Love and Summer by William Trevor
At first I thought the title was weak, even silly, but having read the book I see now how perfect it is. It is a story about summer and love, though not of the romance genre that is currently so popular. This story has depth and the characters are realistically flawed. The tone of the book reminded me of Edith Wharton's "Ethan Frome" and Richard Blackmore's "Lorna Doone", unsentimental love stories that don't pretend lovers all live happily ever after.
Ellie Dillahan is married to a farmer who lost his first wife and child in a farm accident. She had been hired as housekeeper after their deaths, then one day the farmer said they might as well marry, and so they did. One summer day a stranger shows up in town taking pictures of people at a funeral Ellie is attending. They meet and a relationship develops. For one of them it's love, for the other it's a pleasant summer pastime. The histories of both will influence how their relationship moves forward.
This is my second William Trevor book and I think my favourite thing about his writing is how well he captures on paper the lilt in the Irish way of speaking. Putting the subject and verb at the end of a sentence rather than the beginning gives it a musical feel that keeps me re-reading certain lines just for the rhythm. I would love to go to Ireland one day and immerse myself in it.
I recommend this book to any reader who likes realism in relationships stories or anyone who is charmed by Ireland and her people. I can't go so far as to agree with some of the blurbs on the back cover that call it "heart-stopping" and "as close to perfection as may be possible", but it is a good story and very well written.