Summertime by Vanessa Lafaye

Extract published on May 7, 2015.

In the small town of Heron Key, where the relationships are as tangled as the mangrove roots in the swamp, everyone is preparing for the 4th of July barbecue, unaware that their world is about to change for ever. Missy, maid to the Kincaid family, feels she has wasted her life pining for Henry, who went to fight on the battlefields of France. Now he has returned with a group of other desperate, destitute veterans, unsure of his future, ashamed of his past.

When a white woman is found beaten nearly to death, suspicion falls on Henry. As the tensions rise, the barometer starts to plummet. But nothing can prepare them for what is coming. For far out over the Atlantic, the greatest storm ever to strike North America is heading their way…

Vanessa Lafaye’s debut novel is a powerful, fictionalised account of the most intense hurricane to ever make landfall in the US – the 1935 Labor Day hurricane – which left hundreds dead and prompted national outrage. 2015 is the 80th anniversary of this devastating event – a storm which was by far stronger than Hurricanes Katrina or Andrew and was known as ‘the Storm of the Century’.

Read an extract from this powerful and emotional novel above – it will also be featured in the next issue of newbooks magazine. Subscribe here to guarantee your copy.


Reviews of Summertime

Powerful, beautifully written and simply unputdownable. If you can read this book and not be moved, you have a heart of stone. – Cathy Kelly

I absolutely loved Summertime; it’s rare to read something with such emotional intensity and such exciting pace. It is every bit as good as The Help, in my opinion. – Elizabeth Noble

1935. An Independence day BBQ simmers with racial tension and resentments. By morning, a terrible crime has been committed. Off the Florida coast, a hurricane is heading their way. So tense, I raced through it. – Fanny Blake, Woman and Home

About the author

Vanessa Lafaye was born in Tallahassee and raised in Tampa, Florida, where there were hurricanes most years. She first came to the UK in 1987 looking for adventure, and found it. After spells of living in Paris and Oxford, she now lives in Marlborough, Wiltshire, with her husband and three furry children. Vanessa leads the local community choir, and music and writing are big parts of her life.

Summertime by Vanessa Lafaye, published by Orion on 7th May, 2015 at £7.99



OIR: Linda Hepworth on Patrick Gale


THE VERDICT IS IN: A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale 1

You may also like