I think that “Cicada Summer” by Maureen Leurck is a novel about hope, love, perseverance, starting over, and second chances at life. In more ways than one, Ms. Leurck gives the reader a glimpse at obstacles that can be overcome and the endurance to find other ways to succeed.
Alex Proctor is a single mom, sharing her daughter with the father, Matt on every other weekend and designated custody days. She is providing for her daughter by renovating old houses into homes anyone would love to live in. This last home that she purchased has no limit on problems and unseen structural disintegration. I love to watch the Reno shows that are so prevalent now and found that this book capitalized on this popular theme of these shows. This house comes alive as we find out more and more about past inhabitants. Can she use this same stubbornness to make her life right again? Can she begin to start a new life without constantly thinking of her ex-husband?
Of course, the title has something to do with the theme of the novel. Cicadas lives are in a seventeen year cycle. Every seventeen years cicadas come out of their hibernating grounds, cover the area with their sounds and bodies until they mate, lay the eggs and die. The eggs hatch and the nymphs burrow underground to feed on plant roots. They re-emerge after another seventeen year to start the cycle all over again. I would say that the comparison to
Alex’s life is the stubbornness, hope and renewal that the cicada experience brings to the dedication to starting over again.
I thought the characters were very real and that Ms. Leurck did a wonderful job of tying up all the threads that ran through the novel. I would recommend this book highly.
In this moving, witty novel, author Maureen Leurck explores the intricacies and joys of renovation and rediscovery—as one woman’s improvement project promises to transform much more than a home . . .
People keep a house alive, not the other way around. Alex Proctor has seen the truth of this in every empty, rundown property she’s bought and renovated since her divorce almost three years ago. She’s also experienced the thrill of making each one into a home. Her newest project is a dilapidated,
century-old house just a few blocks from Geneva Lake, Wisconsin. Time and neglect, along with rats and raccoons, have ravaged it inside and out. Only Alex can see the beauty of what it once was and might become again. In just a few weeks—by the time the cicadas make their scheduled reappearance after seventeen years underground—the house should be ready to sell. In the meantime, there are construction disasters, and surprises, to contend with.
Amid overgrown grounds and rooms brimming with debris, Alex finds treasures—pocket doors, hardwood floors hidden beneath layers of linoleum and grime—and carved initials that reveal a long-ago love story involving Alex’s elderly neighbor, Elsie, and another cicada summer. At the same time, Alex finds herself searching for a way to reconcile her new life with lingering feelings for her ex-husband. For so long she felt sure that moving on was the only option, but maybe this house, and everything she’s learning in it, could give Alex room for a second chance . . .