Thursday, May 16, 2013

Book Review: A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams


Pages: 368
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: May 30, 2013
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak.  That is, until Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview. Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily’s past: her former best friend and her former fiancĂ©, now recently married—an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie’s arrival to restore her family’s old house puts her once more in the center of the community’s social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily's friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction...and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations.  Under the scorching summer sun, the unexpected truth of Budgie and Nick’s marriage bubbles to the surface, and as a cataclysmic hurricane barrels unseen up the Atlantic and into New England, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional cyclone of their own, which will change their worlds forever."
Lily Dane and Budgie Byrne couldn't be more different, yet they are best friends and have vacationed every year since their childhood at Seaview, Rhode Island.  Budgie has always been outgoing and loud; whereas, Lily has been a bit of a wallflower.  They both attend the same college and while visiting another local college's football game to see Budgie's boyfriend play, Lily meets Nick Greenwald, the quarterback. She is instantly attracted to him and after the game, they have the opportunity to spend some time together.  Nick would be the perfect guy, except he is Jewish, which isn't a big deal to her, but she knows her family wouldn't approve.  As time goes by, she ends up engaged to Nick despite her family's protests.  But things must not end well, because we fast forward to summer at Seaview many years later and Budgie returns with Lily's Nick, who is Budgie's husband!  Now Lily has to deal with her summer turned upside down by her ex-best friend and her ex-fiance.  However, things aren't what they appear and readers will slowly learn about family secrets and even blackmail.  The summer of 1938 just got complicated and oh-so-dramatic.  If you ask me, Beatriz Williams' A Hundred Summers is one of the best beach reads of the summer.

Readers may be wondering at this point why Lily is still single and hanging out with her six year old sister, Kiki, all summer. I was wondering the same thing and slowly we figure out the backstory as to what happened to Lily and Nick. I love how Williams unfolded it gently like a warm breeze.  The way Williams told the story through narratives that jump from 1931 to 1938 really kept me on the edge of my seat as I slowly learned the story behind Nick and Lily's relationship in A Hundred Summers.

Since they are all at Seaview for the summer, there is no avoiding each other. Lily must face them eventually and to top it off, Graham, an old college friend, shows up and seems interested in Lily.  Lily, whose heart is still with Nick, realizes she must move on and who better than to move on with than Graham, the charismatic professional baseball player? 


Although the ending of A Hundred Summers seemed rather convenient, I still loved it despite its flaws. The secrets, the gorgeous setting, the intrigue, the drama, the romance....it's everything that I am looking for in a beach read. After reading this book, I immediately wanted to share a gin and tonic on the beach with Lily and spend the day gossiping.  In sum, A Hundred Summers is one of my favorite beach reads of 2013.   

5 comments:

  1. I don't mind a convenient ending in books like this! In fact I prefer them so I can just walk away with a happy smile on my face and stay on a summer vacation high:) So glad this book worked so well for you Christina!

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    1. Me too, Jenny! I definitely had a smile on my face. Thanks for visiting!

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  2. I love the cover of this, it definitely screams beach read. And by the sounds of your review it would be perfect to tote around on the beach this summer, romance and drama with old relationships, sign me up for this book! :)

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    1. Me too! Such a great cover! I hope you enjoy the book. Thanks for visiting, Andrea!

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  3. Excellent description of an era we don't hear enough about. The love story was rather unique twist kept me burning the midnight oil!

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