Book Review: The Light in Summer by Mary McNear, Book 5 of the bestselling Butternut Lake series

Title:  The Light in Summer
Series: Butternut Lake, Book 5
Author: Mary McNear
Publisher: William Morrow, imprint of HarperCollins
Release Date:  June 20, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mary McNear brings you home to Butternut Lake and a novel filled with irresistible characters who you will want to call your friends.

It’s summertime on Butternut Lake, where the heat of noon is soothed by the cool breezes of the evening, where the pace grows slower, and sometimes, just sometimes, the summer light makes everything clearer...

For the lovely Billy Harper, Butternut Lake is the place she feels most at home, even though lately she feels the only one listening to her is Murphy...her faithful Labrador Retriever. Her teenage son, Luke, has gone from precious to precocious practically overnight. Her friends are wrapped up in their own lives, and Luke’s father, Wesley, disappeared before his son was even born. No wonder she prefers to spend time with a good book, especially ones where everything ends in perfection.

But Billy is about to learn that anything is possible during the heady days of summer. Coming to terms with her past—the death of her father, the arrival of Cal Cooper, a complicated man with a definite interest in Billy, even the return of Wesley, will force her to have a little bit of faith in herself and others...and realize that happiness doesn’t always mean perfection.

Booknerds alert! You will fall in love with the resident librarian of Butternut Lake in Mary McNear's The Light in Summer.  How could you not? One that finds reading as her favorite past time, plus a fan of Jane Austen, is bound to resonate with readers. 

". . . it's why I keep at least three books in my shoulder bag at all times. In case I finish one and I don't like another. I also keep a book in the glove compartment of my car, and a couple more of them in the trunk. Just for good measure. Because you never know when you're going to need a book." (162)

Words of wisdom or a little over the top? I'm not so sure at times, but she does have a point. *smiley face. Billie is the librarian, but also a mother of a teenage boy who just suffered a lost and don't know how to deal with that grief. His answer's to lash out at his mother, and seek the father he never knew. As this mother and son try to handle this change in familial dynamics, readers get a sense of what complications life can throw at you. A story that takes you page after page, The Light in Summer has a lightness to it in a small town setting that just makes it an easy read, despite touching on some heavy topics like grief and parenting. 

The characters are interesting, yet there is a certain disconnect which I believe have more to do with it being a part of the series.  Though it can be read as a standalone, The Light in Summer may be a good tie-in to the rest of the series.

For my clean readers, please note there are some intimacy in this book that goes beyond kisses. 

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.
For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



OTHER BOOKS IN THE BUTTERNUT LAKE SERIES (click on the image to take you to Goodreads)



Mary McNear, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Butternut Lake series, writes in a local doughnut shop, where she sips Diet Pepsi, observes the hubbub of neighborhood life, and tries to resist the constant temptation of freshly made doughnuts. Mary bases her novels on a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the northern Midwest.

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Check out the full tour schedule for more information! Click on the image below to take you there.



  1. The cover of this book makes me think wonderful summery thoughts. I'm glad to know that there is a lightness to it in spite of the heavy topics it deals with.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!


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