A Hundred Summers – by Beatriz Williams – independent book review – Historical Fiction (United States)

Beatriz Williams delivers another page-turner, inspired by the Hurricane of 1938, which doesn’t actually make its appearance until late in the book. Awarded four stars on Goodreads.

hundredsummersWilliams again uses the device of alternating chapters, from two different times, 1931 and 1938. The central character and narrator is Lily Dane– a privileged, well-educated New Yorker whose family has owned a beach house along the coast of Rhode Island for generations.

At the start of the book, Lily and her lifelong friend, “Budgie” Bryne, travel from Smith College to Dartmouth one weekend where they meet up with a couple of prominent football players. The shifting relationships and romances among these four characters lay the foundation for the story. Layered on top of that, mix in a bit of elite snobbery, alcoholism, anti-Semitism, Depression era financial disasters, and a secret lovechild and you get all the elements needed to make this a compelling read.

There are lots of twists and turns to the plot that don’t get resolved until the final chapter. While I don’t think this book has quite the substance or sophistication of THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT, I definitely plan to keep reading Beatriz Williams.

If you are interested, check out the author’s website and/or here are reviews of other Beatriz Williams books:

The Secret Life of Violet Grant

The House of Cocoa Beach

The Wicked City

A Certain Age

The Summer Wives

Tiny Little Thing

Along the Infinite Sea

A Hundred Summers


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