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Summary

The New York Times best-selling historical novelist delivers her biggest, boldest, and most ambitious novel yet - a sweeping Victorian epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados.

Barbados, 1854: Emily Dawson has always been the poor cousin in a prosperous English merchant clan - merely a vicar’s daughter, and a reform-minded vicar’s daughter, at that. Everyone knows that the family’s lucrative shipping business will go to her cousin, Adam, one day. But when her grandfather dies, Emily receives an unexpected inheritance: Peverills, a sugar plantation in Barbados - a plantation her grandfather never told anyone he owned. 

When Emily accompanies her cousin and his new wife to Barbados, she finds Peverills a burnt-out shell, reduced to ruins in 1816, when a rising of enslaved people sent the island up in flames. Rumors swirl around the derelict plantation; people whisper of ghosts. 

Why would her practical-minded grandfather leave her a property in ruins? Why are the neighboring plantation owners, the Davenants, so eager to acquire Peverills? The answer lies in the past - a tangled history of lies, greed, clandestine love, heartbreaking betrayal, and a bold bid for freedom.

A brilliant multigenerational saga in the tradition of The Thorn Birds and North and SouthThe Summer Country will beguile listeners with its rendering of families, heartbreak, and the endurance of hope against all odds. 

This audiobook includes an episode of the Book Club Girl Podcast, featuring an interview with Lauren Willig about The Summer Country.

©2019 Lauren Willig (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Summer Country

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Profile Image for Jennifer L. Wilson
  • Jennifer L. Wilson
  • 01-08-19

Excellent, Very Well Done

I have to have some mystery with my romance to keep in interesting and Lauren Willig always delivers. Many complex characters with action driven by their environment. The time and place is a character of its own. A masterful touch with difficult topics. I grew up in the Deep South and tend to avoid any novels dealing with slavery. But Lauren vividly portrays the cruelty without relying on graphic descriptions of violence. Even better, she illustrates the complexity of that cruelty and the circumstances that allowed a corrupt system to flourish.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Dina
  • 12-08-19

Tediously Interesting

You have to make it through the first 8 hours until things get interesting. Honestly, I did almost give up, but I'm glad I finished it. A lot of research went into this book regarding the early 19th century in Barbados and for that praise is due. But there was a big issue regarding going back and forth between two time periods. The juxtaposed decades were just too close together and the narration exactly the same for both so it was really easy to lose track of which character was speaking. Re-recording with two different narrators would definitely improve the audio experience.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Dorothy
  • 20-01-20

Amazing narrator!

Interesting historical fiction - mid 19th century Barbados. Great plot, characters span three generations. Highly recommend.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Melinda Denton
  • Melinda Denton
  • 05-12-19

No ending. Dissapointing.

I would have given this book 4 stars but..... The ending left me hanging and so unsatisfied. What was this author thinking? Good story but without an ending... Why bother?

4 people found this helpful

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  • ralphgolf
  • 17-06-19

Fantastic spellbinding historical novel

This is a great book. Fantastic and spellbinding story. You feel you are living the characters lives with them. Really gives an in depth glimpse of historical Barbados. Narrator does an excellent job!

9 people found this helpful

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  • Tanya
  • 04-03-20

New favorite book!

I’m a little bias since I currently live in and am from Barbados but this was such an interesting and engaging book! You can tell it was well researched and even I was able to learn lot! The characters where well developed and interesting and the story kept me wanting more! I really appreciate how much work and care went into this book! Will be recommending it to everyone and getting it in hard copy as well!! I love historical fiction and never thought I’d be able to enjoy one about my own home!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Sasha Wickstrom
  • 04-01-20

Weak story; poor narration.

Poorly written book. Events the should happen much later in the book, happen almost at the beginning. Voice of narrator very difficult to get comfortable with- that was the first thing that bugged me but I was hoping for a good story despite the narration. To be fair, I only managed to persevere through half the book. First book that I regret using my monthly credit on :(

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kendra C
  • 30-12-20

If only I had known...

Its very difficult to score The Summer Country because of a critical Audible mistake! The book bounces back and forth between 1814-1816 and 1854; the dates are briefly mentioned at the beginning of each chapter. I did not catch on to the two generations/two different stories unfolding simultaneously, until I was more than half through (8 hours) the book. Up until that point, I was thoroughly confused, could not follow the story and couldn't keep track of the characters. Duh. I would have put it down if I hadn't been traveling and thought it would be easier to just push through.

After I figured out that the book is set before and leading up to Bussa's Rebellion (1816 slave revolt in Barbados) and also the descendants a generation later, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters and location are very well defined and the story was engaging and interesting.

I recommend this one as long as you are aware of the bounces in time.

2 people found this helpful

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  • MWC
  • 24-01-20

Young adult genre

This may be a good book, but I only listened to enough of it to determine it was written for the young adult audience, so I cannot rate it accurately.

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for CDRoyall
  • CDRoyall
  • 18-07-19

loved this book

great story and very impressed with the amount of research Laura did to make the history accurate!

4 people found this helpful