Chamberlain has a really interesting way of lacing her stories with a subtle layer of moral issues.She creates intricate and often dysfunctional family structures, as families often are, and then throws a thinly veiled blanket of questions over the top.
There are plenty of preconceived notions about women, sexuality and motherhood in this story. Including a lot of stereotypical answers, views and opinions on the those topics. Often quite negative, which I think the author has done on purpose to jar the reader into a reaction. For instance judging a girl or woman on the clothes or lack of clothes they wear. Shows a lot of skin, ergo must be a tramp. A baby has been dumped, it must be a woman who sleeps around and lacks morals. It can’t be a so-called good girl.
Then the other, just as sensitive topic, the way people with learning disabilities, lower IQ’s and diminished mental capacities are judged, treated and cared for by society and their families.
The author also shows what it is like on the other side of the fence. How the actual person with the disability or low IQ reacts and feels. How hard it is to be treated like a child, despite technically being an adult and having your own needs, wants and wishes.
This is what life is like for Shelly, and yet she personally has no real perception of her lack of common sense in certain situations. That doesn’t stop her from wanting the same things as other women her age.
It also approaches the topic of whether or not knowing the truth is always the best option for everyone.
Summer’s Child is a story about family and the roles within those structures. The responsibilities we feel have been placed upon us by previous generations and society. It is heartwarming and it also invites the reader to ponder while they enjoy the read.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Harlequin UK and MIRA.