Friday, March 28, 2014
A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
In 1932, Lily Dane fell in love. After a drive to see her best friend Budgie's boyfriend play football, Lily met Nick Greenwald. The attraction was immediate and Budgie's response was a derogatory comment about Nick's Jewishness. Not that Budgie really cared what Lily did. Budgie was determined to marry a man of means and she believed she had found that man.
In 1938, Lily is reflecting back upon the glorious time when she was young and in love, courted by Nick. The market crash had destroyed many people and their businesses, others hunkered down and survived. But, life at the beach is the same as it's always been. In recent years Lily has cared for her little surprise sister, Kiki. She knows Budgie has married Nick but little about their marriage, only that tragedy tore Lily and Nick apart and they never managed to come together, again.
As the summer of 1938 winds on, the women at the club try to protect Lily by giving Nick and Budgie the cold shoulder. Only little Kiki is captivated by Nick. They can often be found walking along the beach, building sand castles. Through Kiki, Lily finds herself able to talk to Nick, at times, if only briefly.
What happened to end their relationship when Lily and Nick were on the verge of eloping? Why did Nick escape to Europe? What kind of person is Budgie? Is she really a friend? And, what will happen when an unexpected hurricane crashes to shore at Seaview Neck? Will the summer people survive?
A Hundred Summers is my first read by Beatriz Williams and it won't be my last. I thought the pacing and the shifts back and forth in time were handled brilliantly. There was enough intrigue to keep hanging on, both to find out what happened between Lily and Nick and to discover if there was another man for Lily. Or, was Budgie up to something? Questions, questions. I actually think A Hundred Summers would made a pretty terrific discussion book --- and/or definitely a great vacation read. The book is not so much scandalous as romantic and a little mysterious but scandal enters in here or there. The writing has an easy flow and I found the dialogue comfortably truthful. There were moments I caught words I hadn't heard in a couple decades, which indicted to me that the author did her research.
Highly Recommended - A fairly light book that appears to be pretty solid in its descriptions from the time period, great for a beachy, vacationy read. It's a relaxing read that doesn't require too much brain power but it's still engaging and A Hundred Summers is not just a fluff piece. It's quite an enjoyable, well-researched historical story. I loved the reading. I felt swept away.
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I loved her first book, and also the romances that she publishes under another name. There is just something about her writing style that draws me in! I am super excited for her new book later this year, despite that fact that I haven't read this one yet, although I do currently have it out of the library.ReplyDelete
This is my first by Beatriz Williams so now I'm all fired up to go look for more. She does have a style that pulls you in and I loved the way she held back just enough to keep the pages flying. Hope you love it, Marg!Delete
Nice to see you recommending it so highly. I started this one before the holidays and then fell into my reading funk so I never finished it.ReplyDelete
I know how that goes. There have been times I've associated a book with a reading dry spell but there's really no connection. It just happened to be a time that I needed a mental break and when I pick the book up, again, I love it. Hope that's the case for you with A Hundred Summers.Delete
I've heard good things about this novel and actually started it a month or so ago, but had to return it before I got very far. I'll give it another try. Thanks for the clarification about Lily and Kiki's relationship. Somehow I missed that detail. I kept thinking maybe Kiki was Lily's child born out of wedlock...ReplyDelete
Well, that's what Lily says - Kiki is her sister and her mother and aunt are completely useless at caring for her so Lily is as much surrogate mother as big sis. But, the farther you get into the book, the more you're led to believe that Nick is Kiki's father. I won't tell you how that turned out but I will say dangling her parentage wasn't even necessary, IMHO, because the romance and the question of why it ended are so compelling that there's no need to add another mystery to keep the pages turning.