Book Review – the Summer Guest by Justin Cronin (2003)

Anyone who has ever vacationed at a mountain resort will enjoy this story. Joe Crosby inherited the Crosby Camp from his father, and he and his wife Lucy and their daughter work diligently to accommodate their guests, many of whom are yearly regulars who come to fish, swim and hike through the beautiful mountain countryside.

Harry Wainwright is one regular guest who has been coming to the resort for 30 years. Harry is an extremely wealthy man whose first wife Meredith passed away and the Crosby Camp is a place where he can find solace from his loss.

We learn a great deal from flashbacks even though some significant details are left until the last chapter. Early on, Joe’s father, a decorated veteran of World War II, talked Joe into being a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War and aided him in crossing the border into Canada to escape imprisonment. The Feds did catch up with Joe eventually because he made secret trips to see his then girlfriend Lucy and his father.

Joe Sr. was running the Camp at that time with the help of Lucy. Harry Wainwright’s arrival was always welcomed by the owner and even 22-year-old Lucy who was attracted to the handsome and gallant older man whom everyone adored. Harry eventually married again, a nondescript lady named Frances who was a big help to Harry later in his declining years.

When Joe was finally released from prison and returned to help his own aging father with the Camp, Lucy was there to greet him with their daughter Kate who was born to them during Joe Jr.’s time in Canada when he would manage to see Lucy on the sly.

We then flash forward the time when Kate is a college girl and is attracted to young Jordan who has helped both Joe’s over the years and knows the Camp inside out. Jordan returns her admiration but does not let it be known since she is the owner’s daughter.

And where does Harry Wainwright fit into this picture? Joe Jr. has wanted to sell the camp because it is a great deal of work and profits have become very slim. Harry offers Joe twice as much as the Camp is actually worth but does not want it for himself.

If you wish to put together the pieces which fall nicely into place at the end, you must read The Summer Guest to find out the recipient of Harry Wainwright’s largesse and why. You will feel as though you spent a beautiful summer in an idyllic setting with good friends whom you have grown to know intimately.


The Summer Guest by Justin Cronin (2003)

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