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For a year, Venetia Summers has been buffered from single motherhood by her boyfriend, David, but when work takes him to a Brazilian rainforest, things begin to unravel. Phone lines crackle, e-mails go unanswered, and long-distance love proves to be a frustrating experience. Meanwhile, Venetia’s children—Giles, Felix, and The Beauty—and dogs run wilder than ever, her boring freelance career drives her to all kinds of procrastination, and the awkward but persistent advances of a wealthy new neighbor become a little unsettling.
How is Venetia to cope? A burgeoning fashion career, creating outlandish garments for a London boutique, provides some needed diversion. But when a moonlit walk takes an unexpected turn, she finds herself with a real dilemma on her hands. Throughout the chaos and moments of tenderness, her frankness and flair make this unsentimental British comedy a total delight.
“A hilarious, good-natured ode to all the wonderful messiness of domesticity.” —Newsday
“Warm and sunny . . . Barker draws us in by means of endearing characters; a keen, if neurotic wit, and a touch that is as homey as a terry-cloth bathrobe.” —People
“The comic voices are virtuoso and the immediacy of Venetia’s jottings tell it like it is—and it is very, very funny.” —The Independent (London)
“Pleasantly daffy.” —The Boston Globe
“Rafaella Barker is so good at drawing her characters. . . that within about twenty pages you feel you know them intimately and a few pages later you are almost as concerned about them as you are your real friends.” —Daily Express (London)
“A sharply drawn and wickedly funny cast of supporting characters . . . this is an utterly charming feel-good novel.” —Booklist
“Raffaella Barker’s wistful prose fills your head with soft, luminous Cezanne-like images only to be disturbed by the lively, but loveable children who run through the story . . . as you draw to the close you’ve come to care passionately about Venetia and a possible happy ending.” —The Daily Mail (London)
“Breezy yet surprisingly tender. . . . The reader needn’t be a parent to appreciate this sweetly funny ode to single motherhood.” —Publishers Weekly
“My advice is not to read Summertime in public. You’ll giggle, you’ll snort, you’ll make an exhibition of yourself.” —Country Life
“Venetia Summers has been compared by earlier reviewers to Bridget Jones, but Barker’s freshness and wit give her character a softer and more believable image . . . truly charming.” —Library Journal