Book review: The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman

8 Jul

impossibleHow far would you go to save the person you love?
Luna is about to do everything she can to save her mother’s life.
Even if it means sacrificing her own.

The Summer of Impossible Things is the book that I’ve been waiting for! It’s a wonderful, magical, hopeful dream of a book and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I’ve been a fan of Rowan Coleman’s novels for a long time now but my favourite parts of her writing are the ones that show us the magic in life and I’m so pleased that she’s taken this theme and really explored it in her latest novel.

Set mainly in Brooklyn in 1977 and 2007, the story follows Luna and her sister Pia as they return to the place where their mother was born and grew up. For Luna it’s a literal return to the time and place as she finds that she is able to visit the summer of 1977 and comes face to face with her mum as a young woman.

The Brooklyn of 1977 that Rowan creates is brilliant; it’s atmospheric and detailed and I could see the scenes Rowan describes like film scenes playing out as I read. This is the summer that the movies came to Bay Ridge with the filming of Saturday Night Fever and the era is so evocative – it’s also the year I was born so for me it’s always held a special fascination!

For Luna’s mum, it’s a summer of love and something darker – the summer that she left New York for England because of the events that played out. Past and present are inextricably linked through the book which plays out over just seven days in July. Luna’s visit to New York isn’t just a case of settling her mother’s estate; the events of that summer thirty years ago have affected her mother every day since, ultimately leading to her death. Rowan creates a strong sense of mystery in this novel and that makes it a compelling page turner as well as a beautiful and exciting read. I wanted to race through the book to find out what had happened to Marissa thirty years ago but I also wanted to savour and enjoy every word!

Luna is a brilliant character; clever, brave and wise, she’s a physicist and I loved how Rowan used her scientific mind to question what was happening to her and to give perspective on the events of the book. Rowan creates ‘real’ characters who have demons to fight and the other women in the book are all strong in their own ways. The Summer of Impossible Things is a love story on so many levels which captures beautifully the complex and unconditional love between parents and children, siblings and partners and it made my heart sing!

I loved the principles and philosophies that Rowan examines in this story; how we as humans experience time, how we understand our place in the universe and just how much is yet to be understood or uncovered! I said in a recent interview for the RNA blog that I think we all need a bit of magic in our lives and that I hoped to see more of this sort of novel in future; The Summer of Impossible Things is a perfect example of what I meant. Rowan’s books just keep getting better I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

5/5

The Summer of Impossible Things is out now in hardback, ebook and audio formats.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book.

Find out more about Rowan and her writing at: http://rowancoleman.co.uk/

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