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Summer House

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  14,615 ratings  ·  645 reviews
After years of wandering from whim to whim, thirty-year-old Charlotte Wheelwright seems to have at last found her niche. The free spirit enjoys running an organic gardening business on the island of Nantucket, thanks in large part to her spry grandmother Nona, who donated a portion of land on the family’s seaside compound to get Charlotte started. Though Charlotte’s skill ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,615 ratings  ·  645 reviews

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Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was ok
I got this book for free at a shopping event in New York. I figured I'd give it a shot.

First off, what does an author need to do to get some decent editors? I mean, seriously. This woman has written how many books and her publisher can't hire people who know how to copy edit? Typos GALORE in this book. Very distracting. Also distracting, the fact that the book takes place in present day but for some reason all the dialogue feels as though it was written in 1925 in England. Very upper-crusty and
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I listened to this book and it was hard to get into at first. There were so many different characters it was very hard to keep track of who was who. I almost gave up on the book. But I'm glad I didn't. This is a really good book about family dynamics and how families have lots of secrets. Not all of them are bad. I enjoyed this book.
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
The traditions of Boston Brahmin life on Beacon Hill and Nantucket, the access to education, career and life style, set the framework for this novel. While there are a number of extended family members who revere the inherent code of this life, a handful have not. Thus, it is their story, the 90 year old matriarch, 60 year old daughter in law and 30 year old granddaughter who face life-changing challenges and find their way through them.
The grandmother’s memories of her post-Radcliffe life in
Jul 09, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished, chick-lit
I read most of this multigenerational narrative, and initially felt it had the makings of a great summer read. Sadly, I just couldn't get through it. I found the switching between the grandmother, mother, and granddaughter's perspectives to be clunky. The secondary characters were flat; maybe they rounded out a bit in the final quarter of the novel, but they came off as too black-and-white. The book doesn’t have a particularly good or original story, lacks compelling characters, and offers ...more
Aug 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted on

The novel Summer House follows three generations of strong willed Wheelwright women as they wrestle with decisions that will change their lives. The story starts off with the youngest of the three generations. Charlotte Wheelwright has always wanted to impress her father and make him proud, but so far she feels she has failed. Charlotte did not enjoy the family business of banking, and has spent much of her adult life afloat, hopping
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
With a title like “Summer House,” this book could be just an ordinary beach read. But Nancy Thayer has transformed this story from light to deep in her multi-layered family drama.

The Wheelwrights of Boston, with an ancestral summer home on Nantucket, have traditions and a legacy; many who have married into the family have striven to live up to both with some difficulty. From the current matriarch Anne (Nona) down to the contemporary Wheelwrights, there are expectations and disappointments
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: light-reads
A nice summer read about a dysfunctional family with a lot of family drama. Told from the perspectives of three characters, Nona (Anne) the 90 year old matriarch; Helen, her daughter in law; and Charlotte, her 30 year old granddaughter. Each brings something special to the family, and each has her secrets.

All the characters are wonderfully portrayed, even the nasty Grace, who you just love to hate.

It’s always great to revisit Nantucket, which almost becomes a character in its own right.
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
At first it was challenging keeping so many characters straight, but it was worth it. Lots of twists and turns. A good Summer read.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
I have enjoyed Nancy Thayer in the past, but this book was just plain boring. Could hardly wait to finish it up. All selfish characters, and I didn't enjoy any of them. I found myself not caring what happened to any of them after about 50 pages.
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great story with a lot of family drama. A story about a very enmeshed family with secrets, betrayal, jealousy, but also unconditional love and forgiveness. An entertaining read for sure.
Jill Wallace
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great summer beach read. Predictable in some ways but unpredictable in others. Great characters!!
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is a story about family .... cranky, good, bad, crazy, controlling, jealous, indifferent, young and old .... your family if your family!

Anne Wheelwright is turning 90 and her whole family is going to help her celebrate. Whether she wants to celebrate or not!

Anne, or Nona, as she is affectionately called by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren sold her home in Boston when her husband, Herb, died five years ago. She decided she would live year round at their summer house on
Jun 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Summer House is the tale of three generations of women who are all vacationing together with their families on their Nantucket retreat. Nona is the 90-year old matriarch of the family and remembers back to the days when she first met, feel in love with, had to separate with her husband during WWII. Her daughter-in-law Helen is facing current troubles with her husband Worth and their three children. Helen’s daughter Charlotte has started her own organic garden business on the island and is ...more
Aug 17, 2011 rated it liked it
This wasn't as bad as the other Thayer book I recently read, Beachcombers, but there is so much good chick lit (with the beach chick lit practically its own genre) out there these days that I don't need to read any more Nancy Thayer. As a former Kansas City resident I can appreciate her shoutouts to her former hometown, but the overwrought predictability and unlikeable characters that abound in her books I cannot deal with so much.

These sentences I have to quote because they're just so
Jun 18, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading the twists and turns of the Wheelwright family (and it made me think that maybe my own family isn't so crazy after all). This book shows you that although a person may seem to be "perfect", he or she most likely has secrets from the past.

The story is told from the different viewpoints from three women from differnet generations of the same family. I found it interesting to read about the forties from Nona, the grandmother. I felt sorry for Helen, the mom. And I really wanted
Apr 27, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a bizarre read for me. It vacillates between clunky and genius. Really... very strange. The sentences and dialogue can be so overwrought, but certain passages are priceless.

I liked it overall, but definitely didn't love it. I suppose anyone who grew up going to the Cape in the summer would appreciate this book, or anyone who likes nice chick-lit fairly-cerebral-romance stories, and family dramas... the characters were largely well-drawn, although so many holes... WHY is Grace like
Sep 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
Oh wow...this book was not my favorite. It was so wordy, I found myself skimming pages and ready to toss it. I did read the first 100 pages, 10 from the middle, and 10 from the end...Huh...I thought it would never end. The story concept was good, but the author dragged out each character so long...I got bored and frustrated. Not sure I would read another Nancy Thayer..
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First, as an avid veggie gardener, this book had me from the description about Charlotte and her organic garden. I was a little thrown at first trying to understand all the characters and which child belonged to which parent...a lot was thrown at you in the first couple of chapters. But as I got into the book I wasn't so overwhelmed.

This book had several very good plot twists and one REALLY huge one. Nancy Thayer is a master at writing about the complexities of families and how we love and hate
:] This book makes you feel happy about life and that everything will work out in the end no matter what events and drama and people come your way. It started a little slow, but it was worth it because it helped build the characters and the setting perfectly. Happy to have read this book!
Robin Watson
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good, easy summer read. Interesting story of a wealthy family and the different paths individuals take. Some historical war references and flashbacks that took an interesting turn as well.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
It was just very mediocre. I just finished Summer if 69 by Elin Hilderbrand and I wasn’t ready to leave Nantucket. Unfortunately, I found with this novel I could have been on any island and didn’t feel the richness of Nantucket. Her characters were not as richly developed for me either except perhaps Nona.
Barbie J
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have to admit, I liked Summer House much more than other Thayer books I’ve read. The reality of family life and human imperfections was refreshing. I come from a large family so it was fun to read about another large family, especially when that family bounces off of each other like ping pong balls in a lottery game. Great book.
Jun 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-review
Summer House is told through the viewpoints of three women in the same family. Nona- is the 90 year old grandmother and head of the family. Helen- in her late fifties, she is married to Nona's son Worth. And Charlotte- thirty, she's Helen's daughter and is residing yearlong at the summer house in Nantucket along with her grandmother Nona. The Wheelwright family is all gathering together in their summer house for what they call "Family Meeting" (a meeting where the whole family comes together to ...more
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A surprising 4-star listen on audio for me. Although I've read many Elin Hildebrand novels, with their Nantucket setting, I'd never tried Nancy Thayer, maybe thinking she skewed too much towards the romance side of fiction. [Edited to note I've apparently read at least one Nancy Thayer which I reviewed here in 2012.] The soap opera style, multi-generational plot actually really captivated me.

Told from three women's points of view, the story follows Charlotte, a thirty-something who has moved to
Mindy Tysinger
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy Nancy Thayer and her novels and this is no exception. Great read!
Oct 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Over the years I have enjoyed many Nancy Thayer books. In fact, I think that I have read every one that she has written. The first one that I read was Stepping which my sister passed on to me. I think that she has read all of Nancy's books, also! I did reach a time where I started to be disenchanted with the fact that the main character in her book had some heartaches but they always had money to redo houses on Nantucket and buy new cars and then wind up happily ever after with a new man. In her ...more
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-theme
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Jun 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobooks
Summer House is the story of a single family that stays in Nantucket every summer. This family has so many conflicts, it drove me a little crazy.

Summer House is the second book by Nancy Thayer I have read, and I must admit, it was not my favorite.

First of all, I could not STAND Grace. She was so rude and disrespectful and tactless. Her daughters were not much better. Many times, I honestly wanted to slap them all, but the rest of the family seemed only mildly bothered by it. Additionally, many
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, 2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
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Mansfield Public ...: Summer House Review by Winnie Jackson 1 5 Jul 01, 2013 10:28AM  

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Nancy Thayer has a B.A. and M.A. in English literature from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Before settling down to write and have children she taught English at various colleges and traveled, living in Paris, Amsterdam and Helsinki. In 1981 she was a Fellow at the Breadloaf Writers Conference. She has lived on Nantucket Island year round for twenty-five years with her husband Charley ...more
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