Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Review: A Hundred Summers

By Amy Bromberg

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. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

Just like Overseas, Beatriz's debut novel, A Hundred Summers was extremely difficult to put down right from the start. The story goes back and forth between 1931 and 1938, each chapter alternating between the two. In 1931 Lily and Budgie are best friends in college, where Lily meets and falls in-love with Nick. In the summer of 1938 Lily returns to her family's summer vacation home in Seaview, Rhode Island, with her sister Kiki, and Budgie comes with her husband Nick...yes, Lily's old boyfriend. Why did Lily and Nick separate? How did Budgie and Nick end up getting married? Why is Lily taking care of her sister all the time? These and many other questions and secrets unfold as the story plays out. OMG this would be one fantastic drama on the big screen!

The way that Beatriz writes grabs the reader into every page, just like a when a person is pulled through a time portal in a movie or show (I'm thinking Once Upon A Time and Charmed here). She interweaves the two time periods effortlessly. I was hanging on by a thread at the end of each chapter. I love the development and beauty of the characters and settings. It felt as if I was a blanket away from Lily and Budgie while they were at the beach. Don't tell anyone but part of me wanted to enjoy a cigarette with them too. (Hey, it was in the 1930s, give me a break!). The love that Nick and Lily share in 1931 is like one you see in the movies. My heart beat extra quickly a couple of times, if you catch my drift.

I have confidence in saying that this is one masterpiece of a novel. If you're looking for an ultra engaging summer read, with romance, drama, a little mystery then look no further. It's part of my favorite summers reads list AND favorite books of 2013.

If I didn't convince you to get this extraordinary beach read, then maybe these three articles will:
* Huff Post Best Books Summer 2013
* Connecticut Style Interview
* Vanity Fair Best Beach Reads

Thanks to Beatriz Williams for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Felicia said...

I have this book already packed for my vacation at the beach. Can't wait to divide in!

Thanks for the review!


The Reading Frenzy said...

I LOVED A Hundred Summers, and Beatriz is my new favorite author in any genre. Her debut Overseas was my top pick for 2012 and I hosted her on my B&N forum for March while we read and discussed her debut.
Love love love her :)

Connie said...

Oh, I love the plot here! I must add this to my Wish List as the novel sounds terrific. Thanks for the heads-up!

Connie Fischer

More on Alaska Fishing Lodge, Kingfish Charters and Lodge said...

I got so enthralled with every character and their story lines. I could hardly put it down. I highly recommend!!