Remember Summer

Remember Summer

by Elizabeth Lowell

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The most grueling challenge of Raine Smith's equestrian career looms before her—the Olympic Games. Little does she realize that she's about to face greater perils in the arms of a stranger than she's ever found on the back of her horse.

Cord Elliot is a man trained to deflect disaster and his mission is to ensure that Raine Smith remains untouched by sudden gunfire at the Summer Games. Yet from the moment Raine Meets Cord's ice-blue glance, she knows he's more hazardous to her heart than a sniper's bullet. Falling for a man who answers to the call of intrigue and holds secrets that can never be shared is to endure the broken promises, unexplained absences, and constant danger that come with his profession. But in the fiery passion of irresistible love, a summer to remember seems worth any risk.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380767618
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/07/1999
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Lowell's acclaimed suspense novels include the New York Times bestsellers Die in Plain Sight, Moving Target, and Running Scared, as well as the four books featuring the Donovan family, Amber Beach, Jade Island, Pearl Cove, and Midnight in Ruby Bayou. Lowell has more than thirty million books in print. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband, with whom she writes mystery novels under a pseudonym.

Date of Birth:

April 5, 1944

Place of Birth:

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


B. A., University of California, 1966

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Rancho Santa Fe

Rancho Santa Fe's tawny hills rolled gently up from the broad sand beaches of the Pacific Ocean. Many hills wore crowns of expensive houses windows and walls of glass were molten gold in the late--aftemoon light. The cool salt smell of the sea mingled with the scent of wild grass cured by hot southern California days.

A riverbed that rarely held water twisted through dry hills and ravines, eucalyptus trees and granite outcroppings. Patches of the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club's emerald golf course remained along the riverbed, making a startling contrast with the brown hillsides. Manmade obstacles of wood, rock, and water crisscrossed the riverbed and climbed the hills.

It was the obstacles, not the quiet beauty of the land, that held Raine Chandler-Smith's attention.

Yesterday she had marched at the Los Angeles Coliseum, joining the colorful, uniformed ranks of athletes from around the world who had traveled thousands of miles to compete in the Summer

Olvmpics. Yesterday she had been one among thousands surrounded by rippling multicolored flags and dazzling Hollywood-style ceremonies. Yesterday she had been enthralled, humbled, and excited to be part of a tradition that was as old as Western civilization.

Today Raine was alone.

Today she was measuring obstacles that had been created for the sole purpose of testing the skill, stamina, and trust that existed between herself and her horse. The three-day event was to riders what the pentathlon was to traditional athletes-the ultimate test.

Even while her eyes and mind traced the dangerous course, shebreathed in deeply, savoring the strange scents of the land around her. Raised in Virginia and Europe, she found the dryness of a southern California summer both alien and compelling. The combination of odors was clean, haunting, older than civilization or man, as old as hills and sea and sunlight combined.

She looked over the countryside again, then stretched and shifted the weight of her knapsack. The water bottle inside gurgled companionably. When she walked forward, her camera's long lens and binoculars knocked lightly against each other below her breasts. She took a few more steps, winced, and decided it was finally time to remove the pebble from her hiking shoe.

With a supple, easy movement she balanced on one foot while she removed one shoe and probed for the pebble that had been abusing her arch. She made a graceful line as she stood there like a beige flamingo at rest, but she would have been the last person to describe herself as graceful.

When she had been eleven years old and just becoming aware of herself as a woman, she was five feet, seven and three--quarters inches of angular female who despaired of ever being as at ease on the ground as she was on a horse's back. Because the picture in her mirror never seemed to change, no matter what efforts she made to be more like her gorgeous older sisters, Raine had stopped looking in the mirror. Instead, she concentrated on the one thing she was good at, the thing she had been born to do.

She rode horses over jumps that were taller and much harder than she was.

At twenty-seven, Raine was lithe and gently curved. She had a woman's smooth strength and the poise of a rider who regularly entered and won world-class competitions. Yet she still thought of herself as a little awkward and relentlessly average in looks. Medium brownish hair, medium brownish eyes, and medium brownish figure was the way she summed up herself when she thought about it.

Raine rarely thought about it anymore. She had spent too much of her youth trying to be as beautiful and as accomplished as her much older siblings. She had failed.

A gawky brown hen simply couldn't compete with the pair of tawny swans who were her sisters. One of them was a partner in a powerful law firm and a senator's wife. The other sister was a leading lady on Broadway. Her two older brothers were also successful. One was a diplomat and the other a neurosurgeon.

When Raine was five, she pleaded and demanded and persisted until her parents gave her riding lessons. After that, life became easier for the whole family. Riding was an elegant solution to the problem of what to do with Baby Lorraine. Or Raine, as she insisted on being called, as soon as she realized that her given name was "secondhand."

Horses gave her a way to be first.

There was an elemental rapport between her and the big animals. Horses were her life's work and love. When she was riding, she forgot to feel awkward and inadequate. She merged herself with the rhythms of her horse and the demands of the jumps. There was a fantastic exhilaration in flying over fences and obstacles on the back of her huge blood-bay stallion. Only then was she wholly free, wholly alive, wholly herself.

"But if I don't get to work instead of daydreaming," she told herself as she retied her shoe, "I'll end up flat on my back in the dirt, instead of flying over jumps. The cross-country part of this endurance event looks rougher than anything I've ever taken Dev over."

Picking up the binoculars again, she focused on the dry riverbed twisting along the base of the hill. After a few minutes she pulled a pad out of her rucksack, sketched in the line of river and hills, and scuffed at the ground beneath her feet. Nothing gave beneath her prodding toe.

She bent and yanked at a handful of grass until some of it pulled free. Beneath the thatch of tight, incredibly tough roots, the ground was rough and dry. It was made up of tight clods of clay and small stones. She sifted out some of the pebbles and kept them in her left hand, fiddling with them as she tried to absorb the reality of the ground through touch as well as sight and smell.

Remember Summer. Copyright © by Elizabeth Lowell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Andrea Barrett

In this richly layered love story, Barbara Esstman reminds us of the power of first attachments, and the peril of leaving them behind. -- Author of National Book Award-winner Ship Fever

Susan Richards Shreve

There are not many wonderful American love stories, but Barbara Esstman's Night Ride Home is one of them. -- Author of The Visiting Physician.

Geena Rizzo

"An extraordinary, beautiful, and original love story presented in such a way as to guarantee an unforgettable reading experience...This masterful achievement by a relative newcomer heralds a new writing sensation for the twenty-first century."

Carolyn Banks

"Simply and wonderfully told."

Cathy Sova

"A gripping novel about love, loss, and betrayal... I highly recommend Night Ride Home. Nora will linger in your thoughts for a long time to come."

Reading Group Guide

Plot Summary
Set in a small town outside of St. Louis shortly after World War II, Night Ride Home is the story of a family coming to terms with the death of its eldest child, Simon. Simon's mother Nora boards and trains horses on a farm inherited from her grandmother, though Nora's husband Neal resents her passion for them. After Simon is killed in a riding accident, Neal shoots the horse that Simon was riding. The horse was Nora's favorite--a beautiful and spirited Arabian. Neal then sends the rest of the horses away, and tries to sell the farm. When Nora refuses to leave, Neal moves to Chicago and takes their daughter Clea with him. Neal seeks to define the life Nora will take up in the wake of Simon's death. But another man, Nora's teenage love, Ozzie, returns to the farm in an attempt to help Nora piece together a life of her own choosing.

In five alternating voices, Night Ride Home examines both the bitter grief and the binding love of the extended Mahler family. Neal's voice rationalizes his desire to control his family. Nora's voice stumbles through the maze of her sorrow. Clea, the daughter, walks a fine line between her parents. Nora's mother, Maggie, examines decisions made in her own her life. And, finally, the ranch hand Ozzie opens his battle-weary heart to love.

Topics for Discussion
1. Simon Mahler's grandmother Maggie laments: "A child should not die before his parents. A terrible disorder was at large in the world." But Simon's death creates a "disorder" that goes beyond the tragedy inherent in the loss of a child. In many ways, Simon was the hub that connected the characters who narrate the novel. What didSimon mean to the other characters?

2. The novel reveals a variety of responses to grief. The townspeople admire Neal for his restrained response to Simon's death, and shake their heads at Nora's "hysterics." But experts tell us that an emotional response to loss is a normal, healthy response. Contrast how Neal and Nora respond to Simon's death. Are there "right" and "wrong" ways to grieve? What are they?

3. When the tragedy occurs, Clea is a girl on the brink of becoming a woman. She retreats to her room and both literally and figuratively attempts to disappear. What has been modeled for her by the women in her life? Does she repeat or rebel against what she has seen?

4. While some experts contend that electroshock therapy has been used effectively to control depression, Esstman's research revealed that shock therapy was also used during the time period of Night Right Home on women deemed too independent by their husbands. What do you think was behind Neal's decision to subject Nora to shock therapy--a desire to help Nora or to subdue her independence? What responses to "undesirable behavior" occur today?

5. Ozzie was wounded in W.W.II and spent years wandering. He tells us that he "had dreams a lot, about dead men that I believed I could have saved." Today we might say that a veteran like Ozzie suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome. How does the war appear to have affected Ozzie in ways of which even he is not aware?

6. Farm life is tied closely to the natural cycle of the seasons. The four sections of the novel correspond to the four seasons--spring through winter. What happens in each season? Do the events of each season reflect our common notions of spring, summer, fall and winter?

7. Late in the novel, Nora breaks down in Ozzie's truck after he has brought her to see an Arabian filly, Malaak. Why does Ozzie bring her back to talk to the filly's owner? What is he asking her to do? How is this the turning point of the novel for Nora?

8. Quotations from Chilean poet Pablo Neruda precede each section of the book. How do the epigraphs reflect the events and the themes of the novel?

9. Five characters take turns narrating the chapters of this book. Esstman has said that these are "all characters who have buried part of the truth." What do various characters see that others have "buried"? How would this novel be changed if it had a single narrator?

About the Author
Barbara Esstman was born in Carroll, Iowa, and grew up in St. Charles, Missouri. Like her character Nora in Night Ride Home, Esstman broke off a relationship at age nineteen to a young man who went off to war. Decades after her former boyfriend returned from Vietnam, Esstman reconnected with him. Much of her character Ozzie--his love of horses, his battle scars, and his long silence--Esstman says she learned from his real-life model. The book's dedication, "To 'Naldo from Rosie," refers to this relationship. "The novel," says Esstman, "is true in the deepest sense, though Oz and Nora are invented out of air and exist on a farm that never was."

After graduating from St. Louis University, Esstman taught high school English. During the years that her three children were young, she left teaching and the family moved frequently. For the last 15 years, Esstman has lived outside Washington, DC in Oakton, Virginia. Today she teaches occasionally but devotes most of her time to writing. Her three children come home often and fill the house with friends and pets.

Esstman's first novel, The Other Anna, was published in 1993 and was adapted for a television movie, Secrets. She is now at work on her third novel.

A Note from the Author:
The first image of what would become Night Ride Home was of a woman very alone in the center of Missouri farmland with something of death around her. I didn't know her, nor why she was paralyzed by grieving. I wouldn't suspect for two years that she might fall in love. But I did recognize the place: St. Charles, the small town outside of St. Louis where I grew up. The town of St. Charles was transformed into the place of the novel, Lacote--built on low hills along the Missouri River and surrounded by farmland, much of which was on flood plain. One of my earliest and most powerful memories is standing with my father on a day in 1953 when the river was so high that it overran the river's steep bank.

Rivers and floods, whether real or imagined, shape those people who live with them. While some humans are arrogant enough to believe they can control whatever they put their minds to, floods give a lesson in humility and respect for forces greater than our own.

When the land begins to reappear after a flood, we see it piece by piece, the way we do the parts of an answer to a problem we are working out. Or the scenes of a novel being written. Nora, the woman in Night Ride Home, has to try to rebuild her life bit by bit after the death of her son, a death she can no more stop than the Missouri River that floods her land.

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Remember Summer 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a good book. The romance happens too fast-but the book's redeemed by the incredible writing of the Olympic compititon,I felt like I was riding along with Raine!
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Editorial review is for a different book
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Normally I love E. Lowell's books and can't wait for the next one to come out, but Remember Summer was a disappointment. Dull, boring and unbelievable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My first foray into romance novels in 20 years. The 'plot' was shallow as were the characters. Only redeeming value was the steamy intimacy. Not remotely believable as a love relationship.