Fiction Book Reviews

Literary Fiction | Swallowtail Summer | Erica James

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In celebration of the paperback publishing for Swallowtail Summer by Erica James, I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts today.

Book cover for Swallowtail Summer by Erica James

A cherished home, a circle of friends and a summer that will change everything…

Linston End has been the summer holiday home for three families for many years. A rambling thatched house nestled on the water’s edge on the Norfolk Broads, it’s a haven of long, lazy picnics on the river, gin and tonics in the garden; a place to spend time together.

But this year, the friends are rocked by unexpected news, and it seems that Linston End will never be the same again. For some, this summer feels like the end. For others, it might just be the beginning. . .

Swallowtail Summer by Erica James is published by Orion and is available to purchase in digital, hardcover, paperback and audiobook formats.


Linston End may be an idyllic setting on the banks of the river but underneath the façade of this close group of friends there are secrets and resentments.  With Alastair’s announcement, the summer brings to the surface this group of friend’s feelings that have been glossed over and lay buried for years.  It makes them reassess their own lives and their own hopes and dreams.  I loved the drama!

Alastair, Simon and Danny have been close friends since prep school and an integral part of each other’s lives as they’ve married and had children.  Even though their children are now in their 30’s, the families are still close and get together at Linston End.  I enjoyed getting to know all the characters, figuring out what motivates them and what part they had to play in the unfolding turmoil.  I disliked one character but wasn’t sure at first whether that’s because I was emotionally attached to the others or whether she was manipulative and a danger (very clever with a gilded tongue … her step-children gave me goosebumps too and it turned out, for good reason).  Laura is the voice of reason in amongst the different expectations everyone has.  I loved how this tied in with Blake and Jenna.

One late night scene had me catching my breath and expecting the worst.  I felt so much anger and frustration afterwards too.  I was shouting out ‘are you for real!?!?!’  Another traumatic event for Frankie and Danny brings everything to a head.  And a shocker that had me stunned.  I really wasn’t expecting that to happen … 

Swallowtail Summer left me with a feeling of optimism about moving forward to a different future.  A future that will be lived to the full.

Recommended read no matter the time of year!

Author photo of Erica James

With an insatiable appetite for other people’s business, Erica will readily strike up conversation with strangers in the hope of unearthing a useful gem for her writing. She finds it the best way to write authentic characters for her novels, although her two grown-up sons claim they will never recover from a childhood spent in a perpetual state of embarrassment at their mother’s compulsion.

The author of nineteen bestselling novels, including Gardens of Delight which won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award and her recent Sunday Times top ten bestseller, The Dandelion Years, Erica divides her time between Suffolk and Lake Como in Italy, where she now strikes up conversation with unsuspecting Italians.

Connect with Erica James


Twitter @TheEricaJames



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I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 9+ years. My love of reading, crocheting, being out in nature and positive psychology are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school.

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