Thursday, June 21, 2018

Book Review: The High Season by Judy Blundell


Pages: 416
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: May 22, 2018
Publisher: Random House
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "No matter what the world throws her way, at least Ruthie Beamish has the house. Lovingly renovated, located by the sea in a quiet village two ferry rides from the glitzier Hamptons, the house is Ruthie's nest egg--the retirement account shared with her ex-husband, Mike, and the college fund for their teenage daughter, Jem. The catch? To afford the house, Ruthie must let it go during the best part of the year.  It's Memorial Day weekend and Ruthie has packed up their belongings for what Jem calls "the summer bummer" the family's annual exodus to make way for renters. This year, the Hamptons set has arrived. Adeline Clay is elegant, connected, and accompanied by a "gorgeous satellite" stepson.  The widow of a blue-chip artist, in a world defined by luxury and ease, Adeline demonstrates an uncanny ability to help herself to Ruthie's life. Is Adeline just being her fabulous self, or is she out to take what she wants?  When an eccentric billionaire, his wayward daughter, a coterie of social climbers, and Ruthie's old flame are thrown into the mix, the entire town finds itself on the verge of tumultuous change. But as Ruthie loses her grasp on her job, her home, and her family, she discovers a new talent for pushing back. By the end of one unhinged, unforgettable summer, nothing will be the same--least of all Ruthie.  In a novel packed with indelible characters, crackling wit, and upstairs/downstairs drama, Judy Blundell emerges as a voice for all seasons--a wry and original storyteller who knows how the most disruptive events in our lives can twist endings into new beginnings."

Ruthie's life is just about to get more complicated. It's Memorial Day weekend and that means she must leave her gorgeous beach house for the renters that are coming for the summer. This is how she affords to live in such a beautiful home. This year her beach house is being rented by a super rich woman and to top it off, her job is on the rocks.  Plus, her teenage daughter is getting herself into a bit of trouble.  Orient, her quiet beach town, is supposed to be way different than the glamorous Hamptons. In fact, it's two ferry rides away! But her summer is getting more dramatic by the minute, especially when you throw her ex-husband into the mix.  Cue all the drama and add in a side of some juicy secrets and you'll have yourself an entertaining beach read in Judy Blundell's debut, The High Season.

I think Blundell captures a middle age perfectly with the character of Ruthie in The High Season.  The drama that surrounds this summer and Ruthie is rather unfortunate, but I was rooting for her from the get-go. Her world is turned a bit upside down and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. I also appreciated all the details of the art world, which is important to Ruthie as she works at a museum.  

Her daugtehr, Jem, is portrayed very realistically in The High Season. After all, Blundell is known for her young adult novels, so she especially did a good job with Jem's coming of age story.  I also appreciated the role of social media in this story, which his a very timely and important topic. 

The best part of The High Season is Blundell's portrayal of the beach town. Who doesn't love a good beach read that takes place in Long Island? There's definitely a divide amongst the rich vacationers and the local people in The High Season, but that's what makes this novel so juicy at times. I loved Blundell's descriptions of the simplicity of the town, which is the polar opposite of the glitzy Hamptons. Blundell describes Orient as "pies and parades and stony beaches that hurt your feet, banging screen doors and peaches eaten over the sink." I absolutely loved that line in the book!

I'm going to be honest though.....it took me quite awhile to get into The High Season; in fact, I almost put it down numerous times. Blundell introduced readers to many characters all at once and I had a hard time keeping them all straight.  Plus, I also wasn't invested in Ruthie's story as I would have liked. 

Many people said that The High Season was going to be THE beach read of the summer and while I liked it, it wasn't my absolute favorite. Entertaining? Yes! Memorable? Not so sure about that. Nonetheless, I will definitely check out Blundell's work in the future. 




2 comments:

  1. I just got this one out of the library, but I don't seem to be reading a lot of rave reviews for it. If something takes me too long to get into, I have a tendency to DNF.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I almost put it down, but I read a glowing review for it in Entertainment Weekly so I was determined to see what all the fuss was about. I look forward to your thoughts on it if you finish it! Thanks for visiting, Angela!

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