Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Summer Guest: A Novel by Alison Anderson

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

What if Anton Chekhov, undisputed master of the short story, secretly wrote a novel—a manuscript hidden long ago that might have survived?

This tantalizing possibility drives The Summer Guest, a spellbinding story that draws together, across two centuries, the lives of three women through a moving, mysterious diary.

During the long, hot summer of 1888, an extraordinary friendship blossoms between Anton Chekhov and a young doctor named Zinaida Lintvaryova. Recently blinded by illness, Zinaida has retreated to her family’s estate in the lush countryside of eastern Ukraine, where she is keeping a diary to record her memories of her earlier life. But when the Chekhov family arrives to spend the summer at a dacha on the estate, and she meets the middle son, Anton Pavlovich, her quiet existence is transformed by the connection they share. What begins as a journal kept simply to pass the time becomes an intimate, introspective narrative of Zinaida’s singular relationship with this writer of growing fame.

More than a century later, in 2014, the publication of Zinaida’s diary represents Katya Kendall’s last chance to save her struggling London publishing house. Zinaida’s description of a gifted young man still coming to terms with his talent offers profound insight into a literary legend, but it also raises a tantalizing question: Did Chekhov, known only as a short-story writer and dramatist, write a novel that has since disappeared? The answer could change history, and finding the manuscript proves an irresistible challenge for Ana Harding, the translator Katya hires. Increasingly drawn into Zinaida and Chekhov’s world, Ana is consumed by her desire to find the “lost” book. As she delves deeper into the moving account of two lives changed by a meeting on a warm May night, she discovers that the manuscript is not the only mystery contained within the diary’s pages.

Inspired by the real-life friendship between Chekhov and the Lintvaryov family, The Summer Guest is a masterful and utterly compelling novel that breathes life into a vanished world while exploring the transformative power of art and the complexities of love and friendship.

my thoughts:

Literary historical fiction at its best!  The Summer Guest is based on a nugget of truth - Anton Chekhov was friends with the Lintvaryov family and he did stay at their guest house in the Ukraine in 1888 and 1889.  And with that bit of information, Anderson has woven together an excellent tale perfect for a summer read.  I absolutely loved this book and here's why:
  • The writing was elegant, rich, and thoughtful.  
  • It had the perfect combination of history, fiction, literature, and mystery.
  • I loved the history that Anderson created between Zinaida and Chekhov.
  • The idea of a lost novel by Chekhov - how exciting and fun!
  • Dual time periods and narratives are a new favorite of mine. I loved the back and forth via Zinaida's diary.
  • Getting to know the characters as a result of the diary was just perfect.  It really connected everyone and allowed for us to see Chekhov as a friend (not just a writer).   
  • Smart and strong female characters are the best!
  • I love short stories and I love Anton Chekhov's short stories, so reading this book was a MUST for me. 
  • Plus, I had just finished reading Willful Disregard which mentioned The Lady with the Dog by Chekhov - talk about fate!  Chekhov was now on my mind and just in time for The Summer Guest.
Talk about a terrific read! I absolutely enjoyed The Summer Guest - it was fun, intriguing, and unputdownable! I would happily recommend it to fans of historical fiction with a literary bent - you will LOVE this book! 

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Summer Guest
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!


bermudaonion said...

I'm not big on historical fiction but this one sounds really good.

Nadia said...

Kathy, it really was such a great book. I think you'd enjoy it even if you weren't a fan of historical fiction. Its just good writing and that alone makes it a must-read.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Yes yes YES! This is exactly what I love in a literary and historical read! I'm definitely going to have to pick up this book asap.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

Nadia said...

Heather, thanks so much! It really was such a great book :)

Terra said...

This sounds fascinating. Chekov, a real life friendship, it makes for a good plot.

Nadia said...

Terra, it really is fascinating! I think you'd enjoy it :)

Lisa said...

I'm intrigued by this one just from the cover! Sounds like it more than lives up to that!