The Gypsy Moth Summer

The Gypsy Moth Summer: A Novel - Julia Fierro

It all changed the day that Leslie Marshall and her family marched into town. The tranquility that had settled over this community, the staleness of its citizens, had this town lost in time, when Leslie decided to move back home with her family. Her husband Jules became the only black man in town and suddenly, the town’s citizens didn’t know how to accept this man into their circle. It proved to be even more difficult when their children, 16-year-old son Brook and 4-year-old daughter Eva, were added into the picture.


Trying to make a go at it, the family lives in the cottage next to the castle while Leslie renovates the castle. Jules has his own career but the citizens of this town have a hard time seeing past their racial views and their treatment of Jules is irritating. As the caterpillars start to become a nuisance, many of the citizens claim that the Marshalls brought the bugs with them when they arrived. Anything to blame this bi-racial family with a wrong doing. I liked how Jules tries to keep his head up, for it becomes hard as the voices around him don’t care that they are loud and everyone can hear them. Leslie is trying to find her way back into this community while her husband Jules is trying to find his place in this community and trying to combat the caterpillars. They are off into their own separate worlds each fighting different battles, coming together occasionally to enjoy each other inside their new home.


Meanwhile, their son Brook is off trying to make friends in a white community. His mother has granted him assess to the ballroom in the castle which the teens in the community are more than thrilled to party in. Each party becomes more eccentric and I get nervous just thinking about what might occur as these parties take place. Before Brook knows it, underage drinking, a multitude of drugs, lavish and dangerous activities are all occurring. I’m not sure these are parties he wanted to have but people definitely know who he is now. Never in my wildest dreams would I think that these activities would be taking place in this castle and never would I allow these activities to occur, if it was me.


I loved the struggles this family faced from the beginning of the novel till the end. Nothing is ever easy and Julia shows us in this novel the battles and strives this family makes as they try to become a part of this community. As the caterpillars started to attack the beautiful garden that Jules is trying to revive at the castle, I became obsessed like Jules and I didn’t just want to pluck them off the tree but I wanted to search the internet for solutions for him. I wanted to help him kill the suckers. Night and day as he worked on them, I could feel his pain and his frustration. When Brook and Maddie met up, I wondered how far this relationship would last. I like how it grew and enjoyed the honesty of it. I loved how the author weaved some of the relationships together, it made the novel more complex and tied some things together. I was nervous though when I first started this novel, as I couldn’t get into it and I was tempted to put it aside for a while. I was glad that I stuck with it as I enjoyed it for the relationships, the struggles and the small town aspect that it provided.