Feather’s Review: Searching For Summer, by Christine Campbell
Years ago, I stood in front of a doctor who appeared to be in almost as much pain as I. Holding my breath, I waited for the words, “He’s going to be okay.” Instead, he softly said the words, “I’m sorry, but there was nothing I could do,”
In spite of his attempt to be gentle, a burning knife plunged into my heart. I screamed and collapsed. I still recall every searing breath during that horror. Unable to breathe. Not wanting to inhale. My emotions – chaotic and exploding with rage and despair. I was thrown into a hopeless, downward spiral.
Pieces of my life, beautiful memories, treasured moments, fell with me, tumbling and disappearing as if fire consumed them. As if they were merely a figment of my imagination. A dream only I could see and recall. I succumbed to a virtual black hole, a torture that went on and on. Only his collar and leash, his ashes, a toy he preferred remain. Photographs, all too few, remind how much he and I loved each other, unconditionally.
When I picked up Christine Campbell’s novel, Searching for Summer, I wasn’t expecting to read a story that so fully described the pain I suffered – and so much more deeply than I can express. Searching for Summer is primarily character driven. Each loving and caring character touched my heart deeply. The nasty villains would have felt my wrath if I could have slipped into their world. It’s a treat to read a book where the author’s characters are so well developed, and continue to grow throughout the story.
Searching For Summer is much more than a story of fascinating characters. I loved the plot, a story set in Edinburgh, Scotland. Though it revolves around a single mother’s struggle with loss and despair, the story also embraces Mirabelle’s courage, tenacity, insane stubbornness, her love for music and dance. The theme of loving family bonds, enduring and frustrating, propel this story in surprising twists. And who doesn’t love a man (police officer, Sam) who is shoved repeatedly out the door because he’s telling Mirabelle things she doesn’t want to hear, but he keeps coming back.
Christine’s writing talent is incredible. She puts the reader into the vivid scenes where we can eavesdrop on the painful family arguments and tiptoe inside Mirabelle’s messy flat. I see the colorful bangles and warm, soft wraps that was her trademark before her daughter disappeared. She searches for Summer among the shopkeepers, sleeping with the homeless on cold winter nights, digging for the slightest clue. Her wanderings lead her to discover more than she bargained for. She’s bold, firing up her woman’s sixth sense, or applying risky detective techniques. Mirabelle is relentless, driving her loved ones to the brink of shutting her out and leaving her to suffer deeper abandonment.
Final Important Note: After viewing the superb book trailer, I purchased this novel for my kindle. I’m so impressed with Searching For Summer, I’d like to have a print copy on my physical bookshelf. I could read it again and again. Loved it that much.
Searching For Summer Synopsis
The first novel in The Reluctant Detective Series. Mirabelle’s daughter, Summer, disappears one Friday night, and Mirabelle would dearly love to rewind that day and live it differently. Instead, she is left not knowing if Summer is alive or dead, went of her own accord or was taken against her will. Casting all other concerns aside – food, sleep, work, relationships – in her desperate need to find the answers, she takes to the streets of Edinburgh in search of Summer. Searching along wynds snaking behind old buildings, through ancient doors and tiny spiral stairways, showing Summer’s photograph to everyone she meets in shops, museums and nightclubs, Mirabelle becomes a reluctant detective, gathering clues, trying to make sense of them in order to find her missing daughter.
Christine Campbell was born in post-war London but has lived most of her life in Scotland. She now lives near Edinburgh with her husband and within an hour’s car journey from each of her five married children and ten grandchildren. She began writing novels more than thirty years ago but did not seek publication until 2008 when she published ‘Family Matters’, then in 2009, ‘ Making It Home’. Her third novel to be published, ‘Flying Free’ is now out and also available on Amazon and FeedARead.com.
Christine writes contemporary novels about people who could just as easily be your neighbours or friends…or even you.
When she writes about life, you can be sure she knows what she’s talking about…having lived plenty herself.