In July 1934, Lavinia, a governess, agrees to share a charming cottage in Dorset with her divorced cousin Phoebe. On holiday Lavinia can write fiction, Phoebe a talented artist can paint, or they can be idle.
Their kind landlord and his son, James, are gentlemen farmers who can trace their ancestry back to the Plantagenets. Usually, men are attracted to vivacious Phoebe not quiet Lavinia, but not James who can offer her a secure future.
The first time the cousins visit the beach a naked man with a scarred back walks towards them from the sea. Fate crosses Lavinia’s path with the traumatized army officer who survived the first world war and has nothing to offer her.
Lavinia cannot stop thinking about the recluse and longs to get to know him. As the saying goes, ‘the heart has its reasons’.
A Dorset Summer is a lyrical, poignant novel with unforgettable, believable major and minor characters which I recommend without reservation.