REVIEW: Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan

Posted June 5th, 2024 by in Blog, Contemporary Romance, HJ Top Pick!, Review / 7 comments


In Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan, For someone who spends her time helping others organize their homes–and in turn, their lives–Ali Morris’s own home and personal life is an unmitigated disaster. But in her own defense, she’s been adrift since losing her mother two years ago and then watching her marriage fail a year later. A lot of change for her and for her three children. So, with summer on the horizon, Ali decides to take action. To take back her life. Just as she’s trying to wade through the mess that is her house, a quick trip to the dog park has her face to face with the handsomest man she’s ever met. Seriously. Ethan’s shoulders should have their own fan club. And when he’s still interested in her even after her dog Ferris pees on his shoes? Ali knows she’s in danger of falling for Ethan right then and there.

‘I have wanted to kiss him since the moment my dog peed on him.’

The idea of a summer romance immediately comes to Ali’s mind. She’s not sure she’s ready for anything serious considering she still needs to finalize her divorce from Pete since it’s been a year of separation with no hope of reconciling. She also realizes that where Ethan lives in a different state and will only be in town occasionally, her plan might just work. But as Ali gets to know Ethan better, things just click into place between them. She didn’t notice how much of herself she’d been holding back over the years. And she’s not sure if it’s Ethan’s supportive nature or just this new journey she’s on, but Ali feels like her old self again–if not an even better version. She knows she’s no longer willing to settle for less than what she truly wants. And in her heart, she’s sure that includes Ethan.

‘This is Ethan’s superpower, I think. His ability to meet people where they are and just hold the space for them to step into their best selves without any expectation of what that might be.’

Annabel Monaghan created the perfect beach book with SUMMER ROMANCE. Part unrequited love story where the hero falls first, part soul searching chick lit with the heroine getting out of an emotional rut, the characters *and* the storyline sparkled enough to light up the pages and keep me charmed the entire time.

‘Maybe that’s the essence of a summer romance: it’s the impossible thing–a love affair with no reality check.’

CW: View Spoiler »

I became a fan of Annabel Monaghan’s writing with her adult contemporary romance debut, Norah Goes of Script, and since then, I can’t wait for her new release every single year. (If you haven’t read it, please do. You’ll love it!) So, I was ecstatic to read SUMMER ROMANCE, which didn’t disappoint in the least. Set in idyllic Beechwood, New York, next to Long Island, the small town, beachy vibes were the perfect backdrop for this romance to unfold.

Ali was a heroine I think many readers will understand, even if they haven’t been in her specific situation. She was a newish single mom to three adorable kids: Greer (12), Iris (11), and Cliffy (6), but it was their adopted rescue dog Ferris who sealed the deal with our hero Ethan by, ahem, urinating on his shoes. That dog park meet cute set the stage for what was supposed to be an easy, breezy summer romance between Ali and Ethan. While it was easy–they fell for each other right away–it didn’t take long for them and everyone around them to see that theirs was a relationship made of much stronger stuff than just a casual fling.

I thought it was very poignant that as Ali got out of her funk after losing her wonderful mother and then a year later watching her marriage implode, it was Ethan, someone who had somewhat known her since her teens (she was thirty-eight present day), who opened her eyes to what she was capable of. Ethan had his own struggles, with townspeople still calling him by his childhood nickname Scooter and seeing him as that troubled teen who got into some trouble here and there. So, he knew a thing or two about reinventing yourself and being true to who you are. I loved that for Ali. Ethan was supportive and kind while gently nudging her to take charge of her own future. We should all be so lucky as to have someone like that in our corner. And that compassion ran both ways between them, making them a couple who respected and cherished each other when all was said and done. Sigh.

QOTD: Have you ever had a summer romance?

Book Info:

Publication: Published: June 4th, 2024 | G.P. Putnam’s Sons |

Benefits of a summer romance: It’s always fun, always brief, and no one gets their heart broken.

Ali Morris is a professional organizer whose own life is a mess. Her mom died two years ago, then her husband left, and she hasn’t worn pants with a zipper in longer than she cares to remember.

No one is more surprised than Ali when the first time she takes off her wedding ring and puts on pants with hardware—overalls count, right?—she meets someone. Or rather, her dog claims a man for her…by peeing on him. Ethan smiles at Ali like her pants are just right—like he likes what he sees. He looks at her like she’s a younger, braver version of herself. The last thing newly single mom Ali needs is to make her life messier, but there’s no harm in a little summer romance. Is there?



7 Responses to “REVIEW: Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan”

  1. psu1493

    I’ve never had a summer romance. This story sounds great. Thank you for the review.