Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Summer At Sea is a romance novel written by Beth Labonte. Afraid to break her mother’s heart, Summer Eve Hartwell still lives at home with her parents. At 26 years of age, Summer is determined to get married, enabling her to leave home and escape being under her mother’s thumb. When her brother, Eric, buys luxury cruise tickets for the family, thanks to the fortune he’d made inventing a Fart App, Summer pins her hopes that Mr. Right will be found on the luxury liner. At the last minute, however, Eric cancels his own ticket, sending his fortune-from-flatulence business partner, Graham Blenderman, in his place. Graham’s objective in going on the cruise is to try to make Summer’s parents lighten up a little (or, rather, a whole lot), whilst simultaneously trying to help Summer stand up for herself and gain some self-confidence. Being aboard a cruise ship means that the likelihood of Summer running into her parents while on the hunt for her future husband is high, whether she is poolside, at a bar or on the dance floor. The events which take place during the cruise rattle Summer quite a bit, as her parents seem set out to embarrass her at every turn. Throughout all of the hilarity and the drama, whether real or imagined by Summer’s parents, one thing’s for certain: this is a cruise that none of them will ever forget.
Caution: Do not read this book in public where noise is forbidden, as laughing out loud is inevitable. Beth Labonte’s tale of a young librarian who is desperate to be liberated from her parents’ strict rules is one of the funniest books I have read to date. With Summer’s parents being more than 40 years her senior, they are very old fashioned and set in their ways. Unwilling to permit their daughter to leave home until she is married, Mr. and Mrs. Hartwell give the reader many-a-cause for an eye-roll or three. If you are having a bad day, Summer At Sea is just the therapy you need. Not only does it show how utterly humiliating two parents can be, but it also sends shock waves through your funny bone, causing those around you to stare as you giggle uncontrollably. I can personally say that the images left in my head of what can possibly happen during a relaxing massage have shaken me and are impossible to erase... I couldn’t be more thrilled! While there are a few darker moments in the book, showing how underhanded people can be when they think you have a lot of money, each dark event fits perfectly in place within the story line, teaching the reader a lesson or two at the same time. I cannot express enough how much I enjoyed Summer At Sea, and recommend it to readers over the age of 15 years who like romance, suspense, drama and hilarity, all wrapped into one small, perfect package.