Thursday, July 20, 2017

Book Review: Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams

Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewer
Other Books By Author: A Hundred Summers,
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "The New York Times bestselling author of A Certain Age transports readers to sunny Florida in this lush and enthralling historical novel—an enchanting blend of love, suspense, betrayal, and redemption set among the rumrunners and scoundrels of Prohibition-era Cocoa Beach.  Burdened by a dark family secret, Virginia Fortescue flees her oppressive home in New York City for the battlefields of World War I France. While an ambulance driver for the Red Cross, she meets a charismatic British army surgeon whose persistent charm opens her heart to the possibility of love. As the war rages, Virginia falls into a passionate affair with the dashing Captain Simon Fitzwilliam, only to discover that his past has its own dark secrets—secrets that will damage their eventual marriage and propel her back across the Atlantic to the sister and father she left behind.  Five years later, in the early days of Prohibition, the newly widowed Virginia Fitzwilliam arrives in the tropical boomtown of Cocoa Beach, Florida, to settle her husband’s estate. Despite the evidence, Virginia does not believe Simon perished in the fire that destroyed the seaside home he built for her and their young daughter. Separated from her husband since the early days of their marriage, the headstrong Virginia plans to uncover the truth, for the sake of the daughter Simon never met.  Simon’s brother and sister welcome her with open arms and introduce her to a dazzling new world of citrus groves, white beaches, bootleggers, and Prohibition agents. But Virginia senses a predatory presence lurking beneath the irresistible, hedonistic surface of this coastal oasis. The more she learns about Simon and his mysterious business interests, the more she fears that the dangers that surrounded Simon now threaten her and their daughter’s life as well."

Virginia Fortescue's life hasn't really been easy. Her mother was murdered when she was just a child and obviously this has impacted her tremendously. As an adult, she has spent a lot of time driving ambulances in the war.  While at the war, she met Dr. Simon Fitzwilliam and sparks flew.  They got married and had a child, but things got complicated and they became estranged.  Virginia gets news that Simon has died in a fire at his house in Florida.  Virginia hurries down there to see what exactly happened and the more she discovers about Simon, the worse it gets.  It doesn't help that Simon's twin, Samuel, is also down in Florida sending her mixed messages about Simon and Agent Marshall is constantly warning her to go back home as she and her daughter could be in danger.  The more Virginia uncovers about the truth surrounding her husband, the more she wants to find out despite the dangers involved.  Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams is a suspenseful thriller set in Prohibition age Florida that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Virginia is an interesting character in Cocoa Beach. She isn't one to be meek or sit on the sidelines. She wants answers for herself and heads to Florida with her daughter to get them.  I liked that she drove ambulances for the Red Cross in the war and that she is headstrong.  She did frustrate me a little from time to time, but overall, she was an enjoyable character that I was most definitely rooting for.

Williams had me on the edge of my seat when I was reading Cocoa Beach. At one time I thought Simon was despicable. The next moment I thought his brother was the bad guy. Then I changed my mind and was confused all over again. She had me changing my alliances and the truth was definitely revealed slowly.  The last quarter of the book kept me flipping the pages till late as there were many plot twists and a lot of action.  It left me a bit breathless as there was SO much going on at the end; nonetheless, it was entertaining.

The setting of Prohibition age Florida was very atmospheric in Cocoa Beach. I could practically feel the thick humidity, smell the tropical flowers, hear the crash of the waves and the strong Florida sunshine.  It was all very well done.

Although I enjoy Williams' Schuyler Sisters series a bit more, I still appreciated Cocoa Beach and enjoyed the suspense.  If you are looking for a historical beach read that will keep you guessing and flipping the pages, look no further. Do you want to win an ARC of Cocoa Beach? Don't forget to enter my giveaway!


  1. Great review! Beatriz Williams always creates a great setting, so I'm glad to hear that about this book, too. Looking forward to the suspenseful twists in this one!

    1. Thanks, Angela. I agree. She always creates such a vivid setting. I hope you enjoy it--it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. Thanks for visiting, Angela.


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