Melody Carlson generally writes really good books, but with Once Upon a Summertime, she's missed her mark by just a few inches. Anna Gordon begins the book in her hometown, managing a small motel and butting heads with all of the rest of the staff. She can't come to a meeting of the minds with the owners, and the sharp edges of her tongue are quite evident. When she is fired without a reference, her childhood friend convinces her to apply for a job with a boutique hotel in New York City. At the interview, she is honest with the owner about her last employment and realizes she will not get the management job she wants. On her way out, she uses the restroom and cleans up after two maids who had used it before her. The owner's wife observes what Anna has done and hires her to be the housekeeping staff manager immediately. When the new manager comes in, Anna recognizes him to be a boy she had a crush on in high school, but he's all grown up now.
In some of Melody's books, the protagonists have to overcome conflict with each other and that is the case here as well. Some of the conflicts between Anna and Sean (the manager) are unnecessary and some situations create conflict between Anna and her friend. When it comes to the denouement, I was singularly disappointed. Anna and her friend, Marley, have become roommates, and with Sean's help, Anna has furnished Marley's and her apartment while Marley is out of town which leads to another conflict.
I wish Anna's sharp edges had been softened a bit, that Sean hadn't created so many uncomfortable situations for Anna, and that the "love" that grew between them wasn't so trite. Still the story is enjoyable and most of my criticisms are just my tastes. Four strong Stars.
My thanks to Revell for allowing me to read and review this book.