At the Edge of Summer

Written by Jessica Brockmole
Review by Eileen Charbonneau

In 1911, fifteen-year-old Clare Ross has suffered the death of her father and an earlier abandonment by her artist mother. She’s whisked from Scotland to France for a summer at the chateau of the Crépet family, friends of her mother. There she finds solace and a deep friendship with the family’s son, Luc.

At the end of summer, when her globe-trotting linguist grandfather comes to fetch her away, both friends are devastated. Clare’s travels begin and Luc continues his schooling in Paris. The two remain bound together with letters. Years and distance and missed connections separate them as World War I rages and ravages Luc, who has become a soldier.

Clare studies art and decides to help ease the aftermath of the Great War on its soldiers by volunteering in a Paris studio making facial prosthetics for the maimed. When Luc appears, she does not recognize him. But they both strive to rekindle the summer that has changed both of their lives.

In this poignant and unabashedly romantic novel, Brockmole presents a luminous story in the tradition of A Town Like Alice. Strong supporting characters, good use of epistolary devices, and sensory scene-setting descriptions all help the central relationship between Clare and Luc. Their hard-won friendship catches fire and ignites every page to a deeply satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended.