That Certain SummerThat Certain Summer
Irene Hannon
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Karen and Val are family-yet they're anything but close. Karen has carried the burden of responsibility for her aging mother ever since her gorgeous sister left town years ago to pursue a career in theater. But Val had darker reasons for leaving town-as well as a secret to keep-and coming home has never been an option . . . until their mother suffers a stroke.

Reunited in their hometown, Karen and Val must grapple with their past mistakes, their relationship with each other, and their issues with a mother who is far from ideal. When a physical therapist raising his daughter alone and a handsome but hurting musician enter the picture, the summer takes on a whole new dimension. As their lives intersect and entwine, can each learn how to forgive, how to let go, and how to move on? And strengthened by the healing power of faith, might they also find the courage to love?


 That Certain Summer Discussion Questions: Irene Hannon


1. Family relationships are central to this book—and Margaret, Karen, and Val do some serious head-butting. What are some things they could have tried that might have improved their relationship in the past?



2. Karen and Val struggle with sibling rivalry. Do you think this is a common problem in families? Why or why not? What are some ways parents can alleviate this?



3. Val nurses a traumatic secret that has affected her entire life, and she’s been running from it for years. Can we truly run away from our past, or must we confront it before we can move on? Explain your reasoning.



4. When Scott’s life is turned upside down—and changed forever—he suffers from serious depression. What are some of the things that help him see light at the end of the tunnel during the course of this book? What can friends and family do to help someone they love who is suffering from depression?



5. In the beginning of the book, Karen’s daughter resents her for the breakup of their family and is struggling to cope with the divorce. What are some of the problems children might experience when a marriage crumbles? How can parents help them through that transition?



6. Karen’s always managed to hold things together, but when Margaret has a stroke she’s forced to admit she can’t cope alone anymore and needs help. Why was it so difficult for her to acknowledge this?



7. Val makes a journey not only home but also to the past. What do you think about her choices years before? Do you know anyone who has suffered traumatic emotional aftereffects from such a decision? How might you counsel them?



8. Karen and Michael’s marriage is an example of an unhealthy relationship. Cite some of the reasons why they had issues.



9. When Michael realizes the grass isn’t always greener and wants to come back to Karen, she turns him down. Do you think this was the right decision? Why or why not?



10. During the book, the sisters begin to repair their relationship. What are some of the things they do that help create a stronger bond?



11. Margaret reveals some surprising insights into her background to Val and Karen. Do you think her experiences credibly explain the woman she became? What might her husband have seen in her that no one else saw?



12. Both Scott and Val have fallen away from their faith. What prompts them to reconnect with God? If you had a friend in their position, what might you do to help them find their way back to the Lord?



13. At one point, Karen says she thought acquiescence was the secret to winning approval—and love. But in the end she became a doormat. Is it possible to be assertive and loving at the same time? If so, how?



14. Karen and Scott get off to a rough start. What happens to change her mind about him?



15. David isn’t interested in a summertime romance, and Val doesn’t think a man like David could ever love her. What happens to give their relationship long-term potential?



16. Val and Karen have to cope with a very difficult mother. In their situation, how would you have dealt with Margaret—or would you even have tried?



17. Val presents a confident, in-control image to the world—but it’s a sham. Do we all sometimes try to present an image to the world that doesn’t reflect who we really are? Why? Is this ever a good thing to do? If so, give an example.



18. Karen takes a leap of faith when she agrees to sing a solo at the benefit. What gave her the courage to do this?



19. All of the characters in this book are on a journey. Whose journey did you think was the most difficult? Why?



20. Val struggles to forgive herself during the course of this story. Do you think it’s easier to forgive others or ourselves? Why?



21. Why does helping Steven and Karen have such a big impact on Scott?



22. Were you surprised when Karen agreed to Michael’s request near the end of the book? Why or why not? What would you have done in her place?



23. Who was your favorite character? Why?



24. What scene lingers in your memory? Why?



25. Which character do you think changed and grew the most in this story? Why?



26. At the end of the book, Karen reflects that she’ll always remember that certain summer when so many lives changed for the better. Is there an interlude in your life—or even a single experience—that had a profound and lasting positive impact? If so, share it with your discussion group.



27. Did you think the plot of That Certain Summer was well constructed and credible, and the characters believable? Why or why not? Talk about your impressions of the book from a literary standpoint—its strengths and weaknesses. If you were the author, would you have done anything differently?






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That Certain Summer - eBook

That Certain Summer - eBook
Irene Hannon
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