Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Review: The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff

Title: The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach   
Author: Pam Jenoff     
Published: July 2015, MIRA  
Format: ARC Paperback, 384 pages    
Source: Publisher  



Summer 1941  
Young Adelia Monteforte flees fascist Italy for America, where she is whisked away to the shore by her well-meaning aunt and uncle. Here, she meets and falls for Charlie Connally, the eldest of the four Irish-Catholic boys next door. But all hopes for a future together are soon throttled by the war and a tragedy that hits much closer to home.

Grief-stricken, Addie flees—first to Washington and then to war-torn London—and finds a position at a prestigious newspaper, as well as a chance to redeem lost time, lost family…and lost love. But the past always nips at her heels, demanding to be reckoned with. And in a final, fateful choice, Addie discovers that the way home may be a path she never suspected.

My thoughts: As soon as I heard that this book and Pam herself would be at BEA this past Spring, I knew the book was going on my must-get list and that I wanted to meet Pam. I was successful on both counts!!! In fact, I actually got to meet Pam a few weeks prior to BEA at another signing, but it was still great seeing her at BEA and I even got to have lunch with her and  just chat - me and a few other bloggers and it was great! 

I absolutely loved this book!!! It is a beautifully written book set during World War II that sweeps you up right from the first page. I fell in love with the richly drawn characters and the setting. This is a story of love and forgiveness, of finding oneself and learning how to overcome tragedy, and of family and what that really means. It also brings the turmoil of war to life both here in America and abroad.

I loved Addie - she's a strong female character that's also vulnerable and we see that time and time again. Being torn from her family and sent to live with her aunt and uncle who just aren't her parents, she is quickly embraced by the Connally family who have a house next-door at the shore. She develops a different relationship with each of the four brothers and even their mother. I felt for her throughout the book, feeling her fear, her loss and even her happiness - it all felt so real. She's certainly a character that I will not be forgetting anytime soon.

Taking us back and forth in time and from the Jersey shore to DC to London and back again to the Jersey shore, I felt that I was traveling right along with Addie. The rich details and the amount of historical detail that went into the writing create such vivid prose and you feel as if you are right there with the characters. I loved the ending, and while I had a slight suspicion that that was where things might go (maybe because that's where I wanted it to???), I was pleased none-the-less. To me, it just seemed right.

Once I picked this book up to read, I was completely hooked and had a hard time putting it down. I love books like that - where I am completely absorbed in the story and don't want to do anything but read to the end to see where it goes. This is the second book I've read by Pam Jenoff and she is definitely on my must-read list - I can't wait to see what comes next from her. Luckily I have a few of her other books to occupy me until her next book comes out! 


***Don't forget -- there's a giveaway going on until July 31 to win a copy of this book. Open to US/Canada residents only. Click here to enter. 



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3 comments

  1. I haven't read any of Jenoff's books but if she's a must read of yours I'll put them on my TBR list. Thanks for the chance to win a book!

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  2. I haven't read anything by her, however just came from Facebook where many of my fav authors were promoting her book. Your review has now sealed the deal. I need to read it!

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  3. I'm glad that you enjoyed this book, Kristin. It does sound excellent!

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