Review of Summer People by Elena Graf (Book six in the Hobbs series)
Compared to book five which was very emotional, Summer People, book six in the Hobbs series, is a lighter read and that’s a good thing.
New faces are joining the Hobbs community. After her divorce, Courtney Barnes is starting a new life in Hobbs with her daughter Kaylee. Courtney is the new Assistant Principal of the elementary school.
Melissa Morgenstern, a trust lawyer who is working from home since the pandemic, is supporting her mother Ruth, a newly widow, during the early days and stays temporarily with her in the big summer house. After meeting Courtney, she might have another reason to stay in Hobbs for good, but her law firm wants her back at the office.
Denise Chantal, a transwoman in the last stage of transition and a former countertenor singer, is also a newcomer. She applied for the job of music director for St. Margaret’s and Lucy wants to give Denise a chance, but are the residents of Hobbs ready to accept a trans woman in public office?
In addition to all the newcomers, we also see Lucy and Liz’s relationship develop. I appreciated that Lucy didn’t just give in to Liz’s urge to take their relationship to the next level, but demanded that they dealt with other personal issues first. To complicate matters further, Susan Gedney, Lucy’s first lesbian lover who had left her without an explanation, shows up again and Liz wonders if she wants Lucy back.
Love is definitely in the air but Elena Graf doesn’t just bring sweet romances to life, she introduces difficult topics such as loss and alcoholism, with an authenticity that compares to real life. I loved that the community is becoming more diverse with bisexual Courtney and transwoman Denise. The reader learns a little bit about being a transwoman providing food for thought in matters of prejudices against trans people. Other characters from previous books also make brief appearances. It’s always nice to return to this town and learn new things about them.
Having said that, I was a bit overwhelmed by the number of new characters. As great and interesting as I found the new characters, eight of them were too many for me. In my opinion, some of the stories needed more development.
In general, I’m always impressed by how authors can keep track of all the old characters and, at the same time, introduce new ones in a series. Elena Graf is doing a great job with the Hobbs series. I like her writing and how she can weave current issues into her stories without being overly dramatic or corny.
I highly recommend the whole series, but it is essential to read the books in order.
My rating: 4.5 stars
Many thanks to the author and Purple Hand Press for providing me with an ARC