Sunday, May 19, 2013

Summer Melody by Toddie Downs

Title: Summer Melody
Author: Toddie Downs

Publisher: Booktrope Editions

Published Date: October 10, 2012

Buy on Amazon: Paperback & Kindle

Author Website:



In a town called Daedalus Falls, it's easy for the weight of wings to overwhelm. But in the summer of 1992, three generations of women in the Stanton family realize untapped strengths that give them the power to soar. As her aging mother falls prey to the ravages of dementia, Bonnie races to make sense of both her past and present, discovering that the truth of long-buried family secrets has the power to destroy—or to heal. Her niece Meg, meanwhile, is planning a wedding to the perfect man—and then watching fear and uncertainty pull them apart. Finally, teenage Jane, turning away from the burden of family history, comes of age in a way she never thought possible as she learns to care for an autistic boy. Ultimately, all three women discover grace and truth within themselves and their common bonds in this story of love and hope.

Summer Melody is a testament to how, in the face of tremendous challenges, family can bring us strength to survive, endure, and maybe even flourish.
My Thoughts:

Summer Melody, by Toddie Downs, is a novel revolving around three related women and the personal struggles they go through during the span of one summer.  Bonnie is the mother to fourteen year old Jane and the aunt to twenty-something Meg.  Summer Melody demonstrates the different stages you go through during life.  Downs' does a great job in writing a realistic and honest book.  It would be easy to believe the fictitious Summer Melody was actually about a real family and the struggles they faced.

Freshly divorced Bonnie is struggling to raise her two children and deal with her Alzheimer afflicted mother, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth had two daughters, Vivian and Bonnie.  Vivian and her mother have been at odds for years over something Bonnie never understood.  Vivian removed herself from her mother's life and as a result her daughter Meg never really knew her grandmother.  Bonnie, on the other hand, never felt close to her judgmental and cold mother but remained a part of her life.  Once Elizabeth grew sick it fell on Bonnie's shoulders to take care of her and eventually admit her into a Nursing Home.  Bonnie makes sure to visit her mother everyday, even after Elizabeth doesn't recognize her daughter.  It is during this time that Elizabeth starts talking about a past that Bonnie is unaware of.  As her mother enters her final days, Bonnie embarks on a mission to uncover the family secrets that have been buried for decades.   

Backward and self conscious Jane is dreading the summer and already planning ways to hide from the probing eyes of her mother and annoying little brother.  However, her plans of hiding away in her room are disrupted when a neighbor asks Jane to babysit for her son.  Thinking it is one way to make money and stay busy, Jane hesitantly accepts the position.  However, she soon finds out that this is not a normal summer babysitting job as the young boy she is hired to watch has a disorder on the Autism Spectrum.  Gone are the days of thinking only of herself.  Jane finds that it is important to her self-worth to become friends with the young boy and gain his trust.  What follows is a summer she will never forget as she leaves behind 'old' Jane.   

Meg is a carefree young women who has a close relationship with her Aunt Bonnie and cousins Jane and Davey.  Meg doesn't know if she will ever find a man worth settling down for, until she meets Brady.  Their whirlwind courtship quickly turns into an engagement and has all the qualities of a fairytale ending until Brady is brutally mugged and beaten.  The once happy go lucky Brady is suddenly withdrawn and different.  Meg must decide if she can still marry this new Brady, and if she truly has what it takes to stick around through thick and thin.

Toddie Downs has written a beautiful novel.  Throughout Summer Melody, Bonnie, Jane, and Meg grow close and form a bond that will last a lifetime.  At the end of the summer all three women have grown and changed for the better.  Get ready for an emotional ride full of ups, downs, and surprises. 

Toddie Downs
The author has provided me with a complimentary copy of her book, Summer Melody, for the purpose of review.

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