Saturday, 21 September 2013

Summer of '76 by Isabel Ashdown - A Great Read for a Summery Weekend

The Autumnal Equinox is officially at 20.44 GMT on Sunday, 22nd September, so you have a weekend left to read this novel about the hot Summer of '76 by Isabel Ashdown! On the other hand it can be enjoyed anytime when you want to remember the halcyon days of this summer, perhaps when the autumn winds are blowing or it's snowing in January!
It's a coming of age story set on the Isle of Wight, about seventeen-year-old Luke, his family, and friends during that long hot summer of 1976.
In some ways it's like The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker where the heat affects everyone's behaviour which I reviewed recently.
As Diana, one of Isabel Ashdown's characters says:
'It's the heat; the endless summer. We live on this tiny island, and no one knows what to do about the sun when it just won't stop shining, so we all go a little mad, because it feels it's just a dream that will be gone when we wake up tomorrow.'

Luke is spending his last summer on the island before he goes off to Brighton Poly, working at the campsite with Samantha whom he fancies, and helping his friend Martin with his problems, but under the surface of all this fairly normal story is the scandal that is gripping the town, and the part that Luke and Martin play in uncovering the truth.
It is a gripping read, and Isabel has drawn a picture of life in the mid-seventies very well. It is always difficult to write about a time well within living memory and she has captured the era perfectly right down to Luke's favourite pudding made from shop bought swiss roll and custard!
I thoroughly recommend this book and I will be looking out for her other ones.
Have you read any of Isabel Ashdown's novels?


  1. Another intriguing read, Jean - thanks for sharing it. I haven't read her work but I like the sound of this.

    1. Thanks, Rosemary. It's the first book of hers that I've read. I'll have to look out for the others!