The Secret Summer


Miranda’s mother discards postcards from her childhood home of August Isle. She refuses to share her childhood or family memories. Furthermore, Miranda’s mother avoids physical contact or opportunities to support Miranda emotionally. Miranda’s Dad seems to protect his wife, while trying to make up for her absence. Yet Miranda yearns for her mother.

There are moments Miranda remembers from her early childhood. Yet deep in her memory is a sense of a trauma, something that changed everything. What could it be?

When Miranda’s mother takes an overseas assignment and her father’s work schedule cannot accommodate Miranda over the holiday. Miranda must stay with her mother’s childhood friend, Aunt Clare.

Miranda remembers very little of August Isle but considers that this might be the place that initiated her fear of water. She’s anxious about this being exposed, as she’s worried about her lack of friendships and sense of being an outsider.

Ali Standish has created a really readable, richly empathetic story in ‘The Secret Summer’. The mystery and revelations are well paced and carefully handled. We feel protective of Miranda, and relish the opportunities that August Isle affords her to share her fears, form relationships and get answers.

The Secret Summer‘ is an ideal title for any reader who loves character driven, emotional stories, with  hints of mystery, and a tangible setting, from a very capable writer.


The Secret Summer

Ali Standish

(Orchard Books)

Miranda isn’t certain what happened between her and her mother that made their relationship so uneasy. It seems like her mother tries to avoid her; as soon as she’s home from one of her assignments, she’s eager for another. Furthermore, Miranda’s mother discourages any closeness between them. Certainly, she avoids sharing any personal details of her childhood on Florida’s August Isle. What happened? Can Miranda resurrect anything between them?
What happens when circumstances force Miranda’s parents to send her to August Isle for ‘The Secret Summer’? Miranda knows nothing of her maternal history. Finally she’s in the place where her mother grew up. Another factor is that she’s staying with her mother’s closest childhood friend. There are vague memories of water and a struggle from Miranda’s visit in her infancy, but little else. Could this be the summer that Miranda opens what is locked away? Could there be more to face and discover than anyone could possibly imagine?


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