ARC generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
Special thanks to Tiffany McDaniel for sending me a copy of her book.
Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.
Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town.
When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.
This is going to be a short one because my fangirl word vomit might get out of control. Usually I’m just throwing spoilers out left, right and centre, but you need to read this book so I’m keeping as much as I can under wraps.
“The heat came with the devil”
This sets the tone perfectly. I’ve read a lot of books with great first lines, and this one has just been added to my favourites.
I’m not entirely sure what I expected when I started reading this but it certainly didn’t end up where I had planned… and I’m not mad one bit. To say this is unique does not do The Summer That Melted Everything justice. The story McDaniel has woven has somehow managed to transcend anything else I’ve read along these lines and this is officially up there as one of the most intriguing books I’ve read this year.
“Dear Mr. Devil, Sir Satan, Lord Lucifer, and all other crosses you bear,
I cordially invite you to Breathed, Ohio. Land of hills and hay bales, of sinners and forgivers.
May you come in peace.
With great faith,
I mean, who just invites the Devil to town? A man named Autopsy (really), that’s who. When 13 year old Fielding Bliss’ father invites the Devil to town one day in 1984, a young boy named Sal shows up in answer. He’s ready to party. He should’ve brought wine. Shit gets crazy once Sal hits town and while many think he is a simple runaway, it’s hard to deny that many strange events, crippling disasters and a sweltering heatwave follow him around.
The characters in this are complicated and I loved each of them in their own ways. The Bliss family is strange to say the least and their highly unusual names make them all the more interesting. The family dynamic changes once they take in Sal and I thought it was interesting how the Devil was a conduit to the unravelling of Fielding’s opinion of his family. As the story progresses, our core characters have a sort of unmasking of their own and I thought McDaniel did a brilliant job of keeping the reader interested in the journey amongst the chaos.
This is a crazy premise for a book and I’m happy to say it works. All the credit goes to author Tiffany McDaniel who has crafted a beautifully intricate tale that keeps you on your toes.
Nya Reads has put together a great interview with the author so be sure to check it out. Also, watch the book trailer below to see some other glowing reviews for The Summer That Melted Everything.
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An Ohio native, Tiffany McDaniel‘s writing is inspired by the rolling hills and buckeye woods of the land she knows. She is also a poet, playwright, screenwriter, and artist. The Summer that Melted Everything is her debut novel.