One unalterable, life-shattering moment a catastrophic boat-ferry collision propels Julia Bechtel and Noah Prine to explore the nature of their lives, and brings them together, in Barbara Delinsky's stellar novel, The Summer I Dared. Julia's planned vacation on Big Sawyer Island becomes a journey of self-discovery as she re-evaluates her relationship with her philandering husband and her bitter estrangement from her parents. When her daughter Molly and then her father come to the island unexpectedly, Julia finally rebels against the perfect, obedient roles she has lived for years. Attraction to Noah, a lobsterman who wrestles with his own personal failures, gives Julia the courage to move away literally, to Noah's retreat, and emotionally, from the entangling family ties that have inhibited her own self-identity for years. Delinsky writes with the unstinting clarity of a master about the painful, exhilarating relationships that tug at people who are given the opportunity to take risks in their previously routine lives. Delinsky delivers a superb story that's both enriching and irresistible.

Sandy Huseby reviews from Fargo, North Dakota, and northern Minnesota.

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