• Seven Summer Nights

  • By: Harper Fox
  • Narrated by: Chris Clog
  • Length: 16 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Romance
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (407 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

It's 1946, and the dust of World War Two has just begun to settle. When famous archaeologist Rufus Denby returns to London, his life and reputation are as devastated as the city around him. He's used to the most glamorous of excavations, but can't turn down the offer of a job in rural Sussex. It's a refuge, and the only means left to him of scraping a living. With nothing but his satchel and a mongrel dog he's rescued from a bomb site, he sets out to investigate an ancient church in the sleepy village of Droyton Parva.

It's an ordinary task, but Droyton is in the hands of a most extraordinary vicar. The Reverend Archie Thorne has tasted action too, as a motorcycle-riding army chaplain, and is struggling to readjust to the little world around him. He's a lonely man, and Rufus's arrival soon sparks off in him a lifetime of repressed desires.

Rufus is a combat case, amnesiac and shellshocked. As he and Archie begin to unfold the archaeological mystery of Droyton, their growing friendship makes Rufus believe he might one day recapture his lost memories of the war, and find his way back from the edge of insanity to love.

It's summer on the South Downs, the air full of sunshine and enchantment. And Rufus and Archie's seven summer nights have just begun....

©2016 Harper Fox (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Seven Summer Nights

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A very sound and satisfying bit of writing.

The universe of gay male romance fiction written by women is quite a mixed bag. Often the stories are little but a collection of the type of time-tested romantic tropes that have titillated women readers for decades. As a gay man, I find it all a bit unsettling and usually unsatisfying.

In this particular efforts, the author, Harper Fox, has put together a compelling story with two strong central characters which sidesteps many of the pitfalls often plaguing writing in this genre.

All the central characters are soundly drawn and fully fleshed-out. The emotional life between the two central characters is both interesting and realistic.

To be nitpicky, there was at least one timeline issue. Also, there is an element, a small element, of the supernatural in the story. in this type of narrative, which is essentially reality-based in appearance, I find the introduction of the supernatural to be a distraction.YMMV.

It's a good book. I read it through the Audible Escape subscription option, but I think I'm going to buy it outright so I can keep it in my collection.

22 people found this helpful

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Unbelievably beautiful

Oh this was just beautiful. Achingly beautiful story with a narration so soft and fitting it brought tears to my eyes on several occasions. I'm so sorry to anything I read next because it will be judged against this book

9 people found this helpful

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Magnificent!

Harper Fox is most certainly one of the best storytellers today. What I particularly love about her work is her extensive knowledge of the English language. She chooses precisely the right word to paint a picture which is easy to visualize in one's mind. The story is beautifully told by a third party narrator who switches back and forth between the two protagonists, Archie, and Rufus. There actually are two stories, and the story narrator subtly interweaves them through the main characters. Kudos to Ms. Fox for giving us yet another inspiring story.

Regarding the audible version of this book, Chris Clog continues to rock as a performer. I have seldom listened to anyone who can present as many uniquely voiced characters as he. The characters truly come alive as he transforms into them. I never once felt someone was reading a story, rather, the story was unfolding right at that moment. As with any of the other novels he has narrated, I was so enthralled by his performance it was difficult for me to stop for bathroom and dog-walking breaks. This is indeed a "must listen to" novel and performance.

6 people found this helpful

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amazing

I loved this book, I borrowed it through Audible Escape, but I am seriously considering going back and buying it just so I have it in my library forever. I might actually track down a hard copy!

2 people found this helpful

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The Preacher and the Archeologist Wonderful!

A wonderfully narrated table that I found in the romance package. It was a little spooky and witty. Worth listening to for a credit. A lot of angst and side characters added to the storyline.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

Loved the narrator! I haven’t listened to him before, and usually it takes me a while to warm up to new voices, but here I instantly loved his voice and the narration.

The book was full of all good things: MC’s with chemistry and lovely moments, interesting characters, beautiful writing, lots of feelings and a great story. It took a chapter or two for me to get into it, but then I was completely hooked all the way to the end.

2 people found this helpful

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Lightly historical and fun

Enjoyed it very much. Liked the light references to historical events but enjoyed the tense suspense of the story.

2 people found this helpful

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My new favorite romance novel ever

This book was absolutely everything I want out of a romance, lovable protagonists, wacky but developed secondary characters, a plot outside of the relationship plot, history, slight supernatural elements... but mostly a world I enjoyed getting lost in! If you are interested in archeology, history of witchcraft, post WW-II rural England, lots of acts of love and devotion, a few instances of non-graphically described sex, give this one a try!

2 people found this helpful

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thoroughly enjoyed it

I love the story line, however I found some language used was not authentic with the era the story was set in. But that's a small critique for an excellent listen.

2 people found this helpful

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Intelligent, well-researched, and deeply beautiful

I've read and listened to a lot of Harper Fox novels, and this is one of her strongest without question.

Initially, I was uncertain about a romance that spans 7 days because that seems a bit rushed, but it works well. The novel doesn't ONLY include those 7 summer nights, either. The novel is so dang long because it's actually two parts: the first follows the 7 nights and the second is everything after.

The portrayal of PTSD is well-researched, conscientious, and compassionate. I was deeply invested in Rufus's recovery journey. His trauma-induced amnesia is believable and heart-wrenching. Fox committed to an amnesia storyline, so she did her research and wrote it well rather than falling back on offensive, inaccurate tropes about PTSD and trauma. I am also deeply, deeply pleased that it isn't washed away by the book's mysterious magic/miracles. Like in most Harper Fox novels, the magic barely features and remains a mystery to humans. Whatever the magic is, it has the power to heal people in different ways. I was concerned that it would be used to erase Rufus's PTSD, which would be an insensitive way to handle a recovery storyline--Fox doesn't do that. Instead she writes a believable recovery and credits it to humans, who are magic in and of themselves. I love that message. So beautiful.

Archie, the vicar who doesn't believe in God, is perhaps one of the most Godly men possible. He is honest, loving, and solid. I absolutely adore him. His growth as a man is so earnest and eager that he feels almost youthful, like he was on pause ever since his teenage tragedy, and now he's finally resumed living. I suppose in a lot of ways, that's the truth. His joy is so well-written, it's as infectious as it would be in the real world. I grinned ear-to-ear alongside him.

Archie and Rufus are lovely together. Both act as solid protectors and guides to each other. They mesh well, and it's easy to understand the immediate draw they feel toward each other. It isn't instalove that skips the important parts at all; they earn each other's trust and love, and it's simply at a rapid pace because of their immense compatibility and need, which we observe. Their steamy scenes are great, although something funny is that they all include Rufus talking a lot about his archeological theories. Every time. I wondered about the meaning behind this pattern. Is it the power of love restoring Rufus's passion for not just sex, but life in general? Whatever it is, it's sweet.

I really like the observation Rufus makes about how the tragedy endured by gay men is what is focused on most (especially in that time period), and the beautiful, joyous parts of their lives aren't discussed. They end up cautionary tales, their joys and loves erased. His sincere desire to hear something good about Richard and Archie's relationship, rather than just the tragic parts, healed some broken part in me I didn't know existed. Although I admit having the Richard conversation mid-sex was a bit unsettling. But the message behind this is clear: focus on the joy, not the tragedy. I like the intent.

The side characters are all fascinating people who I genuinely care for. Rufus and Archie don't live in some romcom bubble; they're real men with friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors, all of whom have lives. In fact, the side characters end up being extremely vital in a way that surprised and delighted me. I was impressed by the meaningful themes and stories attached to the women in this story especially. Women's oppression is a recurring theme that parallels Rufus and Archie's oppression. They're all forced to abide by strict social rules and can't live freely. The differences between these forms of oppression are addressed in nuanced ways, as well. And it comes with a hopeful tone about how the world is changing post-war, which could herald in a better world for women and LGBTQ people. It made me feel good.

I was pleasantly surprised by how things came together in the end. Things I thought were one-time-use details setting scenes resurface to tie things together neatly. It's a very satisfying, believable happily ever after.

I know I had some quibbles but I just can't remember what they are. That tells me the merits of this book outshine everything else. I absolutely loved it.

The narration is amazing. Great range of voices, spot-on emotional delivery, and smooth reading. Totally brings the story to life.

1 person found this helpful

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  • BevS
  • 03-03-18

Exquisite narration, my fave Harper Fox...

***November 2017***

The narration by Chris Clog was as scrumptious as the story. Quintessentially English, utterly charming and an absolute delight to listen to. Think that says it all, well done to all concerned.

**Book Review** My second Harper Fox read, the other being Brothers of the Wild North Sea, and straight onto my creme-de-la-creme shelf for you, my beauty. Utterly scrumptious, sumptuous prose and world building that really did make you feel as though you were on the Sussex Downs, staying at the Rectory in Droyton Parva with Archie, Mrs Nettles, Drusilla and Elspeth. There was a thoroughly English kind of The Darling Buds Of May feel to the whole story, light hearted but deadly serious when it needed to be. 5 captivating stars from me.

Archaeology not my strongest subject [and that's putting it mildly], but even I was caught up in the excitement that the finds at the church generated, and to meld that storyline with social commentary on the draconian post WWII British homosexuality laws, free spirits, self-appointed Witch finders and their victims, surviving soldiers from the war, their PTSD and the painful shock treatment they had to undergo, and of course, soldiers who had gone mad in the trenches and started shooting their comrades....well, that's the mark of a really good author; the most beautiful thing for me though was Rufus and Archie's love story. How they overcame prejudice from so-called do-gooders and found their own 'family' of friends in spite of everything that happened, was a joy to read about. Highly recommended, hardly any sex and a truly lovely read

2 people found this helpful

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  • Marilyn
  • 12-01-18

Not worth bothering with

Slowly paced and quite dull. The narrator has a peculiar voice. The story isn’t gripping and lacklustre

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • 08-06-18

A rattling good yarn

Set in the post WW2 period tho is the tale of two homosexual professional.men. One is an archaeologist investigating the antiquities associated with an ancient Parish church. The other is the vicar whose benevolent influence encompasses the entire parish. An irritant is the doctor who is strongly against queers and their works. The story is wide ranging to the extent of being a saga. Mercifully all deserving characters live happy, if altered lives after the life changing events related.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JBo
  • 02-23-18

A beautiful story with wonderful characters

I think this will have to sit alongside Harper's 'Priddy's Tale' as one of my favourites in print, pixel and audio. The characters of Rufus and Archie are brilliant and so full of life and warmth - something that the narrator, Chris Clog, brings vividly to life. I loved the characters when I read the book but, having now listened to their story, I can say I adore Archie & Rufus. The supporting characters were well fleshed out and the dual strands of the story: Rufus' amnesia and Archie's church, intertwined in a logical fashion, answering various questions posed throughout the book. The ending was satisfying and I didn't really want to leave the characters.
All in all this was a wonderful, engaging story with characters you loved, some you disliked, and some you'd quite happily like to see get some of their own treatment. Heartily recommend Seven Summer Nights and I would give it more than 5 stars if I could.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-24-17

Gorgeously written, beautiful story.

Reverend Archie is one of my favourite people. This book is a real gem, the narration is wonderfully done. Every character is so well fleshed out. The subjects covered are so well researched and feel so real, shell shock, war, archaeology and post war life. A well written, wonderful story full of heartbreak, joy and adventure.

1 person found this helpful

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  • brigitta
  • 11-05-20

Wow

This was amazing! Chris Clog is a wonderful narrator - he somehow managed to have a different voice for every character. Can't wait to listen to his other narrations!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • ahumph292
  • 09-30-20

Too tedious...I gave up

I admit to giving up, after persevering through 14 chapters. I found it just too tedious. I loved Harper Fox's Brothers of the Wild North Sea, and had high hopes for this book. But, after this experience, I won't be trying any more of this author

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  • Ms J J Humphrey
  • 09-26-20

An unexpected delight!

I bought this on a sale whim for the lgbt aspect and my interest in PTSD. it was much better written than I expected and very well narrated.

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  • OCorkyO
  • 05-25-18

fabulous

it made me want to finish writing my book thank you so so much I will read more

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  • Martin Moore
  • 04-23-19

A phenomenal journey

What a phenomenal journey, another spectacular Harper Fox story! An absolutely perfect narration! Wow, what a ride! AAA plus