A Bright Summer

A Seasons Novel

Romance - Contemporary
284 Pages
Reviewed on 10/08/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Antoinette Wessels for Readers' Favorite

A Bright Summer: A Seasons Novel by Kate Smoak is an erotic tale based on the blossoming romance between sexy party girl and heiress Elissa Black and the handsome millionaire businessman Brandt Collins. Elissa came from a wealthy and privileged background. For her whole life, she had sought the approval of her parents. But winning awards and graduating at the top of her class was never enough. With more freedom when she attended university, Elissa lived a life of parties and one-night stands with her roommate and best friend, Riley. Brandt had been in love with Elissa from afar ever since high school. When a business deal with Elissa’s father created the opportunity for Brandt to work closely with Elissa, he grabbed it with both hands. But Elissa’s father Harold had other plans and made Brandt an offer he may not be able to refuse.

A Bright Summer is Kate Smoak’s debut novel, and I am incredibly impressed. Smoak has a future as part of the erotic romance author community. I will be looking forward to seeing what she has in store for readers. The cliffhanger this novel ended on makes me even more excited to read the follow-up. A problem I always had with erotic novels was that there was seldom a story of substance, but Smoak surprised me immensely. This book has sensual scenes with a tremendous and exciting backstory. I loved the way Smoak changed the overly-used playboy storyline to one where the female is the character with commitment issues, not the male. As with most novels about the extremely rich, this one had me wishing I could live the high life. Smoak is an author to be watched, and I will be one of those readers.

K.J. Simmill

In Kate Smoak’s A Bright Summer: A Seasons Novel, Elissa Black's graduation should have been a moment to remember, but instead it felt like a countdown to incarceration. The moment it was over she had precious little time before she'd be her family's prisoner once more. Her behavior over the last few years had not gone unnoticed. If she had been a boy, her father would have been proud, but instead, he deemed her a slut, as not once did she take the same man home. It didn't matter that she pushed herself to academic perfection and smashed every target. Her achievements were only seen when it brought him publicity. Now she was coming home, he had the perfect plan. His daughter had to do the company proud, and what better way than to force her to settle down? Brandt had loved her since the moment he set eyes on her, and with his company now leading her father into the future, it was decided that for this merger to work, he needed another kind of merger. Marriage. But Elissa can't know it's part of the deal, and if he fails, he not only loses the woman he loves but everything he has put into the business.

Written from the alternating perspectives of all the key characters, A Bright Summer is a complete view of the struggles of Elissa, from the perspective of herself, her only friend, and the man who has loved her from afar for years. Elissa’s feelings of entrapment are demonstrated beautifully, and the reality of her knowing her family is toxic, and yet doing anything she can to make them proud creates a strong sense of realism and empathy toward her. But as so often happens, her parents’ pride is for the cameras only, and they continue to chisel away at her. As you read and her parents’ personalities shine through, you’ll find growing hatred blossoming in you toward the family who have every reason to be proud, but have only barbed, reluctant compliments and agendas for the child they wished was a boy. With a family like that, it’s no wonder Elissa doesn’t allow anyone in, so watching her and Brandt, the push and pull, the progress and regression, really captivates attention as he works hard to slowly get through her walls. Kate Smoak has woven a tale filled with drama, animosity, insecurity, and steamy encounters that will keep you hooked as you wonder whether Brandt can be the one to finally make her trust, to bring down those walls, and with a character as vibrant and charming as he is, you can’t help but hope he gets the girl.

Pikasho Deka

Treat your contemporary romance taste buds to Kate Smoak's A Bright Summer. Elissa Black -- a recent graduate of Queen's University and heiress to her father Harold's massive press and publishing company -- loves to party and have fun. But her father's controlling ways force her to work at his company while Harold is busy doing a business deal with Brandt Collins, a young billionaire who has had a crush on Elissa since high school. One of Harold's conditions for partnering with Brandt is that Brandt has to win Elissa over and eventually marry her. Feeling an intense mutual attraction toward each other, Brandt and Elissa begin a passionate affair, with Brandt falling head over heels for her. But when Harold's plans are finally revealed to Elissa, she has to choose between her feelings for Brandt and her pursuit of freedom.

A Bright Summer is a fantastic start to the Seasons series. Kate Smoak's romance novel is full of spicy lovemaking scenes, humor, and a healthy dose of drama you will love. The chemistry between the main characters makes this book such a joy to read. Both the couples, Elissa and Brandt and Riley and Rhys, light up the atmosphere every time they are featured on the pages together. The passionate scenes between Elissa and Brandt are particularly intoxicating. Apart from the primary love story, I also enjoyed the friendship of Elissa and Riley. They truly come off as best friends who ride and die by each other. The book ends on a cliffhanger, and I'm eager to continue the story in the sequels. If you're looking for a sizzling romance novel, A Bright Summer is just the book for you!