Bess, a Welsh Collie sheepdog is old and ailing. Jack, her owner, has decided it is time to put her down. His young son, Henry, in trying to prevent this, causes the gun to go off injuring Jack. Believing that he is responsible for his father’s death, Henry runs away, taking Bess with him. Thus begins what could turn out to be the last day of Henry’s young life.
The setting is a hill farm on the border between England and Wales on a summer day in 1947. The story follows Henry’s increasingly desperate attempts to evade capture and the inept and amateurish efforts of family and neighbours to find him and explain that his father’s injuries are not life-threatening and that no one holds him responsible.
Each member of the family has his or her own fears and worries for the future and these influence their behaviour throughout the long sultry day as storm clouds gather. Henry’s older brother, Cecil, wants to have a bigger say in the management of the farm; like his mother, his sister Margery is preoccupied with planning her forthcoming marriage. His aunts too have problems that demand attention.
Assorted professionals have their own distorted view of the family and of Henry: the family Doctor, the district nurse, the vicar, the schoolteacher. Henry meanwhile faces an increasing number of setbacks and injuries, which lead him to make a near-fatal decision. Rescue finally comes from a surprising quarter.
Summer Day is a real slice of post-war country charm, with so many interesting characters, all busy living their lives, unaware of the drama surrounding one small boy and his dog. A boy with problems, who acts rashly on impulse and cannot cope with what he thinks is the outcome. The author drops the reader into the drama right at the beginning and you barely have time to catch your breath before the building tension takes it away again.
The author has such a lovely writing style, so detailed and descriptive and I loved the idea of giving the characters their own chapters, it kept the tension moving forward and let you become a part of their lives.
Such a beautifully sad story and one I heartily recommend. The author manages to put you inside the mind of a terrified boy, and you feel every emotion with him.
Frank is a retired Engineer. He spent most of his working life in England where he was employed by UK based multi-national companies. He always wanted to write, but has only found the freedom to do so since retiring to Ireland in October 2006. He lives with Freda, his wife since 1963, in Stradbally, County Laois.
He has four novels published on Amazon:
Honest Hearts is about the lives of Irish migrants to North America around the turn of the 19th/20th centuries. With settings that range from the Irish countryside to the Alaskan gold rush, via Brooklyn and Dawson City, Canada, this romantic tale reaches its climax in Chicago during the “Red Riots” of the summer of 1919.
Summer Day offers a contrast, with the action set during a single day and within the confines of a small rural community during the long hot summer of 1947. Feel the tension rise with the temperature and humidity as storm clouds gather. Suffer with young Henry and his dog as he tries desperately to evade his pursuers. The events of this Summer Day will change him for ever. Reading about them will change you.
You can find Frank here, and I’m sure he’d love to see you!