Summer's nearly over for most of us, but a few folks are still squeezing in that last minute beach trip. And no beach trip, in my opinion, would be complete without a great book. Now, not just any book will do. In order to be a great beach read, a book has to have pizazz and style. It has to catch you off guard, enrapture you, and leave you wanting more. That's Beatriz Williams' novel A Hundred Summers in a nutshell, which is why it's my latest review for Wanderful Reads.
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A Hundred Summers begins with on a crisp autumn morning in the Fall of 1931. Lily Dane is on the way to her first ever football game at Dartmouth University. She’s a bright young student at Smith College, thoughtful and curious. She doesn’t take chances, at least not like her best-friend Budgie Byrne.
Budgie's good looks and flirtatious personality draws attention everywhere they go. It's safe to say that Budgie's pace is a little fast for Lily’s taste. So, it's a surprise to all when Lily’s struck by love at first sight after meeting the handsome Nick Greenwald. And when he shows up at her dormitory at dawn the following morning she was sure he felt the same way.
It was almost instant, the connection between Lily and Nick. They spent every waking moment thinking of each other, penning correspondence to plan their next meeting. Nick drove to Smith from Dartmouth every Sunday that Fall just to spend the day with Lily, to drink her in and commit her to memory.
It wasn’t long before they were designing a way to convince Lily’s parent’s that Nick’s being Jewish shouldn’t matter. They MUST marry. But the two decide to elope on New Year's Eve 1931 when things go terribly wrong. Soon they find themselves racing upstate in the snow and ice in hopes of finding a solution to what others see as a problem. After their passionate night in Lake George Lily is called home by duty and honor, leaving Nick on the train platform surrounded by steam and uncertainty.
Fast forward 7 years, we find Lily and her family summering in Seaview, a quaint little beach community in Rhode Island. The Danes, along with many other prominent New York families, have summered in Seaview for centuries. Tradition and appearances matter here. So it’s no wonder that the club members shield Lily and her 6 year-old younger sister, Kiki, from the gossip.
It doesn’t help when Budgie and her new husband, Nick Greenwald, show up in Seaview to open the Byrne family cottage for the first time in ages. Although she tries, Lily can’t escape facing the Greenwalds, something she’s dreaded since reading about their engagement in the papers six months ago.
What ever happened to the Lily and Nick she once knew? Her gin-soaked fantasies of Nick and Budgie in their seaside cottage was the stuff of nightmares, yet she couldn’t help be drawn in again by Budgie. After all, they had summered together in Seaview for as long as Lily could remember.
When Budgie decides to find Lily a love interest things get even more complicated. But diamond rings aren’t every girls fantasy, not when Nick Greenwald’s around to remind them of the type of man a girl wanted to marry. But nothing’s that simple in Lily’s life, especially not when it comes to Nick. Only a hurricane could simplify their lives.
My Thoughts on A Hundred Summers
Caught between two worlds, A Hundred Summers stretches across the page to grab readers by the hand, immersing them into the story with relentless resolve. The author carefully weaves a sordid web of secrets fit for the big screen, sure to keep readers guessing and pages turning. You can almost feel the flesh, taste the gin and hear the sea breeze when flipping the pages of this magnificent novel.
I couldn’t put it down. I found myself skipping ahead to the end of the next page, full of anticipation and sometimes fear of what was to come next. The author’s words left me breathless at times, aching for the type of emotional and physical contact so eloquently penned. This, my friends, is the stuff of legends when it comes to summer reads.
I can't say enough about this book. It is the essential summer read! Do yourself a favor and get your copy of A Hundred Summers today.
I hope you are enjoying your summer as much as I've enjoyed mine. Stay tuned to more travel-inspiration in my coming posts.
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