The Summer of Songbirds by Kristy Woodson Harvey


Four women come together to save the summer camp that changed their lives and rediscover themselves in the process in this moving new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Veil and the Peachtree Bluff series.

Nearly thirty years ago, in the wake of a personal tragedy, June Moore bought Camp Holly Springs and turned it into a thriving summer haven for girls. But now, June is in danger of losing the place she has sacrificed everything for, and begins to realize how much she has used the camp to avoid facing difficulties in her life.

June’s niece, Daphne, met her two best friends, Lanier and Mary Stuart, during a fateful summer at camp. They’ve all helped each other through hard things, from heartbreak and loss to substance abuse and unplanned pregnancy, and the three are inseparable even in their thirties. But when attorney Daphne is confronted with a relationship from her past—and a confidential issue at work becomes personal—she is faced with an impossible choice.

Lanier, meanwhile, is struggling with tough decisions of her own. After a run-in with an old flame, she is torn between the commitment she made to her fiancé and the one she made to her first love. And when a big secret comes to light, she finds herself at odds with her best friend…and risks losing the person she loves most.

But in spite of their personal problems, nothing is more important to these songbirds than Camp Holly Springs. When the women learn their childhood oasis is in danger of closing, they band together to save it, sending them on a journey that promises to open the next chapters in their lives.

From an author whose “writing coats your soul with heart” ( E! Online ), The Summer of Songbirds is a lyrical and unforgettable celebration of female friendship, summertime freedom, and enduring sisterhood—and a love letter to the places and people that make us who we are.



Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Summer of Songbirds by Kristy Woodson Harvey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A great beach and poolside read. I think those looking for a relaxing and calm, quiet, dip your toes in the lake, sitting on the dock as the sun sets type of book will enjoy this one. Will be enjoyable to discuss at book club.

Thank you to Book Club Favorites at Simon & Schuster for the free copy for review.

Expected publication: July 11, 2023.

The Story
I absolutely loved the theme of summer and setting of summer camp, swimming at the lake. A very relatable, memorable aspect of youth. Is a relaxing, slow, heartfelt, reminiscent, nostalgic story of everything I wanted to read in a meandering, sit by the pool type of book. The backstory and trajectory of the characters was interesting to read about.

I enjoyed the discovery of each perspective as told by the characters and how they built memories together and how their lives took different turns, friendship intertwined.

To each individual character, there were some elements that separated them as far as their backstory and life they’ve built, and recollection was there.

However the characters blended in too much for me to enjoy all the aspects presented in the book.

The Writing
Multiple POVs, bouncing timelines, read with ease.

A lot of framing and dry detail in this though, so I noticed early on, maybe about page 58, where I didn’t expect a huge dynamic twist, wow or aha moment, action-packed, loads of drama, or plot with lots of tension, nor a deeply reflective aspect to the book going into it, but at this point I felt it could have already been cut down to about 1/2 of what it was.

I suppose I hoped for a summer camp atmosphere with some sort of funny, fond memory or engaging promise, more capture of culture and tradition, silly, or adventurous binding and growth moment for them as a cohesive group or individual level, but the length to capture any of such as outlined in the book felt sort of lost on the moment for me. I ended up speed-reading the latter 1/2 of the book as a result.

Parts were certainly charming, sweet, and adoring, and I enjoyed the direction it was going in stories and perspectives all fitting together.

They just weren’t distinguished enough for my taste. A bit cookie-cutter. From voice to description, to narrative thought and dialogue, even though they had different stories to tell.

I wanted everything plus, a grown-up Baby-Sitters Club style revisit to the past and longing of memories, more standout personality, and just a bit more substance. Overall characterizations were sweet, yet bland. I would have liked a little bit of embodiment of spice or pizazz in some shape or form, rather than common and dull personality.

There was one in the group that is a bit stronger, more delineated in some sense, but rationale and depth of character was still flat and lackluster.

The arch and growth was just as cookie-cutter, where their stories ran parallel to each other, and within an expected, end-of-book timeline. So capturing this sort of individual, internal, self-awareness, reflective moments in each of their lives was simply wrapped up with a bow, clearing up of misunderstandings, instead of coming into maturity through growth, challenges and conflict, or emotional divulge.

I also didn’t connect with any which one. None of them captured me. So perhaps that made the biggest difference in not feeling quite as intrigued or immersed as I’d hoped.

Still a very lovely read, I look forward to more, it was a relaxing book for me.

View all my reviews

<span class="uppercase">Hello, I'm Erica </span>
Hello, I’m Erica

Recipe developer, book reviewer, and artist. Expect delicious recipes both traditional and new, book reviews of all sorts of genres, a variety of creative expression, life musings, and much more!



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