The Goodbye Summer is an unforgettable novel about daring to love, braving a loss, and setting yourself free, by Patricia Gaffney, the author of the phenomenal New York Times bestseller, The Saving Graces. Poignantly exploring one woman’s inner growth and self discovery over the course of a season of profound change, The Goodbye Summer is women’s fiction at its finest—heartbreaking, healing, emotional, and real. As Nora Roberts so aptly puts it, Patricia Gaffney “reminds us what it’s like to be a woman.”
No one can accuse Gaffney of shying away from mortality. Against the genteel backdrop of Wake House, a Maryland home for the elderly, Caddie Winger, a music teacher, endures a string of losses the summer she turns 33. In a way, it comes as no surprise, since most of her friends are nearly half a century older than she is. Caddie has always lived with her determinedly wacky grandmother, Nana, who moves into Wake House after she breaks a leg while working on one of her embarrassing lawn sculptures. Soon, Caddie is spending all her time at the small convalescent home and growing especially close to Thea, a firecracker who convinces Caddie to smoke pot and dance in the rain. Despite the fun they have together, the sober realities of old age are never far off, and Caddie's affair with a man her own age disappearing slick-o Christopher doesn't do much to cheer her up. The novel has its larkier moments, especially in the spirited, pitch-perfect conversations between Caddie and Nana and the sniping among Nana's fellow Wake House residents. But mostly Caddie suffers and struggles as Nana's ditziness looks more like dementia, money grows scarce, and she is plagued by crippling self-doubt. The redemptive romance, with 30-something Wake House resident Henry Magill, convalescing from a sky-diving accident that killed his fianc e, echoes the core love story in Gaffney's last novel, Flight Lessons. Here, too, a damaged hero offers a profound attractiveness the reader recognizes ages ahead of the heroine. Caddie is endearing, and while some fans will cherish her fealty to her sorrows, others may feel more bummed than uplifted.