Title: Under a Dark Summer Sky
Author: Vanessa Lafaye
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publish Date: June 2, 2015
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Huron Key is already
weighed down with secrets when a random act of violence and a rush to
judgment viscerally tear the town apart. As the little island burns
under the sun and the weight of past decisions, a devastating storm
based on the third-strongest Atlantic Hurricane on record approaches,
matching the anger of men with the full fury of the skies. Beautifully
written and seductive, UNDER A DARK SUMMER SKY is at once a glorious
love story, a fascinating slice of social history, and a mesmerizing
account of what it's like to be in the eye of a hurricane."
My Two Cents:
"Under a Dark Summer Sky" is a story about many different kinds of people converging on Huron Key, a fictitious location in the Florida Keys. It is the 1930s and Huron Key is to play host to a group of American veterans who have nowhere to go after the war. In trying to provide jobs (or to prevent more chaos in Washington), the government came up with the idea to put veterans back to work. It's during the Great Depression and things are actually a little bit better in the Keys than they are in the rest of the country. The veterans think that they're going to be able to make a new life in the small community. The community is hesitant to accept this group of soldiers. The story is a multifaceted look at a community under great tension.
This wasn't a part of history that I really knew much about, which is what drew me to this book in the first place. The author mixes fact and fiction to show a community under pressure. The event of the soldiers coming to the Florida Keys is only one part of the story. The community is doing not only dealing with the arrival of the veterans, who are little more rowdy then they'd like. Then a catastrophic event shakes up the entire community. The community is also dealing with a terrible hurricane that is threatening their livelihoods. I enjoyed learning the history of this event!
There is an undertone of racial tension throughout this book. We are introduced to several characters, black and white, that interplay with each other to show us what things were like then. We are introduced to Missy, who is a nanny for the Kincaid's, a rich family in the area. We are also introduced to Henry, a soldier that comes home to Huron Key to find that he is still an outsider and is accused of an egregious crime.
It was a little bit hard for me to get into the story for a couple reasons. One, there were a lot of places where I felt like the author was telling a little bit too much. I get a lot of enjoyment out of putting together the pieces myself but when the author spells out so much, a bogs down the telling of the story. I hung in there because of the history behind this story. Eventually the flow of this story seems to even out a little bit as we get to the main arc of the story involving the crime at the center of the book. Overall, this is an interesting piece of history and I would love to read more about these events.