The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Summer of the Bear is one of those family-centred stories that will appeal to most people who enjoy making jam and going for walks along the blustery Scottish coast. Although I have yet to do that latter, I still thoroughly engaged with this book and the tight family unit that the story orbits around. Split between Bonn, Germany and the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, the tale tracks the interwoven lives of a family of five. After tragedy strikes them a hard blow you come to understand how they are each dealing with their grief and how important communication is in transient times. My favourite character was little Jamie, the youngest brother he often bares the brunt of his middle sister Alba, who dislikes having a young annoying brother hanging off her coat-tails. Older sister Georgie is sensitive and devoted soul who is torn between discovering love, pleasing her parents and acting as the diplomat, advising Alba to remain respectful to Jamie's curious nature.

The great Bear is obviosly the lynch-pin in this tale and some chapters are completely devoted to the inner thoughts of Bear as he hides out in the caves of the northern most tips of the Scottish Islands. It is Bear's relationship with Jamie that is both endearing and beautifully crafted by Bella Pollen as she seamlessly ties the connection between a child's toy-bear and the real great beast of a Bear that Jamie encounters.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a story of love, devotion and healing. This book deals with some very sore points for those who have experienced a tragedy, but Bella Pollen writes with such a peaceful pen that the tragedies are never far from being lulled by the Scottish tide.

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