Saturday, July 16, 2011

Summer Of The Bear by Bella Pollen

Nicky and Letty have it all.  Young, in love with a great marriage and three beautiful children, they are posted in Bonn with Nicky's diplomatic career and rumored to be in the running for the Ambassador's job in Rome.  Then tragedy strikes.  Nicky falls from a roof on the Embassy and is killed.  Letty, her world destroyed, takes the children back to the island in the Outer Hebrides where they spend every summer to try to put their world back together and figure out how to go on without Nicky.

Nothing seems to be working.  Georgie, the oldest girl, tries to fill in mothering her younger siblings as Letty is barely coping.  But Georgie is ready for University and starting to discover men.  Alba, the middle child, has developed a cruel streak that she takes out on everyone, especially her little brother, Jamie.  Jamie, the only boy and eight years old, is more lost than the others.  No one has told him his father is dead; just that he is "lost".  Jamie obsesses about finding him and about a circus bear that has escaped and is loose somewhere on the island.  He is an unsophisticated, innocent child who just wants to make everything right again.

Bella Pollen has created a magical book about families coming together and building their lives on the treasure they have in each other.  The book is told through alternating views of each character, allowing the reader to slowly piece together the puzzle of what happened in Bonn and how to move on in their lives.  The people and culture of the little-known Outer Hebrides Islands is lovingly portrayed.  This book is recommended for all readers.

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