Review: The Summer I Loved You by J. L. Lora

Reviewed by Victoria

After years of living the life his oppressive parents wanted for him, Cameron Blake is ready to pursue his dreams of being a reclusive artist. Pleasing the faithful baseball fans of the New York Emperors has been rewarding, but now all he wants is peace and quiet. That and an irreversible vasectomy. Because there’s no way he’s passing on the heavy burden of the Blake genes to an innocent child. But Cameron never gets what he wants. Ever.

The last thing Adrianna Arenas needs is for her ex to slide back into her life. Not when she can throw a nine-year-old curve ball that will change his game. Not when his father could tear her world apart with a simple phone call. Especially not when, despite everything that stands between them, her insides go wild when Cameron walks into a room. But Adri never gets to keep things the way she needs them.

Ever.

After ten years, fate brings Cameron face-to-face with Adrianna, the woman he never forgot, and the little girl that ties them forever.

It all goes back to the secrets, jealousy, and heartache that destroyed the magical summer when they loved each other madly, broke each other’s hearts, and changed each other’s lives.

I read this book because it has a second-chance romance, one of my favourite tropes. And there’s a secret baby (now nine years old), which isn’t usually my jam, but the heroine’s attempts to inform the hero that he had a daughter were unsuccessful in a way that makes sense. The book opens with with the hero, Cameron, and the heroine, Adrianna, as teenagers desperately in love, but keeping it a secret. They fight like teenagers, with Adrianna declaring that she never wants to see him again. Of course, she does, but with a little manipulation by Cameron’s father, her threat becomes a reality. Our present day opens as Cameron is at his art show, and is distracted by a young girl critiquing his work. It doesn’t take long for him to realize that she looks exactly like his high school girlfriend, but he doesn’t put all the pieces together until he sees Adrianna again. Cameron and Adrianna immediately try to make things easier for their daughter, including a trip to New York City to meet Cameron’s siblings.

The description of the book mentions the “heavy burden” of Blake genes. That is mild for how Cameron’s family loathes their patriarch, Cameron’s father. As secrets come to light, Adrianna and Cameron are both trying to be fair to each other and their daughter Bron. This is really written like two adults who are trying to make room for each other. Their old relationship issues come up, and they make a concerted effort to change their behavior to work it out, if not for themselves, at least for their daughter.

The only part that didn’t work for me was the choice to have Cameron and Adrianna co-sleeping with their 9 year-old daughter. Especially because Cameron had just met her. It happens a lot in the book, so be warned if that bothers you.

The side characters really let you see how the events of the last ten years formed Cameron and Adrianna. Cameron’s siblings rely on him, immediately treat Bron like one of their own, and do their best to shield her from her grandparents. Once the truth about Bron’s existence is revealed, the menace from Cameron’s parents is palpable, and the climax is tense. No children are harmed.

Overall, this is a good read with adults acting like adults, identifying what went wrong, and trying to change and work through their issues.

Rating: B-

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Summer I Loved You
by J.L. Lora
Release Date: July 24, 2018

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