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The Girls of Summer

"This super-charged page-turner sees a woman confront long-buried trauma and truths about her momentous summer on a Greek island as a seventeen-year-old."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Tense and timely, Katie Bishop’s The Girls of Summer debut explores power, consent, coercive control and trauma with unsettling verve.

It is impossible to exist in the present when the power of the past is so strong”. So Rachel realises some way into her story journey. Now in her thirties and married to Tom, Rachel remains in thrall to the summer she spent on a sun-drenched Greek island when she was seventeen. After revisiting the island with Tom, Rachel finds herself compelled to reconnect with the man she fell in love with all those years ago. Back then, Alistair was pretty much the same age as she is now, a charismatic older man who worked for one of the wealthiest, most powerful men on the island.

As her marriage falters and feelings for Alistair resurface, Rachel slowly acknowledges that her memories of that summer might not represent the truth. As the scales slip from her eyes, she wonders whether she might have been the victim of coercion and abuse. With the narrative cleverly presented through dual “Then” and “Now” timelines, Bishop has a fabulous knack for shifting perspectives, almost mirroring the way Rachel gradually realises the truth. 

Unquestionably a gripping mystery, with shocking revelations carefully planted and drawn out, The Girls of Summer is also a thought-provoking exploration of coercion, consent and the way trauma can lead to burying the truth as a form of self-preservation.

Joanne Owen

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