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Reviewed by Tom Gauthier for Readers' Favorite
Rayne’s Summer is a tale of a nine-year-old lad growing up in a small town on the English coast. Set in the 1950s with a backstory of the Korean War, young Rayne is thrust into a whirlwind of events with meanings beyond his years. Margaret M. Ford spins a web of mysteries from the death of Rayne’s brother, Vinnie, in Korea to the vastly different conditions of Vinnie’s two mates who returned after service, to the murders of two youngsters. She throws character after character at us that quickly form a picture of the evolving tale. They are beautifully described people who morph into classic Sherlock Holmes cast members before our eager eyes. What appears to be a loving family becomes a tale of secrets that we follow through the eyes of the boy, Rayne, as the layers are peeled back one by one. Margaret M. Ford has created a masterful story of loving relationships and edge of your seat dangers and threats that will keep you involved from beginning to end.
In Rayne’s Summer, Margaret M. Ford has condensed a classic mystery into a single summer, masterfully blending aberrant behavior with quixotic searches for answers. It’s hard at times to see Rayne as a nine-year-old, but Ford keeps bringing us back to his innocence amid his fetchingly precocious probes into the adult behaviors. The backstory of Korea and the death of Rayne’s brother set up the sources of danger and conflicts, mixed with twists and surprise reveals from Alfie Borne’s turning to evil to Pete’s slow return to the world and his revelations. Ford is able to keep a long list of identifiable characters in perfect focus for us as she introduces them and blends them into the tale. This is a brilliantly crafted book that will draw you in early and keep the pages turning. Rayne’s throw-away line is spot-on when his teacher says, “I hope you’ve got something to fill an essay with,” and he replies with mirth, “Fill an essay, sir? Crikey, I could write a book!” And through his eyes that summer … he did indeed. I highly recommend Margaret M. Ford’s Rayne’s Summer. A deliciously brilliant work!