I read this book on holiday and I was glad that I had the time to read it without the interruptions of daily life. OK, so I might have been tempted to put it down if my boys had been drawing in the pool but apart from that there was little that could drag me away from the story. It is a book I have been meaning to read for a long time and the anticipation of it in no way disappointed.
From the moment I started to read I was instantly involved with the main character, Alice. Alice is trying, and failing, to get on with her life but you can tell from the beginning that she is a woman who has a seriously troubled past, a past which she is trying to block out - a recipe for disaster in any good story.
Alice writes articles for technical magazines but she is bored and blocked by her writing until she sees an advert for Eversley Hall, where the owners are re-enacting true life events which took place in the house in 1814. The advert inspires her to pitch an article to a woman’s glossy magazine. The article leads to meeting the owner of the stately home and that results in her becoming part of the re-enactment team.
Back in 1814 Alice finds her character a much more pleasant person to be as here she doesn’t have to confront her issues in the present. However life has a habit of getting in the way and as past and present collide, Alice is forced to deal with her problems and decide who she really loves and wants to spend the rest of her life with.
I’m a big fan of Julie Cohen because she creates characters who walk straight off the page and into your heart and this book is no exception. She is definitely the kind of writer any wannabe would aspire to become - I am so completely envious of how she makes her characters come alive.
The Summer of Living Dangerously provides a fascinating insight into Regency England whilst also having a heartbreaking story in the present day. If you have any interest in Jane Austen or stately homes, I challenge you not to enjoy it.