The House on Cocoa Beach – by Beatriz Williams – independent book review – Historical Fiction (United States)

Creative story with plenty of twists and turns. Awarded four stars on Goodreads.

The big questions in this book are:
• Who can you trust?
• Who’s telling the truth?
Because neither the protagonist nor the reader figures it out until the very last page.
cocoaPart of what Williams explores so skillfully is the complexity inherent in basic communication in any relationship. Does the speaker intend to be honest with the listener? And what inherent experiences might the listener bring that influence how something heard is interpreted?
It’s another triumph for Beatrix Williams. This one is like watching a gifted magician demonstrate masterful sleight of hand. Even when you think you know what and who to believe, the next moment, it’s all turned around. In fact, there are so many twists and turns to this plot that it reminds me of a Daphne du Maurier masterpiece. Now, the real challenge – how to describe this book without including spoilers?
Here’s my best effort. Virginia Fortescue is the main character and narrator. The novel shifts between three time periods in her life, peppered with additional biographical tidbits from her childhood.
1. 1917 – Virginia is a fearless ambulance driver, shuttling injured soldiers between hospitals during World War I, when she meets war-weary surgeon Simon Fitzwilliam, who is immediately drawn to her plucky and independent spirit.

2. 1919 – Virginia, newly married, is about to meet her husband’s unenthusiastic family, at the height of the influenza epidemic.

3. 1922 – Virginia, recently widowed, decides to head to Florida to look into her late husband’s mysterious business endeavors.
Now, add a few additional and intriguing characters: Simon’s twin brother Samuel, the heiress daughter of a family friend, and several children with questionable parentage — and you get an inventive, disarming and surprising plot you won’t be able to put down.
I haven’t done the plot justice. So, please pick up the book! Because you won’t want to miss this very fun read!
Beatriz Williams

More about Beatriz Williams.


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