[Review] Summer Island by Natalie Normann


contemporary | romance | adult


He never meant to stay.
He certainly never meant to fall in love…

Summer Island off the coast of Norway was the place London chef Jack Greene should have been from. He’s an outsider in the community that should have been his family, and now he’s setting foot on the strange land he has inherited for the first time.

The welcome is a mix of distrust and strange gifts of food, especially from enigmatic Ninni Toft, his nearest neighbour, who has arrived for the season to get over a broken heart. Her wild spirit and irrepressible enthusiasm for the quirky locals are a heady brew for city-boy Jack, who is discovering the simple pleasures of island life – and what it means to belong. To a place. To a people. To one person in particular…

Home is where the heart is, but is Jack’s heart with the career he left behind in London, or on the wind-swept shores of Summer Island, with Ninni?

This advanced copy was provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click the links below to make a purchase I might earn a small commission, at not extra cost to you!

This beginning of Summer Island is the equivalent of a Hallmark holiday movie. Ninni goes back to a small island in Norway for the summer, far from her life in the city and boyfriend drama. She is riding her bicycle non the wiser when she almost gets hit Jack, the new owner of a plot of land that contains many of the locals houses and business on the same small island whose looking to sell it to the best bidder. There is also talk about a bad guy that wants to buy the land to buy some commercial thing that will destroy de economy and life of the locals. Sounds familiar, right?After discovering who Jack is, the local community decides to befriend him in the hopes that he will discover that the island is his real home and he should stay.

There were very weak moments throughout the book where the plot got lazy as hell, the end was what I deem atrocious because it felt so rushed and didn’t really gave me a sense of closure for the story. But we will get to that soon.

The characters were not my cup of tea. By the middle of the book they had sparked a small sense of interest in me, but then the big stupid decisions and unnecessary secrets came to the scene and it fell apart for me. Ninni had an annoying personality at the beginning, it felt like she was a teenager by the way she acted with Jack. Can we get a female character that is laid back? I’m tired of women in books being all pissy about things. The author clearly wants us think that they are charming, and funny, and witty but it just didn’t cut it for me. There are several other characters that form part of the local community on the island, other farmers, teachers, business owners. We don’t really get to know them well, but I will say that Jens with his love for the viking cheese was my favorite of the entire book.

Going back to the plot. At the beginning of the book, on the second or third chapter, we have Ninni have a conversation with the person who acts as the island’s mayor and the basic plot of the story is laid out in front of us. We learned who the original owner of the plot of land is, what happened to him, who the “big bad” is and so on and so forth. What I disliked about this is the laziness behind it, this was all through a conversation that for the characters lasted probably five minutes. It took away so much from the enjoyment of learning things little by little, because even if I know what will happen it doesn’t mean I want to read it on the first pages.

But don’t worry, the story doesn’t go exactly as the characters think it will. Or how we think it will. At least for me, I was not expecting the bomb thas was going to fall on Ninni. I will not talk about it because it’s a big spoiler, but this is the big stupid decision and unnecessary secret that I mentioned earlier. It’s a happy ending, obviously, but it was so rushed. Jack does a romantic gesture (or not romantic, just… he does something) and everything is fine and everyone is happy. I think? Because the end of the book doesn’t really show us, so it’s up to us to imagine what their lives have become after getting back together.

I’ve talked so much about what I didn’t like but here is what I did like:

  • There was a dog named Frikk and the author almost took him away from me. That was probably the most interesting part of the book for me.
  • The character’s families were very supportive about their decisions and they encourage them to follow their heart. I loved Jack’s dad story about meeting his mother and how he became his dad, and Ninni’s dad supported her after the big bomb and her decision.
  • The setting in Norway, it was refreshing to see a summery book set on a not so common place. The place was charming, we get glimpses of different parts of the island, from the beachy side tourist like to the more whole other side of the island where it’s mostly farm. The characters walk a lot as there is no transportation, so we get to enjoy the view around them as they get lost in the grass, the plains and hills.

Very little to say about what I enjoyed, but not all books are for me and not all reviews can have me rave about how much I loved them. This is the first time I make a review for a book that I rated so low. Should I do it? Or is it distateful? I’ve always believe that is good to know the reasons why people don’t like a certain book, what they disliked could be something you don’t mind or even enjoy.

Summer Island will be published on June 24th, if after reading this review you want to give it a go then don’t hesitate to pre-order it at Book Deoository.

2 thoughts on “[Review] Summer Island by Natalie Normann

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