The Summer Country

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Title: The Summer Country
Published by: William Morrow
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Pages: 464
ISBN13: 978-0062839022


The New York Times bestselling historical novelist delivers her biggest, boldest, and most ambitious novel yet—a sweeping Victorian epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados.

Barbados, 1854.  Emily Dawson has always been the poor cousin in a prosperous English merchant clan—merely a vicar’s daughter, and a reform-minded vicar’s daughter, at that. Everyone knows that the family’s lucrative shipping business will go to her cousin, Adam, one day. But when her grandfather dies, Emily receives an unexpected inheiritance: Peverills, a sugar plantation in Barbados—a plantation her grandfather never told anyone he owned.

When Emily accompanies her cousin and his new wife to Barbados, she finds Peverills a burnt-out shell, reduced to ruins in 1816, when a rising of enslaved people sent the island up in flames. Rumors swirl around the derelict plantation; people whisper of ghosts.

Why would her practical-minded grandfather leave her a property in ruins?  Why are the neighboring plantation owners, the Davenants, so eager to acquire Peverills? The answer lies in the past-- a tangled history of deceit, greed, clandestine love, heartbreaking betrayal, and a bold bid for freedom.

A brilliant multigenerational saga in the tradition of The Thorn Birds and North and South, The Summer Country will beguile readers with its rendering of family, tragedy, and the endurance of hope against all odds.

Book Club Guide


Praise & Awards

  • Woman's World Book Club Pick
  • Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist, Best Historical Fiction

“Rich settings, romantic intrigue, and engaging characters will draw readers into this dramatic epic of estate owners and slavery in 19th-century colonial Barbados from Willig…. The physical and emotional passions of the characters keep the stakes high and the pages turning, making this a powerful exploration of slavery and reformation on Barbados.”
-Publishers Weekly


“A tale of two sugar plantations on Barbados before and after the abolition of slavery. … Characters of all races are fully fleshed out as Willig confronts the island's complex racial dynamics, in particular the sexual exploitation of enslaved women and its consequences. A deep dive into Caribbean history which requires, and ultimately rewards, close reading.”
– Kirkus


“…evocative, engaging epic.”
- Booklist


“Tense, atmospheric, and gorgeously written, THE SUMMER COUNTRY is a novel to savor!"
–Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network 


“I’ve been waiting for a book like this to come along: an epic family saga simmering with secrets, gorgeously told. Lauren Willig brings her exotic island setting to life with such exquisite sensory detail I lost myself completely. It’s a story to be savored, a book you will keep on your shelf to read again and again. THE SUMMER COUNTRY is a masterpiece.”
-Jamie Brenner,  bestselling author of Drawing Home


“Powerful, emotional, beautiful, and historically fascinating, THE SUMMER COUNTRY is a simply breathtaking saga. This is the kind of book you fall into, that absorbs you for the entire time you are reading it and that after, haunts you.... long after.”
-M.J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author of Tiffany Blues

“In this evocative family saga, THE SUMMER COUNTRY, Willig sweeps the reader away to the heartbreak of colonial Barbados, where love across the color line is forbidden, and the repercussions of slavery’s cruelty echoes through the generations. Bold and beautifully told, with unexpected twists, the puzzle pieces fit together with a satisfying click. Brava!”
-Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of My Dear Hamilton 

“Lauren Willig’s THE SUMMER COUNTRY is a sumptuous read, evoking M.M. Kaye’s lush and sweeping tales of nineteenth century colonial life. I read THE SUMMER COUNTRY slowly—doling out exquisite chapters one at a time—because there are too few books written today that harken back to that delicious way of storytelling that doesn’t rush things just to keep up with modern trends. I would count this one as a new classic and encourage every reader who cares about quality writing to quickly add this one to their list of to-be-favorites.”
-Camille Di Maio, author of The Beautiful Strangers

“So steeped in Caribbean culture, my hands were sweating while turning the pages. Lauren Willig has ventured to story territory near and dear to my heart. THE SUMMER COUNTRY is a daring, meticulously researched narrative of complicated love. A hot summer read for historical fiction fans!”
-Sarah McCoy, New York Times bestselling author of Marilla of Green Gables


“Engrossing from its very first page, THE SUMMER COUNTRY plunges us deep into a multi-layered family history set against the lush backdrop of plantation-era Barbados, where warring desires for freedom and profit trap even the best-intentioned. Willig's women span three generations, linked by respectable lies and useful deceptions, but each is determined to live her own truth regardless of the cost. A powerful exploration of personal identity--and the ways in which love leads us to our truest selves--THE SUMMER COUNTRY is Lauren Willig's finest novel to date.”
- Stephanie Barron, author of That Churchill Woman


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