Review: Windless Summer by Heather Sharfeddin

Windless Summer by Heather Sharfeddin

I struggled to get through this book. If I hadn’t made an unspoken rule for myself that I wasn’t going to DNF any of the books for my summer reading challenge, I wouldn’t have finished this book. It was so slow, the writing was poor, and the dialogue was just really bad at times.

The premise of the story is a small town in rural Washington state where everyone survives because of the tourism – wind surfing being the main draw. When they have one summer without wind, no one comes to the town and all of the businesses start closing. I liked the premise. We often think of weather issues – heat, cold, drought – but I’d never thought of wind as something that might go away.

The story centers around Tom, a very sad hotel owner, who does nothing much other than care for his 12-year old daughter with autism and manage the hotel. His girlfriend Lauren is the town vet, but from his side their relationship is mostly physical, when it’s convenient for him. She claims (in her own mind at least) that she loves him, but she is absolutely horrible when it comes to his daughter, Sienna. I really didn’t care for Lauren. She acts as if she’s better than everyone because she’s a vet (or a “physician” in her mind). I also found it hard to relate to Tom most of the time. I felt bad that he struggled with Sienna, but I also thought he was ridiculous to think he could just leave her alone in their apartment all day.

One of the only reasons I kept reading the book was for Charlene, a young woman in town who’s interested in Tom. She was the only shining light in Sienna’s life, and I appreciated the insight she brought to Tom because of her childhood. There are several other decent supporting characters as well, but no one was really developed as much as I would have liked.

In general, the plot took too long to pick up. People don’t start coming into the town until more than half way through the book. And the ending just got super weird. I’m not even sure what was supposed to have happened.

I would not recommend this book.

Rating: 2 Stars

This review was originally published on Mom’s Radius.

Windless Summer
Heather Sharfeddin
May 19, 2009

A father’s love. A shattering secret. A summer that will change lives forever.

In the town of Rocket, Washington—a summer playground for windsurfers and tourists—a windless summer ignites fear as businesses and residents move away. Rocket’s motel, run by a lonely widower named Tom Jemmet, is hard hit. And Tom has demons of his own: memories of a beautiful wife that still haunt him, and a troubled young daughter whose retreat into a silent world confounds her father and sparks whispers in town.

Swirling around Tom are lives much like his own, townspeople yearning for wind but also for hope, even love. Charlene, a mail clerk, helps care for Tom’s daughter while a secret gnaws at her heart…Lauren, the town vet, has fallen for Tom, who barely notices…and newspaper editor Hap is hatching a foolish plan to save his town.

That’s when a miracle—or something like it—strikes Tom’s run-down motel. Guests who stay in Room 6 begin experiencing sudden acts of fate, both terrible and great. But while tourists descend on Rocket and the the town shows new signs of life, the truth about Tom’s motel and the death of his wife—as well as the secret hopes and fears of everyone around him—are exposed in ways that are both surprising and inevitable...

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