Friday, August 13, 2021

Book Review: Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland


 
Pages: 384
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: May 18, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating; 4 out of 5 stars
 
 

Goodreads says, "A family reunion for the ages when two clans convene for the summer at their beloved getaway in the Catskills--perfect for fans of Dirty Dancing and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel--from the acclaimed author of The Floating Feldmans.  In its heyday, The Golden Hotel was the crown jewel of the hotter-than-hot Catskills vacation scene. For more than sixty years, the Goldman and Weingold families - best friends and business partners - have presided over this glamorous resort which served as a second home for well-heeled guests and celebrities. But the Catskills are not what they used to be - and neither is the relationship between the Goldmans and the Weingolds. As the facilities and management begin to fall apart, a tempting offer to sell forces the two families together again to make a heart-wrenching decision. Can they save their beloved Golden or is it too late.  Long-buried secrets emerge, new dramas and financial scandal erupt, and everyone from the traditional grandparents to the millennial grandchildren wants a say in the hotel's future. Business and pleasure clash in this fast-paced, hilarious, nostalgia-filled story, where the hotel owners rediscover the magic of a bygone era of nonstop fun even as they grapple with what may be their last resort."

 

Benny Goldman and Amos Weingold have been friends since Booklyn College and these two best friends built The Golden Hotel in the Catskills in the 1960s.  It was a premiere hotel back then and many famous celebrities performed there.  Jewish families flocked there for the entertainment, the relaxing atmosphere, the summer activities, the dining, and to see the same families year to year.  Fast forward to present day and The Golden Hotel has most definitely seen better days. There's an offer on the table for The Golden Hotel, but the families aren't quite sure they are ready to say goodbye, so they have an emergency meeting to see what they should do next; after all, many of them could use the money! Once the Weingold and Goldman families come together again in the Catskills, there's sure to be drama, hilarity, romance, and much more.  Last Summer at the Golden Hotel was an absolute pleasure of a novel. I laughed out loud, I longed for a chat with my grandmother, and dreamed of a vacation up the mountains without wi-fi access. This is a gem of a novel!

There's many characters in Last Summer at the Golden Hotel, but Friedland makes it easy for readers by providing a family tree; thank goodness, because I found myself referring back to it quite often until I got the lineage down.  Friedland focuses on just a few key players by giving readers chapters from their points of view and I really preferred this. Once I got acclimated to each family member, I was able to breeze through the novel happily. There's a plot line for just about everyone here. There's Fanny Weingold and Louise Goldman, the matriarchs, but they never really got along and are polar opposites. The only child of Louise attends and she brings her two grandchildren to the hotel, but not her husband....cue the drama.  There's Brian Weingold, who runs the hotel, and hasn't had it easy since his divorce. There's also Brian's brother, Peter, and his family who come along with his influencer daughter whom is determined to make something of The Golden Hotel at least on Instagram.  Each character brings an interesting story to the table and I was impressed with Frieldland's ability to do that.

The setting of The Golden Hotel is just perfect. Friedland really brings to life the Catskills and the mountain lifestyle. It felt like I was on the set of Dirty Dancing or on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, when they spend their summer at the mountain resort. The Golden Hotel becomes a character in and of itself and I really loved that. I enjoyed learning about the hotel's past, all the performers that came, the traditions, and all the memories, both good and bad. Meanwhile, readers are worrying about what will become of The Golden Hotel and everything that the Goldmans and Weingolds built.

I really enjoyed Last Summer at the Golden Hotel. It was breezy, but it had substance. It made me smile, laugh and feeling wistful. It's one of my favorite beach reads of the year! 

Have you read Last Summer at the Golden Hotel? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 


4 comments:

  1. The resort itself sounds amazing!

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    1. Right? It made me want to take a trip to the Poconos. Thanks for visiting, Angela!

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  2. A family saga usually confuses me as well but only if the story is in one full volume. I'm more of a fan of family sagas that are broken down into a few novels. Have you read any of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan series? I feel like you'll enjoy them -- if you haven't read them, that is.

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    1. I did read book one and thoroughly enjoyed it! So good! Thanks for visiting, Joy!

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