Book Review: One Summer by David Baldacci

What’s it about?

When thirty-four-year-old war veteran Jack Armstrong is told he has only weeks to live, his first concern is for his beloved wife Lizzie, and their children; baby Jackie, twelve-year-old would-be actor Cory and rebellious teenage daughter Mikki. It seems so cruel that an apparently fatal illness should claim him, a survivor of Afghanistan and Iraq, when he still has so much to live for.

On Christmas Eve, as Jack prepares to say goodbye to his family, unthinkable tragedy strikes again and Lizzie is killed in a car accident. Just when Jack thought living was far harder than dying, and the children’s future looked so bleak, something remarkable happens which gives Jack the valuable second chance he’d only dreamed of.


Unexpectedly, the family inherits Lizzie’s beautiful childhood home on the oceanfront in South Carolina. During one unforgettable summer, Jack and the children struggle to re-build their lives. They learn to live again – and to love again. And they learn the biggest lesson of all – the importance of family.

My review

I’d not read any David Baldacci before and picked this one up off my Mum’s bookshelf. Apparently it’s quite different from his usual stuff. This is a story of family and of dealing with grief. There aren’t any massive surprises as the blurb pretty much spells it all out but it still made me cry by the end of page 53 when the children left and Jack was expected to die alone, that was hard!

I believe that his fatal disease was never identified and I guess this was probably so he could miraculously recover. Tadge unbelievable but I guess the story wouldn’t have gone anywhere if had he died as well.

I found Jenna’s character to be super annoying, too nice, too understanding and Jack’s obsession with lighthouse…well that got to me after a while also, but it all works out in the end. Happy endings, a little bit predictable but is a perfect beach bag read.

Read if you like Baldacci or Nicholas Sparks or just general romantic tragedies 🙂

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