Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I married the right brother.
At least that’s what I tell myself at night, when I stare at the ceiling and listen to the rhythm of the grandfather clock down the hall. It never feels like the mere passage of time, but a countdown towards something inevitable.
Bobby Lightly is selfish, irresponsible, and careless. I haven’t seen him since the day I married his brother. He slipped out during the wedding reception without a word.
A year later, I heard Bobby was drafted to Korea. He never said goodbye. Never sent a letter. We had all come to terms with the fact that he was probably dead somewhere, either a victim of the war or its aftermath.
That is, until in the midst of an unrelenting heatwave, he showed up at the doorstep of the house I lived in with his brother.
Everyone thinks I’m cruel. Everyone thinks I should be easy on him. They think I don’t understand him. They all think I hate him.
But what no one understands is that it was Bobby who broke my heart.
And I think he’s back to do it again.
This year I’ve been buddy reading through The Huffington Post’s Oh, You Little Heartbreaker! The Ultimate List of Ugly Cry Novels with some Goodreads friends. We’re tackling one each month and this month’s pick was Swelter.
Swelter takes place in 1950’s and is told from Lilly Lightly’s point of view. Lilly is an unhappy housewife trying make it through the sweltering summer months of 1957. Life with her childhood sweetheart Rory is nothing like she thought it would be. There’s a friction between the two that the rising summer heat is exacerbating. The return of Rory’s “dead” brother Bobby only makes things worse.
On the surface, it would seem that Lilly hates Bobby. He left Rory and Lilly when they needed him the most. But deep down, there’s more to Lilly’s anger than anyone knows. When Bobby left, he took the happiest pieces of her with him. His return from has only confirmed to Lilly what she always knew: She married the wrong Lightly. Now, Lilly is forced once again to choose between the two brothers who love her.
Swelter was a bit of a surprise to me. I didn’t realize that it was a historical romance before I started it. I really enjoyed the time frame of the story and how it shaped the love triangle between Lilly and the Lightly brothers. I was surprised at how sexy parts of it were for the era. I just imagined all sexual relationships were more demure in that time. Guess I was wrong. 😉
Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was the way the story was written. I didn’t like that the love triangle was between two brothers or that it involved cheating, but I thought the author made the choice of who to root for easy. One brother always outshone the other. I also loved the twists and turns I wasn’t expecting near the end.
Overall, Swelter was a really good book. The writing was exceptional and the storyline was addicting. I read the entire book in one day. I would recommend Swelter to readers who enjoy a heart wrenching historical romance and don’t mind cheating.