Publisher: Ballantine Books
Published: May 2016
The first book of a new contemporary romance series set in the mountains of Virginia in a town with full of family legends, romance, and secrets from New York Times bestselling author of the Nantucket Brides trilogy.
Sparks fly as fiery Casey Reddick and brooding Hollywood actor Tate Landers clash in the Virginia summer heat. A chef who puts her career first and her love life second, Casey doesn’t see what every girl in town is swooning over. She made up her mind the moment she met Tate—he’s gorgeous, but stuck-up, nothing like his ex-brother-in-law, Devlin who’s playing the Wickham to Tate’s Darcy in local production of Pride & Prejudice. Casey makes the perfect Elizabeth Bennett—how could she be star-struck when she’s heard Devlin’s damning stories about Tate? As they rehearse together, however, Casey finds herself attracted to Tate—he’s much more down-to-earth than she expected and any physical contact between the two of them literally gives her a tingling, electric shock. As opening night draws near, Casey has some difficult decisions to make. Whom should she believe? The seemingly sincere, slighted Devlin or Tate, whose rough, arrogant exterior may only be skin deep. She’s come to love that jolt she gets when they touch—but will she get burned?
Jude definitely has the attention of the readers after the first sentence: “There was a naked man on Casey’s back porch.” Well, that’s one way to start a romance novel. The tone has been set and the author luckily lives up to the enticing start of her novel.
Casey is a lovely but feisty character who can appreciate the fine specimen on her porch, but as soon as the gorgeous man opens his mouth, she realizes he is just one arrogant big time movie star with a stick in his ass. The bantering between Tate and Casey is hilarious at times and sparks are definitely flying.
Although the story is about a local production of Pride and Prejudice in the little town of Summer Hill, the true story of Lizzy and mr. Darcy enfolds along with the rehearsals of the play. Jude has done a splendid job of entwining the original story of Jane Austen with the storylines of Tate, Jack, Gisele, Kit, Lori, Olivia, Nina, Devlin and Casey.
The story of the Girl from Summer Hill is more down-to-earth than the Nantucket Brides trilogy. So there are no ghosts from the past haunting the main characters. But there are some secrets from the past, which remain secret for a great part of the book. It keeps you wondering why Olivia reacts to Kit the way she does and why Nina and Emmie are so protective of Tate.
Unfortunately, not all the characters were written in depth. For instance, the dare devil with an angelface Gisele (better known als Gizzy), is a humorous girl. But it doesn’t get very clear why she acts like a adrenoline junkie. Perhaps Jude will go into that in the sequel of this book (it is told, this book is the first in a new series). It would do her justice, because she plays a big part in the first few chapters of the book, but her role becomes lesser in the end.
Devlin and Tate couldn’t be more opposites then they are. Casey gets stuck in the middle, when she dates Devlin, but has to rehearse with Tate for the play. Are the stories Devlin tells her about Tate and his sister true? Or are those the tales of a resentful ex? Surely, Devlin can’t be making the stories up? And the photos Casey accidently stumbles on, are showing evidence of truely horrific behaviour. Although Tate is an arrogant prick, Casey has a hard time believing that he is the coldhearted bastard Devlin describes him to be. And why is she so much attracted to him? She isn’t a giggling college girl any more, so what is that electric shock she gets, everytime she goes near him? All secrets are revealed during the premiere of the play. So you just have to keep on reading until then, just as I did with my ARC from FirstToRead.