Summer’s Child by Luanne Rice

Summer’s Child by Luanne Rice: A Book-Inspired Adventure

Summer’s Child by Luanne Rice

Summer’s Child by Luanne Rice was more than just a compelling read for me. It has inspired my first book-inspired adventure. As I wrote in my last postSummer’s Child is set in Nova Scotia and my family and I was set to take a trip there. A full book tour post in Nova Scotia, I promised, would follow. Alas, a ferry that would not sail diverted our plans. We found out too late that the ferry wouldn’t be running and couldn’t make alternate travel arrangements. Travel bloggers, we are not. Or I’ll be the travel blogger that makes lots of mistakes that you can learn from. Yup! 1000%

I was disappointed at first but then I thought about using the book to inspire a little adventure even if the location wasn’t the same as the book’s setting. I posed my idea to my parents and then immediately took it back, telling them that I didn’t want to cause “forced family fun.” My father immediately put those fears aside and assured me that they both wanted to do this with me. So a book-inspired adventure was born.

But first…a little bit about the lovely book I read…

Book Review of Summer’s Child

Summer’s Child by Luanne Rice is a tale about strong women, mothers, daughters, friends…they all fiercely support and protect one another. At the start of the story, we learn about a mysterious disappearance of young Mara Jameson, an expectant mother that just vanished from her garden one day. Her grandmother and a detective are left with a case never solved, nine years later still wondering what happened. We also don’t know what to make of Mara’s husband.

The story then takes us to Nova Scotia where Lily Malone is living with her daughter, nine-year-old Rose. It seems like Lily is escaping the past but the same goes for another female character in the book, Marisa. Coincidentally, Marisa also has a nine-year-old daughter, Jessica, who becomes best friends with Rose. Both women seem to be running from something but they take comfort in the close-knit community of women they’ve bonded with, the “sisterhood.”

Don’t worry ladies because of course there’s also a very sweet and handsome man in this story by the name of Liam Neill. Liam is an oceanographer who has his own tragic past and mainly keeps to himself. However, there is something between him, Lily, and her daughter. What could it be? I was dying to know!

Thoughts on Summer’s Child

Summer’s Child had a slow build for me but once it worked its way into my heart, I fell in love with it. Luanne Rice sets the scene beautifully. Capturing all five senses, she paints her world with rising rock cliffs, gardens of roses, zinnias, and marigolds. We smelled the scent of pine and felt the “relentless” sea winds. We heard the sounds of ship traffic, bells, horns, and seagulls. In a light-hearted moment, we even tasted a “home-cooked” dinner consisting of a grilled cheese sandwich, pickles, and barbecue potato chips.

Summer’s Child, while beautiful, also is a gripping story that includes suspense and tension. We worry about Lily, Rose, Marisa, and Jessica. We take comfort in the fact that the sisterhood has their backs and of course there’s Liam. Oh Liam! What a guy!

I loved this book. Definitely recommend it. I’m currently reading the next book in the series, Summer of Roses, and enjoying that one too.

To learn more about Summer’s Child and more about Luanne Rice’s books, you can head to her website at

*Trigger warning* Abusive relationships

Book-Inspired Adventure

I feel like the turn of events with Nova Scotia, while it may have been a bummer for me and my family, I think it’s actually a positive thing for my blog. When you read a book, you may dream of going to the setting, but due to life circumstances, can’t jet off on a plane to the setting. The book itself takes us to the setting and can help us feel like we are going on an adventure right from the comfort of our own homes. The last thing I’d want to do with my blog is to make someone feel bad they can’t jet off to the book’s setting. So how about letting the book inspire you from wherever you are?

My family and I have a home base in the summertime in New Hampshire, which is just a couple hours from Maine. In Summer’s Child, Lily celebrates Rose’s birthday on a whale-watching cruise. One particular whale, Nanny, a beluga and beloved by Rose, figures prominently throughout the book. The way the Nanny storyline is woven throughout the book, as an animal lover, tugged at my heartstrings and had me reaching for the tissues.

I knew what we had to do…

CAP’n FISH’s Whale Watch

Summer’s Child by Luanne Rice

We went to Boothbay Harbor in Maine and took Cap’n Fish’s four-hour Puffin/Whale combo cruise. I was pumped! Cute penguin looking birds and whales! I felt as excited as little Rose when she went on her whale watching cruise. Would we see Nanny!? I hoped so!

Summer’s Child by Luanne Rice
And dogs are allowed!!! This ship is made for me!

Before we get on our ride, I want to let you all know that Boothbay Harbor is an adorable little area filled with cute shops and restaurants. Okay? You’re welcome.

Summer’s Child by Luanne Rice
Picture was taken by my papa.

I’ll share more about Boothbay Harbor and our whale watching cruise on my Instagram, especially in my stories and I’ll be sure to create a story highlight called “Maine.” When you head there, you’ll see I already have a couple of posts from Maine. Follow me @literary_dates.

On the Boat

Summer’s Child by Luanne Rice

Before embarking on the boat, I asked a worker where would the best spot be for viewing? He told me the top deck, so that’s where we went.

We lucked out with the weather. 70 degrees and sunny! My father warned us that we would need a jacket or something warm to wear on the boat. I thought long jeans and my sweatshirt would suffice. While we sat on the top deck, waiting to start, with the sun beating down on us, my mom and I both felt hot! We thought we were overdressed. Soon enough we learned that Papa knows best!

Our whale watching tour guide

Our tour guide showed us pictures of all the birds we would get to see and shared little tidbits about them. Like how seabirds called terns can be angry little jerks (not his exact words). When the scientists are out doing their research (like on an island in the picture below)they have to wear flowers on top of their hats. The angry terns always aim towards the highest point, so as they make their attack, instead of attacking the scientists’ heads, they ruffle the flowers. Yikes!

Boothbay Harbor, Maine

The helpful tour guide filled our heads with knowledge about sea life and with enthusiasm, pointed out all the birds and sea creatures that passed us. The location of the animal was determined by mapping out each part of the boat as a position on a clock. For instance, the front of the boat was the 12 O’Clock position, back of the boat, 6 O’Clock, left side, 9 O’Clock, and so on and so forth. We saw all sorts of seabirds (including puffins), saw some sunfish…but did we see any whales? Before going on the cruise, they warn that they can’t guarantee whales. If you don’t see a whale, they offer a free tour the next day if that fits with your schedule. That’s what they told my father on the phone. The website says you can get standby tickets for another cruise.

Cross your fingers for some whales!!

Dog! 9 O’Clock!!!

A dog on our whale watching cruise in Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Another pic taken by my papa. I got to meet this pup and let him sniff my hand.

But what about the whales? Let’s look some more…

Summer’s Child by Luanne Rice
I see boats! OMG!! Boats on the water!! Amazing!

Okay, I will stop jerking you all around because WE DID GET TO SEE WHALES!!!!!!!

We saw some cute old Minke whales!

Just look at this guy!

Minke Whale

Minke whales are small whales and according to our guide, they don’t have a spout and when they come above the water, we won’t get to see their flipper like in “Free Willy.” They won’t jump out of the water like Willy but they were still fun to see.

I found the whale watching cruise pretty exciting and even relaxing. The tour guide yells out where he has spotted the whale, we run to that area and see the whale above the water for a few moments before he dives back under. Then, the whole boat gets quiet and waits in anticipation for her to come back above water. Kinda cool!

Before we got to the whales’ feeding ground (the place they’d most likely be spotted), my father had a good idea for us to go to the lower deck to get a closer view. I’m so glad we did! On the upper deck, it’s easier to get to all sides of the boat, but we were able to spot all the whales from the lower deck at the front of the ship. The captain also steers the front of the ship towards where the whales were spotted. I loved when that big boat tried to make fast, sharp turns! Fun fun!

I’ll have videos from our whale watching adventure! You’ll get to see the whales and other sea creatures in action. More shall be revealed on Instagram @literary_dates.

Summer’s Child by Luanne Rice
Check out my pine cone necklace!

Side note: I bought this necklace in Portland, Maine from a guy selling them on the street. I couldn’t believe my luck because a character in Summer’s Child actually made jewelry out of pine cones. It’s a very sweet storyline in the book. I love my necklace! Get your own here: They are less expensive on the street but they are beautiful pieces and are “sustainably wild gathered.” More info on their website about the process.

Also, don’t let this picture fool you…I just wanted you all to see my cute yellow shirt. Otherwise, I had my sweatshirt on zipped ALL the way up!

And how about that fab hat!? Get yours at

Things to Remember (on a Cap’n Fish’s whale watching cruise)

  • Warm clothes – I was wishing that I had long sleeves on under my sweatshirt. A windbreaker would have been smart. Live & learn!
  • Binoculars! My father and I shared a pair. It would have been better to have my own and I would have practiced using them before going. It takes practice and good aim to spot a tiny flying bird with binoculars.
  • Sit on the upper deck, in the beginning, to hear the tour guide best and to get his instructions along with his knowledge on sea life.
  • I suggest moving to the lower deck at the front of the ship to get the best view of the whales
  • On the lower deck, you can take breaks from the cold wind by sitting in the interior of the boat.
  • Don’t expect to see Free Willy flipping around and doing tricks for you. That’s Sea World.
  • Dogs allowed!!🐶🐶🐶

That’s all from my book-inspired adventure. Thanks for coming along! Have you ever been on a book-inspired adventure? Or have you tried out an activity because of a book? Because of Lily’s needlework shop in Summer’s Child, I might look for a needlework class…we shall see!

Reminder…don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for more from our whale-watching cruise and Maine.


Thanks again for reading!

Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. This was SUCH a great post! Seriously love how you turned around a disappointing situation into an amazing book tour 🙂

    Okay so HOW COOL was it that you saw a whale?! Aaahh in person, it’s magical. I was driving along the Oregon coast years ago and had to stop for a bathroom break. The rest area happened to be on a cliff by the ocean and I saw a freaking humpback whale swimming along, surface, blowing air through its blowhole, and it even jumped out of the water. It was freaking amazing! One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen 🙂

    This tour looks so fun! And how perfect that they let you have dogs on the boat haha! And OMG you look stunning in that photo! Like a professional book tour/blogger/Instagrammer 😉 And gorgeous pics as usual! Can’t wait for the next tour!

    1. Thank you SO much for reading it!
      What an unbelievably beautiful moment you had! A truly serendipitous moment! I can’t imagine how incredible that must have been. Amazing! Isn’t it amazing to think about the whole world going on under the ocean? I can’t fathom just how enormous and full of life it is.

      Hahaha!! A professional blogger/instagrammer!😂 Do I look ridiculous? You can tell me!😉🤣

      Thank you again for all your amazing support!! Love ya!!❤️

  2. A jewelry motif?! All my five sense will be captivated?? I love the sound of that! This trip looks like such fun; I love being anywhere by the sea, so this draws me in straight away. I have yet to go whale watching in my life, (wait a minute, I might have been taken by my parents when I was very, very young, not quite sure :’)), but this makes me want to go even more! These pictures are gorgeous too xx

    1. It was pretty jewelry made out of pine cones! And yes, that’s in the book! The author really did capture all five senses. She really puts you in the setting! It was a slow build but I think the slower pace helped to feel the setting more.
      Aww I saw lots of kids on the boat! You definitely should go as an adult too. It’s fun. I’d like to do another one one day where I could see different types of whales. Belugas? Humpbacks! That would be amazing!

      Thank you so much for reading my post! I appreciate the support!😊

  3. Um, since I already have the hat in my life, I now need to have this shirt in my life. Where did you get it? It’s so cute!

    OMG, that picture of you is AMAZING! Please send it to me, if you don’t mind.

    I love that you got to see some whales! Isn’t it an amazing experience? I literally cried when I saw dolphins. So happy you got to take this adventure. It may not be a cruise, but I’ll take it!

    Summer’s Child sounds like a book that would literally suck me right in because hello, what happened to the Mara Jameson?! Do they ever find out? Also, I’ll take a grilled cheek sandwich to read with the book.

    Great post! Love all the tips,

    1. The shirt is cute! I told you on Twitter but for anyone who may stumble upon this comment…I thought I got it at Old Navy but the tag says W5. I might have gotten it at TJ Max but I’m not sure.😢 When you google W5, their site shows similar shirts that would be perfect for Fall!😍

      Thank you so much! I was happy how those pics turned out. I think I sent it to you already. Let me know if I didn’t.

      Ocean life is incredible! I want to do it again on a smaller boat. Our boat was a good size though and the lower deck had prime views. Dolphins would be sooo sweet to see! I’d love that!!

      Haha! You’ll have to read to find out about Mara.🤔😉 Yummm I love grilled cheese!

      Thank you for reading!! I think I probably stole your bullet point tips style so thank you for that!

  4. Yeah! Seeing whales is always incredible! What was it like seeing a sunfish?! I heard they are gigantic! Summer’s Child sounds like a great book! I need to give it a read! Also, I love all of the pictures of the water you took!

    1. The sunfish was a cutie! Did you see him on my Instagram story? If not I can totally share the video with you. I’m also going to create a Maine Story highlight soon on Instagram.
      I loved the book! It was a lovely story and you get invested in the characters. Thank you for checking out my post! Glad you liked it!!

  5. Love, love, love this post! With a passion! The pictures and descriptions are so enticing! I am so excited to visit there now! And to see whales! What a dream! Can’t wait to read the book now.

    1. Thank you SO much Dee! I really appreciate the support! So glad you liked it! The book was a really nice read and I had a fun time in that boat! Maine is beautiful! I want to go back and explore more.

  6. OMG that portrait of you is AMAZING!!!!!! You look fab and that is a great picture that needs to be used for everything ASAP. Of course, I love the hat, and we will have to twin it soon.

    I am a *little* bummed that your Nova Scotia trip didn’t happen, but you seem to have made a wine slushie out of smushed grapes. Your new adventure sounds just as fun and you saw cute dogs, birds, and mammals! No Free Willy anywhere because SeaWorld is legit not a good place these days; I won’t get too political here lol.

    Summer’s Child sounds like a great book for me because I love stories about strong women and the relationships amongst them.

    I’ve only seen whales from the shore so this seems even cooler. Boats make me pretty sick (Kathy hears this endlessly on her cruise posts lol), which means that the lower deck would be best for me anyway.

    Glad you had a fab replacement literary date. Hope you are enjoying the holiday weekend too!

    1. Thank you!! Really? You think I should use that one? I feel like I need a better NYC one. I do like this picture though minus the shadow and my necklace bulge that probably only I notice. Now you won’t be able to unsee it either. I’m wearing 2 necklaces in this picture but one is under my shirt. Argh! I need to pull it out!!😉

      I know. I’m sad it didn’t work out either. It was a big surprise. In my family’s history of going on trips together- China, Argentina/Brazil, Cancun, Yellowstone, etc. – nothing like this has ever happened. Oh well!
      Haha I’m all for your political views on Seaworld. I’m totally against that place too. I went there circa 2008 and I still feel bad about it. I was newly vegetarian at that time (not that you need to be vegetarian to care obvi) and I guess I didn’t think about it much back then. I also definitely would never swim with dolphins unless I guess if they’re in the wild? But anyways…

      I really liked Summer’s Child. I thought it was a beautiful, relaxing read although filled with lots of tense moments. It’s an oxymoron.

      Aww I’m sorry boats make you sick! That is no fun. Does Dramamine help at all? I’ve never been seasick so I have no idea.

      Thank you so much for reading my post and being such a great support! I love your comments!

  7. I don’t know why, but growing up my parents always wanted to go on a whale watching cruise and I thought it would be the most boring thing ever! Now…I want to go on one 🙂 Love the helpful pictures the tour guide was holding up haha! Agree with the other commenters that the pictures are amazing!! Love your yellow shirt!

    1. Haha! Well, when I was a kid, anything my parents suggested, would have automatically been considered boring to me.🤷🏻‍♀️ Next time, I would probably just do a whale watching cruise because the birds were too tiny to really see. One time, I was able to make out the cute little Puffin feet but it was a fleeting moment.
      I would also LOVE to do whale watching on a smaller boat. I want to get up close & personal!
      Thank you so much for reading my post!! Glad you liked it!😊

  8. Wow. Just wow! What a beautiful trip! I want to visit Nova Scotia. I just bet the visit brought the book to life. Summer’s Child sounds like a great read…with a slow start, it would be hard for me to stick with. That pine cone necklace connection! I will be saving $ for one of my own. A visit would be far better though. Hum!

    1. Hey you!! Thanks for visiting and reading my post! I’m glad you liked it!
      I hear what you’re saying about the slow start. I think after I really got into it, I appreciated the slow build more. It set the tone and made me feel more invested in the characters. I think it also helped to set the scene and create that world.
      Are you really going to get a pine cone necklace!? I love that! I’ve been wearing mine a lot. I love it!
      If you want to find it in person, you’ll have to find the guy selling them on the street in Portland, Maine outside of The Holy Donut. Eat some yummy donuts and buy a pretty necklace!😉😍

  9. That’s awesome that this inspired your first book-inspired adventure! :D! I went on a wildlife tour in Channel Islands National Park and saw dolphins + lots of different birds + sea lions, but no whales! Hopefully someday! 😀 That’s awesome that you got to see sunfish in the wild–I’ve only ever seen them in an aquarium (they are so derpy-lookin’, haha). I’m definitely gonna have to add this book to my list! <3

    1. Well, I think this might be kind of confusing. My NYC book tours aka my literary dates had a different inspiration. For this book, I was supposed to go to Nova Scotia where the book takes place but that trip fell through. So I just used the book to inspire an adventure in Maine that my parents and I went on. A whale watching cruise was in the book so we did that in Maine. It was fun!
      Oooh I’d love to see dolphins. I can’t wait to see them in the wild one day. Sea lions are so funny! I could watch them for hours.
      I didn’t even know about sunfish until this cruise.
      Thank you for reading my post Farrah!😊