Thursday, June 9, 2022

Book Review: On Gin Lane by Brooke Lea Foster

Pages: 384
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: May 31, 2022
Publisher: Gallery
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Summer Darlings
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Goodreads says, "After her fiancé whisks her off to the glistening shores of Southampton in June of 1957, one young socialite begins to realize that her glamorous summer is giving her everything—except what she really wants—in this new novel from the author of Summer Darlings, “one terrific summer read” ​(Elin Hilderbrand, #1 New York Times bestselling author). Everleigh “Lee” Farrows thinks she finally has life all figured out: a handsome fiancé named Roland, a trust in her name, and a house in Bronxville waiting for her to fill it with three adorable children. That is, until Roland brings her out to the Hamptons for a summer that will change everything. Most women could only dream of the engagement present Roland unexpectedly bestows on Lee—a beachside hotel on the prized Gin Lane—but Lee’s delight is clouded by unpleasant memories of another hotel, the Plaza, where she grew up in the shadow of her mother’s mental illness. Shaking off flashbacks, Lee resolves to dive into an unforgettable summer with poolside Bellinis, daily tennis matches, luncheons with her Manhattan circle, and her beloved camera in tow. But when tragedy strikes on the hotel’s opening weekend, the cracks in Lee’s picture-perfect future slowly begin to reveal themselves, and Lee must look deep within herself to determine if the life she’s always wanted will ever truly be enough. From the regal inns to the farmland, the well-heeled New Yorkers to the Bohemian artists, the East End of Long Island is a hodge-podge of the changing American landscape in the late 1950s—and the perfect place for Lee to discover who she really is."


Everleigh "Lee" Farrows grew up living a lavish life in New York City.  The year is 1957 and there's not many options for her. She must marry well or fall into the oblivion, essentially banished from high society.  Her parents are thankful though, because she is engaged to Roland Whittaker, who comes from a well off family. Before they marry, he takes her to the Hamptons in the summer and gives her an early wedding present.  It's just your run-of-the-mill present. He bought her a hotel and named it after her. While this may seem somewhat romantic, Lee is a bit perplexed as this isn't really what she wants, but she goes along with it. During the opening weekend of the hotel, there is a fire that is absolutely devastating. It leaves Roland with nothing but to collect insurance money and rebuild. However, upon investigation, things aren't looking like your basic hotel fire. Was there foul play? Meanwhile, Lee and Roland have set up shop at a cottage on the property and Lee is trying to figure out where she belongs all while bankrolling Roland's operations. Things are looking pretty grim for Lee until she meets a professional photographer and she starts to work with her, much to her parents and Roland's dismay. On Gin Lane by Brooke Lea Foster is a historical beach read with such an immersive setting, I felt I was there and the novel also includes a mystery that kept me flipping the pages. 

Lee was such an interesting character in On Gin Lane. I liked that she didn't settle for an easy life. She could have chosen the conventional path, but her heart pulled her to photography. While at the Hamptons, she gets a job with a professional photographer and her world opens up even further. There's more to life than rebuilding the hotel, rubbing elbows with rich people, having drinks by the pool, and attending fancy dinners. She wants more for herself and I felt for her as she tried to branch away from her parents' expectations (as well as her trust fund) and Roland's control.  Lee uses this summer as a summer of self-discovery and I was here for it, even if I wanted her to run as far away from Roland as possible.

Which leads me to Roland in On Gin Lane. I mean I could see where he was coming from a mile away and I did not like it. I felt like he was using Lee for her money to fund his hotel and he did not deserve her, especially when he started spending time with other women. When the police realize that there may have been foul play regarding the fire, I was totally glued to the investigation.  

There is a bit of a mystery in On Gin Lane. Foster, just as she did in Summer Darlings, provides readers with a compelling mystery which definitely elevates this from a traditional beach read. I was dying to know who set the fire and their motive. I had my suspicions, but Foster unravels the story very well. Also, I really appreciated the historical Hamptons setting and Foster's ability to make the time period come to life. I felt like I was living in the late 1950s and the setting of a beach front hotel was spot-on. She made it very atmospheric.

So, if you love your beach reads with a side of a strong mystery, definitely pick up On Gin Lane this summer.  Have you read Foster's Summer Darlings? Is this book on your TBR list? Have you read it already? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 



  1. I remember having her other book on my TBR but for some reason I never read it. I do really like the sound of this one, though! Great review, I think I will add it to my list!

    1. Definitely add it! I think you'd like it. Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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