Review: "Her Summer with the Marine" by Susan Meier
Her Summer with the Marine is the first book in the Donovan Brothers series by Susan Meier. The series covers the love stories of three brothers: Devon, Cade, and Finn, and while each one can be read as a standalone, I suggest that you read them in order because the story line from the previous installment does carry over a bit to the next one. All three brothers are ex-Marines and each has endured a childhood of abuse from their father. This first book focuses on the youngest of the three, Finn.
As students, Finn Donovan and Ellie McDermott competed for the highest grades and the accolades that came with scholarly success. On a night that had them at their most vulnerable emotionally, Finn confides a painful family secret and any previous competition between is somehow forgotten, making them feel as if they're almost like friends. Ellie loses her virginity to Finn, but when he avoids her the next day, she's left feeling confused and loses something else to him--becoming class valedictorian.
Nine years later, Ellie returns to her hometown of Harmony Hills to care for her father who has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and is fading faster than she realizes. She is tasked to take care of and manage their family business, McDermott Funeral Home. Her homecoming gives Finn the opportunity to do something he's been wanting to ever since he opened his own funeral business--buy the McDermott business in order to no longer have a competitor in their small town.
As much as Ellie wants to sell the business in order to immediately have more funds to place her father in a care facility, she wants to honor his wishes more and decides to handle her duties at her advertising agency while managing McDermott Funeral Home. She and Finn are competitors once again and, while they're obviously still very much attracted to each other, they will do whatever is necessary to gain the success they need for the sake of their respective families.
There's obviously a history between Finn and Ellie and it was fun reading about how these two were still trying to outdo and outwit one another almost a decade later. Ellie believes that Finn deceived her that first night they slept together as high school seniors and his behavior afterwards makes it easy to see why she would think that way. Now that they're older and more mature, they've both changed but they're also still drawn to one another. Pursuing a purely physical relationship may sound simple but once feelings are involved, there's no guaranteeing that they'll both end up winning.
I quite enjoyed Her Summer with the Marine and loved the family dynamic that Ellie had with her father and that Finn had with his mom and his brothers. These two were indeed very competitive with each other but you could also tell that they were perfect as a couple. I liked the idea of the two having competing funeral homes and couldn't help but smile at their antics. This was definitely a fun story but I also did get a bit teary-eyed at one point. All in all, this was a worthwhile read and I'm giving it four out of five stars. ♥
Date read: 13 October 2014
Learn more about author Susan Meier here.