When Clare Ross’ father dies, her mother’s close friend whisks her away from Scotland to her family home in France. The lonely, grieving Clare finds a kindred spirit in Luc Crépet, the son of the household. She also finds understanding and encouragement of her artistic skills in this slightly bohemian family. Clare and Luc spend a golden summer together, before her grandfather unexpectedly comes to claim her.
Although they are separated, first by distance and then by war, Luc and Clare nurture their bond through letters. Eventually, this connection is severed and they lose track of each other. Until one day after the war, a familiar face walks into the prosthesis studio where Clare works. Though Clare has finally found her place, Luc has lost his. But Clare refuses to give up on the boy she once knew and is determined to rescue him as he once rescued her. Can a man scarred physically and emotionally by war and betrayal recapture the love and contentment of that one summer so long ago?
At the Edge of Summer has been on my TBR pile for a while. And honestly, after finally reading it, I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to start.
This is a beautiful, poignant story of two people who find their home in each other. Though Clare’s father is dead, she is hopeful to finally find the mother who abandoned her. This makes her cautious of forming attachments with others as she fears to be abandoned.
Luc has loving parents, but is frustrated by their artistic natures which force him to be the responsible one of the family. Still, it gives him an understanding for a grieving girl whose art is both her release and passion.
I was captivated by the tenderness of At the Edge of Summer from the first page. The author’s descriptions of Clare’s home in Scotland, then France and later, all over Africa, brought these places vividly to mind. The relationship between Luc and Clare is underscored by patience, restraint, compassion and love.
Luc’s injuries during the WWI leave his face severely scarred. His need for a prosthetic mask helps reunite him with Clare who is using her artistic talents for a greater cause. There is much that can be inferred from Luc’s physical need to hide behind a mask, to cover the literal scars of betrayal, which I connected with. Don’t we all hide behind figurative masks at times to protect ourselves from the judgment and unwanted attention of others?
At the Edge of Summer has all the elements of the type of stories I enjoy; beautifully described settings, compelling relationships, love and redemption. It will definitely be going on my list of favorite books this year. And I will be seeking out other titles from this author.