Thursday, August 08, 2013

Review: A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
Putnam Adult
May 2013
Format: Hardcover, 357 pages
Source: Personal copy

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.

My thoughts: I had the opportunity to meet Beatriz Williams back at the beginning of the summer when she attended the Princeton Library's Beach Reads 2013 event. I had never read anything by her before but when I heard about this book, and the fact that it was loosely based on the hurricane that hit Long Island in 1938, I just knew it would be an interesting book.

The story structure of this book leads to the enjoyment of it. Alternating between 1931-32 and 1938, we find out the backstory of the romance between Lily and Nick, which leads to many questions when in 1938 these two are reunited after Nick has just married Lily's former best friend Budgie. Each time we go back to 1931, we learn just a little bit more about the history between these characters. It's almost as if there are mini-cliffhangers at the end of each chapter and that only leads you to want to keep reading! 

Along the way, there were definitely things that I wondered about...for instance, I was very curious as to who Kiki really was - and was floored when it is finally revealed. I also had my concerns about Budgie and even Grahame's motivations. Why was Budgie so eager to resume her friendship with Lily - was it because she really misses her or because she wanted to make sure she knew that she got the guy? I love when authors create characters that make you question their intentions.

Once I started reading the book, I was completely hooked. I ended up devouring the book and despite finishing it a while ago, it's one of those books that just stays with you. But as I was reading it, I found myself with a major dilemma - I wanted to read the book in one sitting to find out how everything comes together, but at the same time, I wanted to read it slowly and savor the story. I've told everyone I know to read this - it really is the perfect beach read! 

What's been your favorite beach read this summer?

4 comments:

  1. I have this book but gave it to my sister to read first. Glad you enjoyed it so much. I don't have one favorite book of the summer but I really liked Finding Colin Firth, Can't Stop Believing, Forever Interrupted, The Lemon Orchard, The Last Original Wife, I'll Be Seeing You, Rose Harbor in Bloom. Whew, lots of good reads this summer :)

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  2. Glad to know that you liked this book. I enjoyed her previous book. I have put it on my TBR list. I loved Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman.

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  3. I also like the cover of this one!

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  4. It's always so much fun to read a book by an author you've met! I met Robin LaFevers recently and her passion for the research she put into her books made me so very excited to read them :)

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