For her entire life, Gwen has lived on a tiny island in New England. Her mum cleans other people’s houses and her dad runs a cafe in the summer months. And still, they barely scrape by. So each summer, Gwen and her cousin, Nico, find work. This year they’re both ‘on island’ – Gwen helping an eccentric octogenarian, Nico painting houses. Gwen’s looking forward to leaving the mistakes of the school year behind her, to a summer of beach-side bonfires and parties.
And maybe everything would have been perfect – just as she’d hoped – if only Cassidy Somers wasn’t this year’s Yard Boy. Cass is from the mainland, he’s also rich, privileged and has superhuman abs – so he’s the very last person Gwen expected to see mowing the island’s lawns this summer. (He’s also the worst mistake Gwen has ever made…)
I liked that we learn about Cass and Gwen’s history through flashbacks, as this aspect of the novel works really well. One of Huntley Fitzpatrick’s strengths is that she writes heartwarming, everyday scenes and great characters, but without the sense of suspense and intrigue that this added to the novel, What I Thought Was True might have been a much slower read.
I will say that I might have enjoyed WITWT more if it was written with a dual-p.o.v., so I could peek inside of Cass’s head some… but surprisingly, that’s all the notes I have for WITWT. Cass was sweet, sexy and adorable – and I completely understand how Gwen manages to fall head-over-heels for him, despite their history!
Gwen’s life is full of interesting characters, who you’ll surely grow to love as the novel unfolds. Family-wise, there’s her mum, who reads Romance and maintains that “other people’s stories are theirs to tell”; her Portuguese grandfather, who fishes the bays (without a fishing license) and plays cards like a shark; her little brother, Em; Nico, who can bench-press his own body weight and likes to jump off bridges; and flatulent Fabio, who I’m pretty sure is my favourite fictional-dog EVER… Even her dad, who gives rather sketchy advice, won me over by the end of the book.
This is the story of a summer when everything Gwen thought she knew – about Seashell Island, her friends, her family and Cass – turned out to be wrong… It’s also about Gwen deciding that maybe, just maybe, that’s okay. That that’s life. You can expect humour, romance, a bit of philosophy and lobsters! #free-cooking-advice!
I really do appreciate that this was written as a stand-a-lone novel (because that’s how I like my romances, as one-book affairs), but I wouldn’t mind revisiting this community – maybe in a companion novel? *hint hint*