Monday, July 16, 2018

Book Review: The Summer Wives

By Sara Steven

In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island in Long Island Sound as a naive eighteen year old, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. Although a graduate of the exclusive Foxcroft Academy in Virginia, Miranda has always lived on the margins of high society. When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda is catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools. Isobel Fisher, Miranda’s new stepsister—all long legs and world-weary bravado, engaged to a wealthy Island scion—is eager to draw Miranda into the arcane customs of Winthrop society.

But beneath the Island’s patrician surface, there are really two clans--the summer families with their steadfast ways and quiet obsessions, and the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic workers who earn their living on the water and in the laundries of the summer houses. Uneasy among Isobel’s privileged friends, Miranda finds herself drawn to Joseph helps his father in the lobster boat, but in the autumn he returns to Brown University, where he’s determined to make something of himself. Since childhood, Joseph has enjoyed an intense, complex friendship with Isobel Fisher, and has a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop’s hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the Island for nearly two decades. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

The time transition between who Miranda had been in the 1950’s, and who she becomes nearly two decades later was well written and well explained. I could sense the growth and maturity, while still feeling the yearning she has for the past she left behind. The same distinct details work for the other primary characters as well, like with Isobel and particularly with Joseph. Real depth and sincerity when it comes to the passing of time, and given what each person has had to endure over so many years, they seem to find themselves when Miranda comes back to the island. It felt true to the situation.

I was transported back in time, back into an era I’ve always wanted to be a part of. The scenery, the way the characters communicate with one another, the way they dress and behave felt very reminiscent to what those decades would have been like, the years of prosperity and protest. And there are so many intricacies to The Summer Wives, beginning with the multiple story lines of various characters, stories that ultimately weave and blend in together, creating a masterpiece of subtle mystery. It felt like skipping a rounded pebble into a still lake, the wake of it undulating into everyone and everything. Hidden secrets and lies that are better left unsaid and untold, but as is the case with secrets and lies, the truth will eventually come out.

This island, it's like a secret society, and I’d been given the privilege of looking inside and discovering why the relationships are dissolving, why there is so much contention and hidden motivations, the kind that ultimately leads to everyone’s undoing.

Thanks to Bookperk for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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1 comment:

Janine said...

This book sounds very interesting.