Return to Summerville by H.L. Sudler

For those that follow my book blog (, you will know that I RAVED about the first book in this series, Summerville. Great news!! Book two lives up to the high bar established by the first book and has all the subtext of the first plus a whole lot more.

When last we left Summerville, a man had been raped on one of the beaches at Rehoboth by a group of men. A woman had also been raped by one of these men. Obviously, there is a whole lot more to what seems like a conventional, boilerplate legal thriller. Go read my review then return. For the rest of you…..

Sudler explains that these books are a compendium of a series of articles he writes for a small newspaper. For those that love Dickens and Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, then Summerville is a must read! What I love about Summerville is what I love about Dickens. There are a host of social justice themes and issues that reflect society in the same way Dicken’s wrote about the London of his day.

What I also love is the fodder for book clubs. Some of the themes in Return to Summerville include but are not limited to: relationships with age differences; the issues that arise when someone dates a close friend’s child; unrequited love; losing one’s employment due to sexual orientation; male and female relationships; long held secrets and intergenerational lies; the choices we make in life and the reasons; survival; witness protection; the mob; gangs; relocation; memory… many great issues to explore and discuss.

Sudler expands on his inspiration for this type of story. This includes the great old soap Dark Shadows and the book, movie and tv show Peyton Place. That was actually wonderful to read in his own words as there were several points in the novel where I thought “Wow! This is like Peyton Place!”.

Now for the good news/bad news. Great books suck you in and just like the first one, I cleared my schedule, read the whole things in a day finishing at 4:30am! Yep, it’s one of THOSE books. I should also mention that like all 5 star books (and this is 5 stars, make no mistake) there is some confronting and sexually explicit material suitable for mature readers. Keep an open mind and you will be rewarded.

The bad news? Sudler left us on a genuine cliff hanger!!!! I almost died when I got to the last page and realized I now have to wait for the next installment in what will be a triology. I can hardly wait!!! There is so much here to love and I can’t recommend this author and these books enough. I reiterate, if book stores had this book on the front display, it would be a sell out of major proportions. If Peyton Place could do it, Summerville could easily outsell it several times over. Grab your summer novel but be prepared for a sleepy day after you stay up all night reading it!


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