Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Book Review: Midsummer by Carol Giangrande

From Goodreads:
All her life, Joy's been haunted by a man she's never met -- her visionary grandfather, the artist Lorenzo. At work on digging a New York subway tunnel, his pickaxe struck the remains of an ancient Dutch trading ship -- and a vision lit up the underground, convincing him that he was blessed. 
As it turned out, his children did well in life, and almost a century later, his granddaughter Joy, a gifted linguist, married the Canadian descendant of the lost ship's captain. Yet Nonno's story also led to the death of Joy's cousin Leonora, her Aunt Elena's only child. It was a tragedy that might have been prevented by Joy's father, Eddie, a man who's been bruised by life and who seldom speaks to his sister. 
Yet in the year 2000, he has no choice. Wealthy Aunt Elena and Uncle Carlo are coming from Rome to New York City to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary. They've invited the family to dine at the sky-high tower restaurant above the tunnel where nonno Lorenzo saw his vision long ago. On the first day of summer, Elena and Eddie will face each other at last. Midsummer is a story of family ties and fortune, and of Minding peace as life nears its close, high above the historic place where nonno's story began.
I feel like maybe I have a bit of an unfair bias against novella as a format, probably because I see it as a tool that publishers use to eke a few more dollars out of their big name series books (cynical, party of one).  This one, however, may just change my mind.  First of all, it's not part of a franchise super popular series, and second of all, it's beautifully written.  The setting is perfect, the characters are all sympathetic, and I was totally swept up in the story of family drama.

Entertainment Value
A perfect Sunday night read.  I devoured it in one sitting easily given the short length, but it still packed a punch emotionally.  Family dramas are a particular love of mine, and I really enjoyed getting to know this one.  I wish there had been more Aunt Elena because I totally fell in love with her.

I think this is a good starting point for those like me who have avoided novella as a format.  It's beautifully done and certainly has the literary aspect I was hoping for in terms of writing.  It also has a great story that pulls the reader in completely.  Definitely recommend it.

Thanks to TLC for providing me with a copy to review.  Click here to see the other blogs on the tour and their reviews.


  1. Thank you so much for your kind review of Midsummer. I hope you'll find many more novellas to read and enjoy.

  2. Glad we could pull you over to the dark side. ;) I've loved quite a few novellas, so I'm especially fond of them.

    Thanks for being on the tour!