Karen Mason was born in London in the 1970s and has been writing since childhood. When she was eight she was runner up in the Write a Limerick Competition on Blue Peter and at aged twenty two was a runner up in the now defunct Me! Magazine ‘Write a Blockbuster’ competition. In 2008 Karen decided to go down the self-publishing route and has since published several historical fiction novels including the Never Forget, and Line of Passion series. In 2014 Karen was a runner up in the Good Housekeeping Novel Writing Competition and she was named a Writer to Watch.
Late 2014 will see the release of the next instalment of the Never Forget saga.
Catherine E. Chapman
on Aug. 07, 2012 :
I was interested in this book, among Karen Mason's works, because of its setting in post-World War II England and the author evokes the feeling of a village trying vainly to remain sleepy, despite the onset of irreversible change, in the upheaval she documents in its inhabitants' personal lives.
I enjoyed reading 'Summerset'. Karen Mason's writing style is quite heavy on focalised narration. This could be hard-going to read if she were not so good at getting into the heads of her characters. The sincerity and rawness of her writing is what makes it compelling to read.
If I found difficulty in 'Summerset', it was in the pitching of the novel. At the outset it appears to be a 'nice' story, an easy romance to lose yourself in. However, as the plot unravels there are actually very dark aspects to it, in particular, the conflict in Andrew and Briggy's marriage, and the necessary marginalisation of Briggy in order for a relationship to develop between Andrew and Lou. And because of this, Andrew is a flawed hero. I also found the development of the friendship between Lou, Briggy and Andrew to be, at times, tenuous, Lou's status wavering between that of child and adult. However, once I got beyond expectations I might have had that the book would conform to generic norms of romance, I just enjoyed the intensely emotional nature of the plot. And Mason's characterisation, whilst somewhat conflicting in respect of Andrew's emotional state and Lou's maturity, is strong, the very paradoxes she creates in her characters engaging the reader.
The novel does, as the cover blurb suggests, span several decades and later in the book the scene jumps from one time setting to another quite rapidly. This is fine, however, as the characters are so well-established by this point.
I must echo the comments of other reviewers in saying that this book deserves closer attention to editing to do the story justice. That said, if you enjoy intense, involved romances, 'Summerset' as it stands may well be a book for you.
(reviewed long after purchase)