Review: Summer Island by Natalie Normann

This book didn’t fit any of my challenge prompts.


He never meant to stay.
He certainly never meant to fall in love…

Summer Island off the coast of Norway was the place London chef Jack Greene should have been from. He’s an outsider in the community that should have been his family, and now he’s setting foot on the strange land he has inherited for the first time.

The welcome is a mix of distrust and strange gifts of food, especially from enigmatic Ninni Toft, his nearest neighbour, who has arrived for the season to get over a broken heart. Her wild spirit and irrepressible enthusiasm for the quirky locals are a heady brew for city-boy Jack, who is discovering the simple pleasures of island life – and what it means to belong. To a place. To a people. To one person in particular…

Home is where the heart is, but is Jack’s heart with the career he left behind in London, or on the wind-swept shores of Summer Island, with Ninni?

Image via Goodreads

What I liked:

I absolutely loved reading a book set in Norway over summer. Norway isn’t usually a destination many people think about when thinking about summer – it conjures up many more images of snow and cold weather. The book definitely made me want to visit Norway one day.

The early stages of the novel are set on Constitution Day, Norway’s national holiday. Seeing other countries’ and people’s culture in books is a favourite of mine, and added so much to my enjoyment of it. There are also some phrases in Norwegian dotted throughout the book, which I again found a lovely touch.

What I didn’t like:

For a lot of the early book, I didn’t gel with Ninni. I found her rather uptight, and didn’t enjoy reading about her much. We got on better in the second half, save for a few questionable decisions towards the end of the book.

As Jack is a chef, and discovers a book full of Norwegian recipes, I would have loved to see some of them added as an appendix to the book.

Out of five:

Three. This book has cemented Norway on my wanderlist, but there were a couple of points that knocked down star ratings for me.

I’ve also spoken about this book over on my Book Tube channel. If you’d like to hear more of my thoughts on this book, please tune in!

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