REVIEW: The Summer Book Club by Susan Mallery

Posted February 12th, 2024 by in Blog, Contemporary Romance, HJ Recommends, Review / 10 comments


In The Summer Book Club by Susan Mallery, Paris and Laurel have been friends since first grade so together they’ve been through every imaginable crisis life can throw at you. And thankfully, it’s only strengthened their bond. As the pair settle in for a busy season with their respective businesses, they also look forward to their summer book club which will include one more member this year: newcomer to Los Lobos, Cassie. She fits into their lives perfectly. And before long, the trio are meeting up regularly, enjoying some wine, some good food and books, and even lending a helpful hand whenever it’s needed.

Jagger shook her head. “I’m starting to think grown-ups don’t know anything. It’s a little scary that you’re all in control of everything.”
Laurel grinned. “Get used to it. Things don’t make any more sense when you’re older, either.”

Then Laurel learns that her oldest daughter, Jagger, has become a man-hating tween since her father abandoned them all a little over a year ago. Determined to fix the situation, she embarks on a quest to find a man to be her friend. Someone steady, kind, and helpful. But does such a man exist? Paris, on the other hand, is sure they do, considering her ex-husband Jonah was one of the good ones. When he returns to town unexpectedly after a decade away, she wants to get closure and apologize for how she handled their relationship back in the day. Although maybe it could turn into more?

‘Their eyes locked. Paris told herself whatever she might be feeling–a low heat, anticipation, hope–was a reaction to a past she’d never gotten over. It wasn’t real.’

Cassie watches this all unfold for her new best friends while knowing she’s destined to pick fixer-upper boyfriends forever. Then a hunky guy who in no way needs fixing admits his interest in her and it changes everything. Almost as much as her move from Maine to California did. As Cassie learns to stop sabotaging her relationships and to finally live the life of her choice, with lessons Paris and Laurel impart along the way as her guide, she might find that her scary new start is the best thing to ever have happened to her.

‘If only he were the kind of man who had been looking for an out-of-place, confused person with no life direction and really bad taste in men. She could be his dream girl.’

I’m still smiling after finishing THE SUMMER BOOK CLUB, which I tend to do whenever I have a Susan Mallery book in my hand. Filled with a wonderful cast and an interesting storyline that zipped along nicely, I think readers will fall in love with everything about this novel.

“Love doesn’t make you less, it makes you strong. It makes you safe. Love gives you wings…and I for one can’t wait to see you fly.”

CW: View Spoiler »

I somehow forget each time I start a new Susan Mallery book just how fun it is to get lost in her writing. The lighthearted humor, the quick banter, the myriad emotions, and in the case of her women’s fiction novels like THE SUMMER BOOK CLUB, the seamless way she weaves multiple characters’ stories together. And don’t get me started on the female friendships. They are so well done and realistic that it makes me wish to be a part of the tight-knit groups she creates. Everything from being a shoulder to lean on to doling out tough love when needed to commiserating over a bottle of wine, Mallery’s heroines are there for each other and always share unique, strong bonds.

There was a lot going on for our three leading ladies: Laurel, Paris, and Cassie. But as this was told from alternating POVs, it was easy to keep track of what was happening in each of their lives. Unlike so many other books with multiple main characters, I didn’t have a favorite heroine as I read this; instead, I liked them all pretty much equally. They each had their flaws of course. And, funnily enough, Cassie, Paris, and Laurel (without giving spoilers) were the ones to make mistakes in each of their new romances–not the guys! But it felt genuine. Even if I cringed and could see the issues they would face, looming in the distance.

Aside from the relatable issues all three women struggled with and the charming cast of secondary characters I adored–and all the Easter eggs from Mallery’s other stories–one of my favorite parts was how Laurel and Paris became friends with Cassie over their love of books. They invited her into their summer book club which was all about (real) 1980s romance novels. How fun, right? It was the perfect way for Cassie to get to know Paris and Laurel and for her to become a huge part of their lives.

QOTD: Have you ever been part of a book club? If so, was there wine involved? 😉

Book Info:

Publication: Published: February 13th, 2024 | Canary Street Press |

“A charming, feel-good story of the ways that devoted friends—and great books!—can change our lives with the summer vibes I’m needing right now! There’s a dose of Susan Mallery magic in all her novels; this one just might have an extra scoop!” – Kristy Woodson Harvey, New York Times bestselling author

The rules of summer book club are simple:
• No sad books
• No pressure
• Yessssss, wine!

Besties Laurel and Paris are excited to welcome Cassie to the group. This year, the book club is all about fill-your-heart reads, an escape from the chaos of the everyday—running a business, raising a family, juggling a hundred to-dos. Even the dog is demanding (but the bestest boy).

Since Laurel’s divorce, she feels like the Worst Mom Ever. Her skepticism of men may have scarred her vulnerable daughters. Cassie has an unfortunate habit of falling for ridiculous man-boys who dump her once she fixes them. Paris knows good men exist. She’s still reeling after chasing off the only one brave enough—and foolish enough—to marry her.

Inspired by the heroines who risk everything for fulfillment, Laurel, Paris and Cassie begin to take chances—big chances—in life, in love. Facing an unwritten chapter can be terrifying. But it can be exhilarating, too, if only they can find the courage to change.

“Susan Mallery is a maven of heartwarming summer reads! The Summer Book Club is a page-turner about the best things in life: books, friendship, love, and finding the courage to live our best lives.” – Katherine Center, New York Times bestselling author



10 Responses to “REVIEW: The Summer Book Club by Susan Mallery”

  1. Amy R

    QOTD: Have you ever been part of a book club? Yes
    If so, was there wine involved? Yes

  2. psu1493

    I’ve never been part of a book club. This story sounds really good. Thank you for the review.

  3. brooksrm2002

    Your description of what makes Susan Mallery’s writing so enjoyable is spot on. I’ve been in book clubs on and off, but there was no wine, which works out for me since I don’t really like the taste (gasps, I know!).

  4. Ellen C.

    No book clubs for me. I do know one that has wine/ beer and dessert at each meeting.