Book Review – Summer of ’76 by Isabel Ashdown

51vQRfvZ4rL._SY445_[1]Summer of ’76 – Isabel Ashdown
Publisher: Myriad Editions
Release Date:  4 July 2013
Rating: 3/5
Source:  Advance copy from the publisher.  Many thanks!
Synopsis:  It’s the start of one of the hottest summers on record with soaring temperatures and weeks without rain; the summer of Abba, T-Rex, David Bowie and Demis Roussos; of Martinis, cheesecake and chicken chasseur; of the Montreal Olympics and the Notting Hill riots – the summer Big Ben stopped dead.

Luke Wolff is about to turn eighteen and is all set to enjoy his last few months at home on the Isle of Wight before leaving for college. Life is looking good; his job at a holiday camp promises new friendships, even the possibility of romance, and his parents are too preoccupied with their own problems to worry much about their son’s growing independence.

But with windows and doors constantly open and life increasingly lived outside, secrets become hard to hide. As Luke listens in, his parents’ seemingly ordered existence comes unstuck. Soon the community is gripped by scandal, and everything Luke thought he knew about friendship and family is turned on its head.

Winner of the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition, Isabel Ashdown once again unravels the complexity of her characters’ lives – and reveals what really lies beneath the surface.

Before reading Ashdown’s forthcoming Summer of ’76 I thought it would be best to read something else by her to get an idea of her writing style and such.  Lucky for me I’d purchased an e-version of Hurry Up and Wait a few months back and this seemed like the perfect chance to give it a read.  I’m glad I did because I got a very good sense of how Ashdown writes and constructs her characters and storylines.  Summer of ’76 and Hurry Up and Wait are two very similar books in that they’re slow burners and both have a sort of twist at the end.

I did enjoy Summer of ’76 though there were points where I wished things would speed up a bit or where I felt like more could have been happening.  Even so, Ashdown’s writing style is lovely and easy to read and she’s very good at capturing the nuances of the time in her writing (the 80’s in Hurry Up and 70’s in Summer).  I must say that I loved how the opening of Summer of ’76 held its own but actually made loads of sense by the conclusion of the novel. Swinger party (keys in bowl)? I’m there!

I’m eager to give her debut novel Glasshopper a read and can only imagine it will be just as emotionally intense as her other two books.

Summer of ’76 is out on 4 July (Happy Independence Day, home fries!) and will be available online as well as in store.  Check out the Summer of ’76 on the Myriad Editions website for more information on the novel, the author and where you can bag your copy!


If you’re interested in getting in touch, tweet me at @stephanie_khani or @londondiaries1.  Alternatively you can email me at emailthelondondiaries [at]


10 thoughts on “Book Review – Summer of ’76 by Isabel Ashdown

  1. Well I read this review and so pre ordered the book…I loved it. I stayed up untill 3am last night to finish it…I would say I expected a final twist….who thecwoman was that Richard choose that first and only night…I thought it would have been another woman …and would have then made Marty ”real family’ ..get my drift? But I loved the 70s feel, I lived that era I was 11 yrs old so remember all the little things mentioned. Great summer read and thank you for leading me to it. X

      1. I am still on your reviews now…I am torn between The Deception Artist, Amity and Sorrow or The River of No Return…ohhhh the delema !

      2. Depends on what you’re in the mood for but Amity & Sorrow is probably my favourite book so far this year and I’ve read it twice already… and I’m not the sort of person to reread books that quickly!

  2. Well thats first then ! Thank you 🙂 the other two I will download to my kindle anyway..will keep me quiet in my coffee breaks :)..Steph your reviews are great. X

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