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Karen Mason was born in London in 1971 and still resides there. She has been writing since childhood and won her first accolade aged seven when she came second in the Blue Peter ‘Write a Limerick for Goldie the Dog’ competition. Fifteen years later she came second in the now defunct Me! Magazine, ‘Write a Blockbuster’ competition with an early novel called Violet’s Children. She first published her novel Summerset in 2008 and has gone on to release Mad About the Boy, Two Become One, Winner Takes it All – the sequel to Summerset, Mrs Osbourne Regrets, The True Tale of Jezebel Cole, Only You, The Line of Passion Trilogy, Never Forget,Scorpio Rising - a Phillipa Hardcastle mystery, Paradise Lost and The Exciting Life - the second book in the Never Forget saga. Spring 2013 saw the release of Never Tear Us Apart, the latest in the Never Forget Saga, and summer 2013 saw the release of 'Teenage Kicks' - book two of the Phillipa Hardcastle Mysteries. The Lucky Ones - book four in the Never Forget saga has just been released and spring 2014 will see the release of 'Where the Heart Is' book5 in the 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)