Disclaimer: Once Upon a Summertime by Melody Carlson was provided by Revell in exchange for an honest review.
Managing the Value Lodge in her hometown was not what Anna Gordon had in mind when she set out in the hospitality industry. But it’s a safe choice for a young woman starting out her career. Then, out of the blue, she gets the opportunity of a lifetime: a chance to reinvent herself and reinvigorate her career by moving to New York City. She applies for a management position at a stylish new hotel, The Rothsberg. But the city is full of surprises—not the least of which is discovering that Sean O’Neil, a once-upon-a-time crush, has applied for the very same position. This sweetly romantic tale of dreams come true takes you through the storied streets of New York City—and into the depths of the human heart.
I started out really liking Once Upon a Summertime. The writing style was different enough from other novels of this ilk to make it seem fresh, and I liked seeing the conflict and struggles that Anna had at work. When she got to New York, I was eager to see what sort of challenges she would face at her new job.
So I was a little disappointed when in the second half of the book more time is devoted to developing the romance than in focusing on Anna at her job. The romance was fine, for the most part, although I do wish that male love interests weren’t always so perfect and handsome—make them a bit wrinkled and shy and awkward rather than Mr. Congeniality all the time! It would make things much more interesting simply because it’s so different. In any case, the romance was fine, but it did detract from Anna’s struggles at work; I was hoping for something much bigger than what actually happened and we never actually get to see any of the conflict that is discussed.
I actually found the parts with Sean the more tedious parts of the book, and I found myself skimming a little bit to get to what I thought were the more interesting hotel bits. So I was disappointed when the hotel conflicts got pushed aside for the romance, and then the book ended abruptly and oddly and not at all satisfying for me. Like I really buy that after about a week of dating Sean and Anna are going to get married. I know this happens in real life; I know people who have had this short of a span between dating and engagement. But I didn’t buy it in the story. It seemed a cheap way to get around some conflict that could have been very interesting to show.
Once Upon a Summertime started out interesting; I liked the hotel management aspect and the conflict that it resolved. But when the romance started, I found it tedious and annoying, especially when the hotel part got pushed to one side as a result. And the ending was completely wacky and didn’t ring true to what the story was building up to, in my opinion.
My rating: 3/5
Genre: Realistic, Christian
You can buy this here: Once Upon a Summertime