Ellie, a convent-raised orphan, was sent to serve as housekeeper to Dillahan, a widower who tragically lost his wife and child. She ultimately married him and has a routine-driven life with him on their farm. She rides her bicycle from their farmhouse to the fictitious Irish town of Rathmoye once a week to deliver eggs and pick up necessities, and connect with the town’s locals. When a young photographer, Florian Kilderry, makes her acquaintance, love arrives quietly but inevitably. “…it was silly, all she had to do was to think of something else when he came into her mind. But now, when she tried to, she couldn’t.” (pg. 52) In prose as lyric as his native tongue, Trevor guides the reader through familiar emotions such as passion and disappointment. He creates verbal portraits with minute details – the old bowl for gathering eggs and the decaying wall where messages could be hidden – during one delicately evoked summer.
The other characters are gently but clearly defined and their stories not only move the main plot along, but add a depth and richness that is part of Trevor’s great talent. Strangely, I found myself harking back to a similar plot line: a decent but dull husband, an unconsciously discontented wife, an intriguing wayfaring stranger, and the heat of summer. But believe me, Love and Summer is as far from The Bridges of Madison County as the Mona Lisa is from my old refrigerator art.