The Summer of the Bear is wonderful. The multi-layer characters will bring you heartache, joy, and hope, often on the same page! Bella Pollen describes the Scottish setting with great affection, which allows her readers to gain true insight into the terrain.
It’s 1980’s Berlin, and the mysterious death of her Embassy-employed husband leads Letty to relocate herself and her children to the place of her youth. This is an enormous adjustment for the three children, who must suddenly cope with the death of their father, a much more simplistic way of life on a remote island, and neighbors who appear plucked right out of the turn of the century. It is Letty’s youngest child, her son, who believes that his father will return, and oddly, finds solace and great hope in the form of an escaped domesticated bear, who is seen milling about the island throughout the story. The bear’s presence is fascinating and mystical, and you can’t help but cheer the characters on as they deal with their personal demons. The story is written with incredible imagination, and I’ll be looking to add more of Bella Pollen’s work to the ever-growing bookshelves. 5 stars!