Sins of Summer


Fiction - Inspirational
350 Pages
Reviewed on 07/30/2017
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Sins of Summer by Linda Heavner Gerald is the story of a young girl who was destroyed by a monster, but later she found it in her heart to forgive that person and finally set herself free from her past. There is just something about this novel that would not let me put it down. I literally devoured the story because I was so hooked up with Audrey and her journey. The story is real, gritty, raw and very intense. The author holds nothing back and gives the reader exactly what they want and deserve.

Audrey is the Golden Girl; she is pretty, her life is good, and she and John Brock are devoted to each other. Committed to spending a lifetime together, nothing can bring them down. However, tragedy strikes her life when she is abused and betrayed. She has no idea that what happened to her will change her life and any plans she had for her future. Quickly spiraling into alcoholism and other disruptive behaviors, she loses friends and the people who were once close to her. It is years later that she meets a person who changes it all for her. Through that one person, Audrey realizes that if she lets go of the past, it will no longer have any control over her.

Like I said, this is an intense novel and I was sucked into the story. The connection between Audrey and Diana is very powerful. Together, these two realize that they are not that different from each other and they heal together. From nightmares to consolation, these two stick together and grow up together. I really enjoyed this novel, it was simply perfect!

Sarah Scheele

Sins of Summer by Linda Heavner Gerald is a page-turning fiction read with a distinctive, memorable protagonist. Successful interior designer Audrey is simultaneously upscale and relatable, as she struggles with a difficult past and her world's façade begins to crumble around her. Unable to bear the hypocrisy of the wealthy elite, her marriage crumbles as she falls into alcoholism and preoccupation with her identity. When a villain emerges from the shadows of the beach house where she first experienced trauma, Audrey and her newfound friend, Diana, must face the ultimate music—God’s purpose and plan amidst so much wrongdoing.

Audrey’s situations kept me reading breathlessly and the story pace was quick and exhilarating. The characters and situations flowed evenly into each other, keeping interest high. Linda Heavner Gerald delves into some sexual issues in this page-turning contemporary novel, writing with remarkable vividness. I eagerly followed Audrey and Diana as they grew from emotional hollowness to greater spiritual purpose through the subtly drawn faith element, but the story’s emphasis was on relationships and empowerment. Linda Heavner Gerald handles the dramatic plot and multiple points of view with great effectiveness. Some form of gender-based violence or mistreatment links most of the women in the book, and Sins of Summer captures this topic in a crystallized fictional form. There’s a little glamour, a little adventure, and more than a little heartbreak and triumph. Not for younger audiences because of the content, but for mature readers looking for something a little different, Sins of Summer would be an intriguing summer reading choice.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Linda Heavner Gerald lures you into Sins of Summer with a mysterious and bizarre beginning. Hidden away in an upstairs room, a sickly old man is being held captive. Truth is all that matters to Audrey. No longer can she live with the anguish and her haunting nightmares. She must confront the man who destroyed her childhood and tortured her soul. Audrey's life went from fortunate to spiraling out of control. A picture perfect marriage, wealth and success could not take away her pain; she was damaged goods. “Bully up,” forgive and forget, what ridiculous, mindless platitudes when enduring such mental pain. To forget would be wonderful, oh, how Audrey tries to forget. Forgiveness is inconceivable, an impossibility. Yes, bullying up is the answer, revenge and retribution marshal her soul. Only with help from God Himself will Audrey be able to move on from the “Sins of Summer” so long ago.

Linda Heavner Gerald pens an unforgettable, psychologically spellbinding story. Sins of Summer takes you on an emotional roller-coaster ride from revenge to forgiveness. Sins of Summer profoundly portrays the effects of trauma upon its victim: “Mental pain conjured such extreme Hell that her conscious ability seemed unable to prevent it.” The young heroine is beautiful, smart and wealthy, yet looks can be deceiving. Hidden behind the cloak of success are deception, pain, heartache and utter misery. The classic conflict of good versus evil is realistically and effectively depicted. Throughout the narrative, evil takes on many forms - seduction, arrogance, drug abuse and even sociopathic behavior. However, good is subtly patient, and divinely battles evil’s despicable ways. Although the truth is hidden, Gerald pens veiled hints leading up to the climactic turning point. The descent into reality surprisingly brings freedom for all involved. In the end, love triumphs over evil, providing an inspirational conclusion that “with God all things are possible.”

Romuald Dzemo

No matter how hard we try, some things can’t just be forgotten or easily left behind. And this is so true of Audrey’s experience. She has been abused and hurt in the worst possible way by a monster in her past. Time has gone by, and she’s tried to move on, but the nightmares keep on waking her to the grim reality of how much she’s been hurt. Apart from her nightmares, Audrey has to deal with other personal issues, including weight gain, alcohol, and others. Loving John Brock could have been the one thing that gave her the ultimate sense of happiness, but this love seems threatened by the ignominy of what happened to her. Can she set herself free from the evil in her past that still haunts her? Sins of Summer by Linda Heavner Gerald is a spellbinding story that explores the power of forgiveness and one woman’s journey towards true freedom.

In the opening chapters of this book, the author defines what the story is about in very simple, yet powerful terms: “How much abuse can a human body and mind endure before breaking? Each one of us responds in our way. This story is about extreme torture of both intellect and physique.” The story is beautifully told and I enjoyed the way the author explored the personality and the psychology of the protagonist, Audrey McGinnis. John Brock is another compelling character and readers will find it delightful to read about these two characters being together. This is an inspirational story with unique originality, told in Linda Heavner Gerald’s inimitable style, and I must warn that there is a lot of “telling”, of quick reflections about life, and the human condition peppered throughout the story. Sins of Summer has a great and powerful message woven into a beautiful, gritty plot. It is as inspirational as it is fun to read.

Sefina Hawke

Sins of Summer by Linda Heavner Gerald is an inspirational fiction novel that would appeal most to a mixed audience of mature young adults and adults who enjoy stories of redemption and who do not mind darker story elements like rape. Audrey and John Brock began their married life by coming up with a plan where they would spend the first ten years committed solely to their work so that afterwards the couple could retire together in style and travel. After their honeymoon, Audrey went straight into her dream job as an interior designer with her own office, but the happy dream life was not to last.

Sins of Summer by Linda Heavner Gerald was a melancholy read, filled with drama. It took me a while to get into the story as I found the beginning a bit confusing with Audrey’s dreams causing her so many difficulties when the event that caused the dreams had happened a long time ago. However, as the book continued, I learned that Audrey had never received any help or treatment from a psychologist or therapist, which allowed her trauma to fester over time. I found Audrey to be an interesting character because of the way she developed over the course of the book. The fact that she was able to ever reach the point of forgiveness was astounding and inspirational. The author might have decided to write a fictional novel, but this is a story that also teaches real life lessons of forgiveness and healing.


Christian Sia

A story that starts with a soul-searching, general question that makes the reader pause and think and that defines the story: “How much abuse can a human body and mind endure before breaking? Each one of us responds in our way. This story is about extreme torture of both intellect and physique.” Sins of Summer by Linda Heavner Gerald is a story of extreme abuse, love, and redemption, an emotionally charged story with characters that are well-explored, emotionally, physically, and psychologically. Audrey has suffered the worst form of abuse in her life from a monster. When she falls in love with John Brock, she believes she is on the path to embracing happiness, but her past keeps on catching up with her and it threatens the undying love they have sworn for each other. Can she allow her past to destroy her or will she find the courage to forgive the one person who stands between her and her freedom?

Sins of Summer is a story that explores the power of forgiveness and what it takes to gain inner freedom. One learns quickly that forgiveness is an act of freedom, not of the one who hurts us, but of ourselves. The story is well-written, with a well-crafted prologue that opens readers’ minds to the darkness within the protagonist. The psychological conflict is intense and it permeates every scene in the story. The prose is highly descriptive and I loved the way the author captured the conflicting emotions in the protagonist. The plot is conflict-driven and it is swiftly paced with intense moments that are absorbing. Linda Heavner Gerald is a great storyteller with the gift of making readers love her characters, and Sins of Summer is one of those stories that will inspire readers to break free from the fetters of their past.

Teresa Syms

Sins of Summer by Linda Heavner Gerald is a powerfully inspirational story that begins with a wealthy young couple, Audrey and John Brock, as they begin their lives together. The newlyweds make conscious career goals, current life plans and set out dreams for their retirement in Paris. What they fail to take into account is the horrific event Audrey suffered one summer while with her Aunt Carolyn. Over time her nightmares of the event not only torture her nights, but also begin to affect her days. The past annihilates all her dreams for a happy future. After John divorces Audrey, she descends into alcoholism, depression, and damages the career she worked so hard to create. Through forgiveness, Audrey sets herself free from the monsters of her past, learns to love herself and soon discovers what true love from a man is.

Sins of Summer by Linda Heavner Gerald is a captivating book, taking the reader into dark and unthinkable places of the psyche as you follow not only the main characters of the book, but also the demons that plague Audrey and her friend, Diana. I was heartbroken by the indignities and brutality the women experienced in their young lives. However, once the two women decide to hold each other accountable for their appearances, business and personal lives, their partnership soars and success in the New York design arena is theirs. Audrey even begins to love again. Neither woman was prepared for the horrors that Troy/Jason would subject them to. As Audrey, Diana and Stewart set their fiendish plans of revenge in place, they soon discover that forgiveness is the only way to set themselves free. This is an incredible read and I applaud the author for writing on such a delicate and difficult subject.