After 12 books for children, ... Linda Hutsell-Manning, at 70, has published her first novel for an adult audience, tackling the complex issues one faces, running the gamut from rewarding to onerous, in dealing with the final years of elderly parents.
[ That Summer in Franklin ] unfolds ... as the two female protagonists, Hannah Norcroft and Colleen Pinser, cope with the placement of a mother and father respectively at the ironically named Sunset Lodge, the only nursing home in the small Ontario town of Franklin, where both girls were raised. Seamlessly interwoven chapters alternate between the busy adult lives of Colleen and Hannah and a constant interloper, Franklin’s Britannia Hotel, built in 1925. Both women worked at the Britannia as waitresses in the summer of 1955. .... Colleen and Hannah’s unexpected comfort drawn from the past helps them to accept and move on from the challenges [ of ] terminal stages in their parents’ lives – Hannah’s mother with severe dementia and Colleen’s father, stricken with advanced cirrhosis of the liver.
THAT SUMMER IN FRANKLIN is a book by Linda Hutsell-Manning. The author is able to create, through good writing and a compelling story, a portrait that marks the faces of each of her characters with the lines of time and experience. What happened that summer? What happened before and after that summer in Franklin?
If you're tired of TV and watching over your kids for spring break, pick up a copy of the just-released first novel from 70-year-old author Linda Hutsell-Manning. = That Summer in Franklin ... two teenaged girls, Hannah and Colleen, who in 1955 worked as waitresses at the Britannia Hotel ... find each other decades later as they are setting their respective parents up in a nursing home. They reconnect just as if time had never taken them apart. ...Hutsell-Manning is a fine writer ... Reading how the two main characters interact is like being a fly on the wall listening in on natural conversation. ... This is a book that takes you by surprise — a nifty little humanistic tale with a sly murder mystery weaving a thread through the middle.
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May 2011 : by Maureen Lennon, Warkworth, ON
I was asked by a friend to read "That Summer in Franklin" by Linda Hutsell-Manning a few weeks ago, and to let her know what I thought of the book. It felt like a homework assignment, so I thought I would begin reading it that night, to "get it over with". Little did I know that it would be 1 a.m. before I made myself put the book down and head for bed. I finished reading the rest of the story the next afternoon.
I got completely caught up in the story and the two main characters Hannah and Colleen. I could easily relate to their lives both when in their teens in the '50s and the lives they were currently living. Linda made the characters very much alive and personal, and I felt at times, that I was a third party with them having coffee and comparing notes on family issues. It is a delightful read, and I highly recommend it. ... Congratulations on writing a book I will recommend all my friends read.
April 2011 by Catherine (Haileybury ON): ... I read That Summer in Franklin over the weekend. Your book is like a very well focused black and white photograph, taken at a point in time. If you look closely, the lines on the faces and the shadows in the eyes speak to experience of the past as it shows in the present. Thank you so much for this contribution to literature.
www.Amazon.ca : Extracts from Reader Reviews
April 2011 by Patricia ( Oakville, ON )
I loved reading this book! ... complex characters and a fascinating plot. As the book progressed, the story became more and more compelling,... (the author) created memorable characters with believable, real-life challenges. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone ... A must read in my books! ...
March 2011 by Sheila ( Newmarket, ON)
I think this book is beautifully written. ... The style is lovely. She brings her characters to life, so that you can relate to them intimately. ... I especially like the fact that the style is both subtle and exact, while the story is "a good read". ... you'll love this book. ...
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March 2011 : by Deborah Panko ( Cobourg,ON )
I've finished reading Franklin - a page turner when it comes to characters - you make us really care about Colleen and Hannah - I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them, wanting to find out how they have created lives for themselves and how they manage to manoeuvre through things that reminded me of myself in lots of ways - your descriptions of places are 'tactile' - the relationships honest (how things happen that seem random and yet there's a pattern and rhythm to them) and some broad themes within a very specific place - reminded me of the Great Gatsby when it comes to the rich protecting the rich and then the municipality as a microcosm of economies in general - it was a great read without depending on sensationalism.
March 2011 : by Glenda Jackson ( Cobourg, ON )
It's a wonderful book and I wish you much success with it. You have written with such intelligence, insight and humour. The issues of the 2 main characters will resonate with any sensitive person who has memories and parents! (and that of course is just about everyone I know).
March 2011 : by Helen Mason ( Gores Landing ON )
That Summer in Franklin is really good. I say that with great delight, not because I was expecting this book to be bad but because I had no expectations at all. I went to the launch and I bought the book and I read it because she is a friend and because I am proud of her for getting her novel published. To discover how good a writer she is, how crisp her writing is, how rich and interesting her characters are, is very exciting. This is the best part of being a reader: buying a book because the story sounds interesting or because you know the author, and discovering the book is absolutely delightful. Now here's the kicker: having been burned a couple of times, I get nervous as I approach the end of a book. Linda's ending makes you think, in a good way. It makes you want to talk about it with someone, to share your ideas about the characters and what they will do next. It's the perfect ending for a book club. Of course. This book is perfect for a book club! Get the word out. It's worth reading and you'll be supporting an emerging Canadian author.
April 2011 : by Sara Mattinson, Girl Gone Country ( Port Howe, NS )
Great job on that book. I have been up most nights since, enjoying it. Loved the characters. Found them interesting and believable. Nice descriptions.