BOOK TITLE: The Summer of Robert Byron
AUTHOR: Steven Arnett
The Summer of Robert Byron by Steven Arnett is a romance novel that will keep you guessing about the plot with every turn of the page. I found this highly unusual for a romance novel, and exciting because Arnett does such a wonderful job at keeping you guessing until the very end. He does a brilliant job setting the background of this book, in the summer of 1966 in a small town in Blue Spring, Michigan. The main character, Robert Byron, has a fascinating, unyielding personality, and Arnett displays the feelings and character of Robert Byron with such a unique quality that you feel when you're reading, you are actually still getting to know who this character is all the way to the end of the novel.
There are the usual twists and turns that are characteristic of Arnett’s writing in his former suspense novels, but this one flows even more smoothly, leaving you understanding the vulnerability in Robert Byron when he arrives home from the war in Vietnam. He brings home a dark secret that he shares with few people that leave him to question his self-worth.
Because his personality is that of a loner, he sticks to himself, so it is a surprise when he meets the future main woman in his life, Jean Summers, while doing a construction job at her home. Arnett lays out their relationship, with its ups and downs, exquisitely, leaving you until the last page in suspense if things are going to work out or not. The couple fights a lot during their relationship, leading you to believe they will not make it. They go so far as breaking up for a while, and Robert Byron, being the drifter he is, leaves town and gets involved again with a former love, after a bitter breakup. Again, Arnett keeps you wondering if he and Jean will ever be together again.
Although this book is a romance, it rolls out more like a suspense novel, especially when Jean begins a new relationship when Robert has left town. It takes a serious tragedy, and the main characters themselves questioning their own futures throughout this novel for you to figure out how the story will end, and you don’t find out until the very last page.
I have reviewed several of Arnett’s books and this one by far is the best. It is a page turner and will keep you guessing, not only as to the intentions of the characters themselves but wondering how two complete opposites like Robert and Jean can ever mesh together as a couple. You wonder if they could ever make a go of a long-lasting relationship. This book, The Summer of Robert Byron is a must have, and you would be cheating yourself not to read it.
I enjoy book reviews, but sometimes feel I am reading the book because I have to. This is not the case with Arnett’s book, The Summer of Robert Byron. I found myself lost in this novel and finished the book in two days. This book happily gets a rating of five stars!
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