In this lovely, Sweden-set short story, Jolie Flynn returns to the island of Öland for her aunt’s funeral and to take care of her estate. In the airport, she encounters her first love, Mattias, now a father of five, who remembers her aunt and comes to Öland to stay next door to Jolie. Their second-chance romance is well told, but it’s the evocative prose that earns A Midsummer Flight’s Dream its DIK.
Arlanda Airport, Stockholm, was an ice palace of glass and silver columns, with snowy white awnings stretched overhead.
Who would have thought that an airport could sound so magical? (By contrast, “John Fitzgerald Kennedy International Airport smelled like rancid meat and urinal cake" - which in my opinion is actually rather generous). Jolie’s misadventures as she tries to get to and from Sweden are amusing without being contrived, with farcical blundering from security and customs bureaucrats. It sits so perfectly on that line between funny and relatable that you half expect someone to be going viral for live-tweeting it.
But it’s Öland (once, of course, Jolie finally gets there) which truly shines. The author has Lucy Maud Montgomery’s touch, the ability to create magic in an island house and fill the reader with nostalgia, somehow, for a place they’ve never been:
Tove’s yard was full of wildflowers, tiny buttercups, the same as home only half the size. Scrubby wild roses bloomed next to her door. The house key was under the ugly ceramic frog under the stoop, a child’s craft project made half a century ago.
Like Miss Honey’s cottage in Matilda, it just has that dusty sunlit feel, and I loved it.
The romance is enjoyable, with Mattias and Jolie reconnecting. My only complaint about the story is that Jolie’s misunderstanding about Mattias goes on too long and makes the characters look bad in the interim. If you’re reading and you start wondering, don’t worry! I promise this is a romance.
Bite-size romances always both delight and impress me, because they do so much in so little space, and I can enjoy them in one sitting. A Midsummer Flight’s Dream is a buried short story treasure I’m happy to have uncovered.
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Recent Comments …
I read and reviewed one of Anne Renwick’s books here – I seem to remember quite enjoying it.
It’s the original one–unlike many of the other older historicals, this one hasn’t been updated.
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