Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Review: A Hundred Summers

A Hundred SummersAuthor: Beatriz Williams
Publication Date: May 30, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Adult

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

“Just give me sunshine and a sandy beach, and I’m happy as a clam.”

After our meal, we’d pass through the rest of the veranda, greeting acquaintances, and when we reached her table I’d be composed, settled into the routine of shaking hands and expressing admiration for new hairstyles and new dresses, of lamenting the loss of elderly members and during the past year, of celebrating the arrival of new grandchildren: the same conversation, the same pattern, evening after evening and summer after summer. I knew my lines by heart. A minute, perhaps two, and we’d be gone.

But for once, Budgie is wrong. In the morning, just before seven, I am awakened by a determined knock at my door. Behind it, a groggy-faced fresher in a plaid robe and round tortoiseshell eyeglasses tells me there’s a fellow on crutches waiting downstairs for me, who wants his jacket back.

And I wanted to be kissed again. I wanted to remember what it felt like when a man held me in his arms, and lowered his head to mine, and told me what I meant to him. I wanted to feel his warm hands and his warm lips on my skin. I wanted to lie next to him, and listen to the sound of his breathing, and know he was mine.

This was the perfect summer read. Set along the beautiful coast line of Seaview, Rhode Island, this book was full of secrets, parties, drama, and the beautiful summer sun. The story focuses around the life of Lily Dane and parallels between 1931 and 1938, and tells the story of her and her ex-best friend Budgie Byrne, Nick Greenwald, and Graham Pendleton and the summer they all met and where their lives took them afterwards. Nick and Graham were both football stars, and Lily and Budgie were just two hopeless college girls that fell in love too fast and too easy.

I absolutely loved the fact that they story alternates between 1931 and 1938. I want to say that this is Lily’s story, but that wouldn’t be totally fair because it is partly the other’s story as well. They all share a part in it at least. The story really picks up pace when you begin reading what is going on in the present day for Lily, 1938, when Budgie comes back to Seaview married to Lily’s ex, Nick Greenwald. Lily didn’t turn out how I expected she would. She was single and practically raising her younger sister, Kiki. She seemed solemn and lonely, but this changes once the secrets start to unleash. The best part of this book is that while you, as the reader, are learning about Lily in the present you also get to see how she and Nick first met and how their relationship developed. It was sweet and endearing!

I love how this story unfolded, and I love the fact that I was made to keep guessing in the beginning. I knew things were going to get juicy, but I never imagined just how juicy. This story is dramatic, sexy, and a little scandalous, and I believe this is the perfect combination. My favorite character was Lily’s little sister, Kiki, whom Lily was practically raising herself. Kiki was a fun-loving child who really was more mature for her age. She usually broke the ice in sticky situations. For example, after Lily sees Nick for the first time in years, Lily jumps in with the cutest, sweetest remark that only a small child could make. She is the perfect addition to this story!

***A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Putnam Adult in exchange for my honest review***

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a really great summer read! Love the setting, simultaneous backstory and developments in the years later! Great review :D