That summer in the heart which is known only in youth. Summer in the Heart is a lyrical evocation of the innocence, fun and liberation of growing up in the 1960s. Moving into and through his teens, Jim Mitchell must put his County Antrim village childhood behind him and adapt to the wider world of grammar school and the life of Belfast city.
In the process the reader accompanies Jim on a series of marvellous episodes. There is the self-conscious torture of his first school dance; playing truant from the formidable Cheyenne Bodies maths class; and the secrecy and fear that surround the summer love he finds with his country sweetheart June.
Subsequently we follow Jims progress through the coffee bars and streets of Belfast, new friendships and the love of city girl Katie, to his first real taste of freedom on a working holiday at an English seaside resort in the long hot summer of 1964. Jim progresses from the self-doubt and alienation of early adolescence to the beginnings of emotional maturity. The disparate settings and characters of the novel are conveyed with equal power, small worlds portrayed in a poetic way, with delicious feeling and humour.