Book Review: ‘The Summer Set’ Is The Perfect Read During These Difficult Times

The best drama happens offstage in this undeniably charming novel about an idyllic summer theater where hot stars, has-beens, and hopefuls chase roles—and each other.

This is just the story to keep you happy and involved during your isolation at home. It is great fun, has it all, and a hint of happily-ever-after! Our leading lady is Charlotte Savoy, or Charlie as she likes to be known. As a young woman, she tried her hand at film acting and was quite successful at it but some bad choices forced her to quit the business for good. Ten years later, she buys and restores an old movie theatre where old films play daily and she has a wonderful manager, Miles, who runs the theatre and for all of being outrageously gay, loves Charlie, is a great character, and extremely fun.

Charlie is then involved in an auto accident and winds up in a ditch. She receives a summons for being reckless and careless. In court, she receives a sentence of sixty days community service where she must help out a local drama summer camp for young men and women and begrudgingly takes the deal. Shakespeare takes center stage and she discovers that an old flame, Nick, is the manager of the camp, where everyone just wants to have fun. You have love, heartache, get-togethers, breakups, the list goes on indefinitely and it is very funny and endearing all the way through. As a matter of fact, it would make a great ensemble film.

Our hero, Nick, is trying to keep the summer camp going and desperately needs Charlie’s input and very much regrets breaking up with her all those years ago. When his now-divorced ex, Hollywood’s current It Girl, a wonderfully executed character, turns up to star in his latest production, all hell breaks loose. All told, this is a splendidly-written comedy and author Aimee Agresti knows her Shakespeare and the analogies are hilarious. ‘The Summer Set’ is a fantastic read, just the book to keep you smiling during a pandemic.

Available in bookstores May 12th

Ann McDonald

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