Set in the early 1900's, The Summer Before the War features entrancing characters and a wonderfully developed setting.
The above said, the author chooses to humanize her characters at about the 70% mark with a strange series of decisions which paint Agatha and several others in a bad light. It made sense that all of them come off the pedestal and receive a bit of tarnish on their halos but I think the nature of that particular choice might make some readers rather angry. I thought it represented actions true to the times and showed that people’s principles and sense of self-preservation can sometimes clash, revealing unfortunate stains on their character. The Summer Before the War won’t be a good fit for every reader. It’s long and there is little action outside of the occasional parade and dinner party. The romance is sparse. However, I think fans who enjoy “comedy of manners” style books will be completely delighted by this novel. I am happy to recommend it to them.
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Grade: BCheck Review