A Hundred Summers
by Beatriz Williams
Why did you choose this book? I won this book and it looked like a good summer read
When did you read this book? July 2013
Who should read this book? anyone looking for a summer read
Source: hard copy won from publisher
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 fiancé, 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.
I saw this book on someone’s blog, so when I saw the chance to win copies for my bookclub, I grabbed it. I did not win the book club set, but I did win a single copy for myself. The cover was inviting, so I made sure to make time for this book.
Though I’m sure some will classify this as historical fiction, there is very little actual ‘history’ in the book. There IS however, a lot of ‘flavor’ from the 1930’s, and you get a feel of the attitudes and clothing of the day, and especially how the ‘summer people’ lived. I would consider this more ‘period fiction’.
The book takes place during the summer of 1938 on the beaches of Rhode Island, with flashbacks to 1931-1932. Lily Dane was engaged to Nick Greenwald during their senior year of college in the winter of 1931-32. Flashing forward to summer of 1938, Nick is now married to Lily’s best friend, Budgie, and Lily has a 6 year old little sister. The summer people of the beach community have watched Lily grow up and are more than willing to accept that the child is Lily’s ‘little sister’. Lily has not spoken with Nick since she broke off their engagement, and tries hard to avoid him now. Nick also had a best friend in college, Graham Pendleton, who happens to have cousins on the island who invite him to summer with them in summer of 1938. And Graham and Budgie were an item in college! Needless to say, there is a lot of tension that summer.
This was a quick summer read. It was a bit predictable at times, and at times you had to wonder... If YOU had it figured out, what took Lily so long?? And I did feel that with the storm at the end, some of the ‘loose ties’ got wrapped up just a little too neatly. But the only real issue I had was with Lily’s father, supposedly very tolerant in an age when some weren’t. (The book often mentions Nick being unacceptable because he is a Jew, but Lily feels her father will have no problem with this.) I’m still not sure why Lily’s father had the outburst he had when he was introduced to Nick BEFORE the New Year of 1932. I don’t want to give any spoilers, so I’m not going to go say anymore about it, but there are parts of that detail that I don’t understand.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was about what you expect in a summer read. And if you think you understand Lily’s father’s outburst, please leave me a comment!
My Rating: ★★★1/2 3-1/2 Stars