Monday, July 24, 2017

Review: Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams

Title: Cocoa Beach
Author: Beatriz Williams
Published: June 2017, William Morrow
Format: ARC Paperback, 384 pages
Source: Publisher

The author of A Certain Age transports readers to sunny Florida in this lush and enthralling historical novel—an enchanting blend of love, suspense, betrayal, and redemption set among the rum runners and scoundrels of Prohibition-era Cocoa Beach

Burdened by a dark family secret, Virginia Fortescue flees her oppressive home in New York City for the battlefields of World War I France. Driving an ambulance for the Red Cross, she meets a charismatic British army surgeon whose persistent charm opens her heart to the possibility of love. As the war rages, Virginia falls into a passionate affair with the dashing Captain Simon Fitzwilliam, only to discover that his past has its own dark secrets—secrets that will damage their eventual marriage and propel her back across the Atlantic to the sister and father she’d left behind.

Five years later, in the early days of Prohibition, the newly widowed Virginia Fitzwilliam arrives in the tropical boomtown of Cocoa Beach, Florida, to settle her husband’s estate. Despite the evidence, Virginia does not believe Simon perished in the fire that destroyed the seaside home he built for her and their young daughter. Separated from her husband since the early days of their marriage, the headstrong Virginia plans to uncover the truth, for the sake of the daughter Simon has never met.

Simon’s brother and sister welcome her with open arms and introduce her to a dazzling new world of citrus groves, white beaches, bootleggers, and Prohibition agents. But Virginia senses a predatory presence lurking beneath the irresistible, hedonistic surface of this coastal oasis. The more she learns about Simon and his mysterious business interests, the more she fears that the dangers surrounding Simon now threaten her and their daughter’s life as well.

My thoughts: As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of Beatriz Williams' books - I've read just about all of them and usually go to see her when she's on book tour whenever I get the chance! There's just something about her books - they're the perfect blend of historical fiction, compelling characters and fantastic writing that bring me back time and time. I just can't get enough of this perfect combination!!!

This latest book is a continuation of her Jazz Age series that isn't really a series...if that makes sense. One thing I've come the learn about Beatriz Williams is that there are few characters she creates that she leaves untouched --meaning eventually she comes back and tells just about everyone's story. The main character in this book was the sister in last summer's book, A Certain Age...and is also loosely connected to her Prohibition series that is part of her winter series. Again - these are all series but not series. According to her, they are all stand-alone books that are loosely connected.

I really enjoyed this book - I loved the way the story moved back and forth between the two time periods, from Europe during WWI to the 1920s in Florida during the height of Prohibition. I could vividly picture the way life was for Virginia both during the war and then back in Florida after the war. And I loved the letters that Beatriz included from Simon to Virginia - a great way for us to get inside Simon's head. 

With so many characters running around in this book, particularly in the 1920s timeline, it's hard to differentiate the good guys from the bad guys at times. The twists and turns will keep you flipping the pages, especially the last half of the book, until you get til the end. And then we are left with quite the cliffhanger - but for what "series?" I admit - I had to reread the last few pages a few times to make sure I understood what I just read...and now I am desperate for that next book!!!

Beatriz Williams' books are definitely on my must-read list...I know I am in for a treat when I pick one up and I always end up looking forward to the next one as soon as I finish the current one - and luckily she writes quite a few each year. Do you have an author like that - that you must-read? 



  1. Kristin, I'm glad you enjoyed this book so much. I've had my eye on it. I have several must-read authors, including Tatjana Soli and Sweta S. Vikram.

  2. I'm a fan too. Thanks for the review.

  3. I think I will need to sit with pen and paper to help me follow all the ins and outs when I finally reach on this one!!

  4. I loved this one though all the interconnected books can get a little confusing. I didn't realize who Virginia was at first until there was a mention of her father being found guilty of murder and then I put it all together!

  5. I totally missed the connection to A Certain Age (which I read), but I was so confused at the end that I had to go look up what I was missing? Turns out I haven't read the book that is connected to the end.


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