and took a long time to read this in the ebook format. I enjoyed the historical element of WWII and the events leading up to the war and Britain’s involvement in the war. The characters were interesting but almost stilted. I guess that was how people were back then and did not let their emotions rule their behaviors. Or their conversations. It seemed as if everyone spoke around issues and were not exactly forthcoming. The boo ...more
Kate Stone
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, read it in 24 hours because I simply could not put it down. I bought the book because I have read Caro's legal series, I had no idea what this one was really about as the blurb gives nothing of the story line, it took me a while to pick it up and give it a go but when I did I was quickly drawn into the story and it ended in a very late night. Loved it so much but the blurb really needs to be more enticing, I'm currently raving about it word of mouth to everyone I know but Caro ...more
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
So I quite liked the "feel" of this late 30's/World War II Britain-set melodrama. And I definitely got involved in the story, to the point where I staying up until 3 am to finish it. But the two main characters involved in the central romance were both extremely unlikable and self-absorbed. There were also several plot points that just seemed to go nowhere and get dropped along the wayside. I'm not sure why some characters and story lines were even in the book unless the author intends to write ...more
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: england
Overall I enjoyed the book. The story itself has a fairly open-ended conclusion, nothing is "solved," but the characters embark on the next step in their journey. I would have liked more development of some of the side stories/ secondary characters - some of them were introduced and played a part in the story that seemed to turn into something important, but then they just disappeared. Although, I guess that's not much different from real life.
Helen Carolan
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
This started so well but by the end of part 2 it had become dull and repetitive. A well heeled group gather in the summer of 1936 for a summer party lasting 10 days.As the time passes sexual tensions boil over resulting in tragedy. For the rest of the book we discover how those there lived their lives in the aftermath of the party and during the second world war. O.k but wasn't overly impressed with it.
K.L. Loveley
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
The thing about reading a saga is that it takes time and when the story is as good as this one, it is hard to put down until one is forced, due to eye strain. I read this over two days. I was so intrigued as to the ending.
The story follows a group of guests who gather at a country house party. The decisions they make that day have far reaching consequences that last through the second world war and beyond.
This is a well written drama of love and betrayal.
May 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
I found Caro Fraser's The Summer House Party to be rather like Downton Abbey - fluffy, peopled with too many characters, and lacking in historical detail. That isn't to say that people will not enjoy it, but it did not have enough bite for my taste. I felt it was rather twee, and did not enjoy the writing style.
I wanted this book to do more, to push the boundaries further, so that it would really hook me. It didn't quite get there though. It became predictable, and lacked the intrigue and suspense that I was hoping for. It went for easy solutions rather than interesting ones. It just felt like I'd read it before.
Jeremy Bennett
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A totally absorbing read

It’s the sort of read you never want to put down. The characters are all so realistic and have an important part in the story line. I think that Caro has a considerable depth of experience in so many aspects of life that make the book so totally readable.
Jeremy Bennett
Robert K. Greene
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book is a slow read which is well written; however, I feel like there were several plots that never materialized and some were left undone. It is a bit lengthy and I feel like some things needed to be wrapped up better in order to feel completion upon finishing the book.
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written and engaging. Beginning with a summer party before WWII and ending as the war is coming to its conclusion. I liked the characters and found them very human with all their imperfections. The resilience of the women during the war was also captured well.
Jackie Fraser
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable

I have read all of Carp Fraser's books and have particularly enjoyed the Caper Court series but her stand alone novels are just as enjoyable as she is an excellent writer. Please don't stop writing Carp, your books are appreciated by many I am sure.
Rosemary Blake
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved following the intertwined lives of the people from the house party and seeing time move forward. Some serious life decisions are made. By the end I was getting fed up with the language of the period.
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Goodreads Authors...: Historical Fiction/Saga - The Summer House Party 2 29 Jan 20, 2018 11:01AM  

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