Diana K. Perkins
Shetucket Hollow Press (2015)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (11/15)
Article first published as Book Review: ‘Summer Ice: My Life at the Bidwell’ by Diana K. Perkins on Blogcritics.
“Summer Ice” by Diana K. Perkins is the story of Millicent Submit White. Growing up at the Bidwell House in the 1890s was not easy. The whole family had to work really hard to keep the guests in the inn well cared for. The property itself was large and required a lot of maintenance. For Millicent, this all seemed very normal, even if she did get a lot of extra work placed on her shoulders. Half of her siblings worked well with her and the other half were mean spirited and just out for themselves. When Millicent was a teen she discovered a huge secret about herself and her true purpose in her family. This secret had a huge effect on how her siblings related to her. It created some very complicated situations.
After a ball for Millicent’s sister, it seems like the family just falls apart overnight. Discovering that her father could no longer make mortgage payments, the Bidwell House is taken over by another family. Millicent’s parents decide to leave her behind to work at the inn to help the new family adjust. They were also trying to punish her for something that she had no control over. This decision really caused Millicent’s life to take a turn for the worse. Treated like a slave, the conniving family tried to work her to the bone. As time passes, Millicent is able to reunite with her family and learn just how badly she has been taken advantage.
Now is Millicent’s time to shine. Taking over the inn and getting engaged are very high up on her list, but she is never fully able to escape from her past and the person who truly holds the key to her heart. Millicent has to figure out which direction holds her future. Does she want to follow her heart and go through some challenging times or just settle for a stable mediocre life?
I really enjoyed the writings of Diana Perkins. She made me feel like I was living in the 1890s and having to deal with the attitudes of that time. Offering pictures and diagrams of the town and the Bidwell House really made the story seem more real.
Overall, I highly recommend “Summer Ice” by Diana K. Perkins. Historical fiction buffs will enjoy taking the trip to Coventry, Connecticut.