Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
J&G: 5 Stars
Jenny: Well, how much did we devour this one G? I fell completely in love with the tortured, enigmatic and sexy Jai and the damaged, beautiful and engaging Summer. What an absolutely magic couple they were. Despite their torrid pasts and tragic presents, they were an absolute delight to read. That sounds a bit like a contradiction, but Barbara Elsborg does have that unique knack of introducing witty banter in her writing, yet she manages to never detract the reader from the emotional, the dramatic or the grittiness of the scene. At times I’m sure I read this with a big dopey grin on my face from giggling or swooning and the rest of the time wiping tears from my eyes from the pain and torment Jai and Summer experienced.
“Do you think you could love me?” – Summer
“Yes.”…..”Yes, I could love you.” -Jai
Summer Girl, Winter Boy was an absolute winner for me and had me burning the midnight (or should I say wee small hours of the morning) candle. I couldn’t stop reading no matter what. I loved with them, I cried with them, I swooned with them, I felt every ounce of their pain and suffering and I laughed with them …in fact, I felt so much a part of “them” – as if I was participating in their story, not merely reading it.
‘She was thinking of him and not herself. When had any other woman done that? Summer was a risk. Was he strong enough to take it?’ – Jai
Barbara Elsborg had me eagerly turning the pages from the first chapter, I was hooked and there was no turning back. The opening scenes brought me to my knees, I was horrified at Jai’s situation and could feel Jai’s despondency right off the pages. Just when I thought I could relax, something else would be thrown at me and I had to keep reading!
Gitte: I really think this story is Barbara Elsborg at her very best and I LOVED every word of it. Summer Girl, Winter Boy is superb and Barbara has this flawless addictive writing that exudes confidence in her ability to inject just the right amount of drama, humour and passion.
Her characters have such depth and come across so very real. There’s no question when you’re reading that they’re people you could meet down the pub on a Friday night. They are affable, down to earth, easy to connect to and extremely lovable. I fell in love, I fell in lust, I cried, I laughed and I melted into a puddle. How is that not perfection?!
‘One press of her lips and he fell. It was as though whatever had been damaged inside him for so long was coming back to life. For years, he hadn’t allowed himself to feel, because that way he kept himself safe, but Summer was making him feel. And as much as he loved it, it scared him because she couldn’t be part of his fucked-up life. He didn’t want to hurt her.’ – Jai
The story of Summer and Jai is all encompassing; it’s romantic, emotional and thrilling. It’s everything a passionate reader would look for in a story. Barbara captures you from page one and doesn’t let go of you until you’ve turned that last page. It was a journey of sublime excellence and I really think Barbara’s style of writing is faultless and extremely.
Jenny: I think I fell in love with Summer from the first page. I was drawn to her and intrigued by her. What made her live a more or less secluded life in South America for 18 months? What made her gun shy of men and relationships and why was she dreading her move back to the UK? What happened in her past that made her so unhappy and unresponsive to opening her heart until Jai came along?
“I have a feeling you didn’t find what you came here for.” – Jai
“I found peace.”….”But not happiness.” – Summer
Her story was indeed sad and as the story of this selfless woman, who had endured years of suffering a guilt that wasn’t hers to bear, came to light, my heart broke. A set of unfortunate incidences had seen her hold so much pain inside. An outcast from her family, made to feel like nothing more than an inconvenience, this beautiful, warm and caring woman stole my heart right along with Jai’s.
“Are you feeling okay?” – Summer
“I haven’t for a long time, but now I am.”- Jai
Her chance meeting with Jai ignited a fire in Summer, he kick started her heart and she in turn made this self loathing man feel whole, feel needed and feel loved, Summer made him feel as if his life was worth living. She was the summer to his winter. And Jai…oh Gitte…Jai…what a guy..selfless to a fault!
Gitte: Yeah Jai was an amazing hero. A true, tragic and real hero. A man who’s suffered and carries a burden no one should have to carry. You can appear confident, suave and in control, however, behind the façade and the image who knows what horrors lurk!?!
‘He’d forgotten who he was. He had a face to fit all occasions but it was never his own.’
Jai is a sought after male model who seems to have it all yet behind closed doors he carries a dark and sordid secret. A secret forced upon him of which he has no control or choice. Jai personifies hopelessness and self-loathing; the consequences of actions which are necessary to protect the people he loves. Wow, I cried so many times and my heart broke for this brave, funny and beautiful man. The situations Jai gets placed in made me shiver, feel angry and wanting to climb into my kindle with a giant weapon of mass bad people destruction. Self-worth when beaten out of you is very hard to retrieve so thank God for Summer, who I loved, not only because of who this awesome girl is but also for how she saved Jai! He didn’t think he deserved her, but he truly did just as she deserved a man like Jai. Not only did Summer save Jai but Jai did the same for her. Seriously LOVE this man!
‘I like her and I want to keep her and I can’t. Fuck it.’
Jai had me crying one minute and laughing and swooning the next. He is perfect!!!! He just didn’t see this himself though and it took the beautiful Summer for him to realise!
“Everything you do winds me tighter. Everything you do makes me burn hotter, faster, brighter. I ought to be pushing you away from me as hard as I can because I can only bring you trouble, but I can’t let you go. I need you. You make me strong.” – Jai
J&G: Barbara Elsborg gripped us from the outset with a very disturbing first chapter that created a feeling of unease in the pit of our stomachs dreading what was to come with some nervous anticipation.
We wondered where this story was going to go and although the first chapter was a little reminiscent of another book we had read, by the second chapter it was clearly evident this was indeed its own book and it stood out for being quite different to a lot of what we’ve read lately….another reason it was a winner for us.
Jai and Summer’s painful story is so beautifully told and we were captivated us from start to finish with the right blend of everything we love in an adult romance story.
“I’m desperate to kiss you.” – Jai
“How desperate?” – Summer
“Deeply, madly, desperately desperate.” – Jai
Summer Girl, Winter Boy had it all. It was chock full of warm and relatable characters, some evil characters we’d love to strangle; it was at times a gritty and raw read, and it brought drama and angst in the right doses and let’s not forget the steam factor…wow!!! It was as witty as it was sad, as sexy as it was sweet and packed with emotion and passion. There were times we were on the edge of our seats, times we felt anger over Jai and Summers predicaments, and other times we were swooning and grinning like fools over the sexy and humorous banter between Summer and Jai.
“……but oh my god, that is one beautiful….thing…penis…cock…dick…tinkle, you have there. Shut me up now before I say something stupid.” Summer
Yep….a definite winner! Oh…and not to mention we got to catch up with Charlie and Kate from Strangers….we may have got a tad overly excited when that scene came about. We definitely recommend adding this standalone to your TBR’s. We LOVED it!
ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review
Be sure to check out STRANGERS as well to revisit some favourite characters
Our review for Strangers