Review: A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

June 4, 2013 Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Putnam, Review, Romance 5

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (May 30, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 039916216X
  • Source: Publisher

It’s Memorial Day weekend in 1938. Following family tradition, Lily Dane has left her life in New York and returned with her family to the oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island. Her plans for a peaceful, relaxing summer are changed when the Greenwalds return to Seaview. A painful past full of heartbreaking events comes rushing back to Lily.

Nick and Budgie Greenwald once played a big role in Lily’s life. Budgie was Lily’s best friend; they grew up together sharing many fond memories of Seaview. Nick was once Lily’s fiance, their relationship destroyed seven years ago. Nick and Budgie have recently married, an event that raised quite a few eyebrows and stirred up the gossip in Seaview.

Budgie has returned to Seaview in the hopes of reconstructing her family’s old house…and her relationship with Lily as well. Always one to be the center of the social scene, Budgie takes it upon herself to try to set Lily up with Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton, a “friend” of hers from their college days. Despite this, Lily’s love for Nick cannot be diminished and despite Budgie’s attempts to push her on Graham, Lily can’t stop thinking about Nick. The two are forced to revisit the events that pushed them apart, facing the emotional devastation that ended their relationship. Both are bound by intense emotional obligations, yet when the true circumstances are revealed, both see one another in a completely new light. A a horrific hurricane looms, Lily and Nick must face and overcome their own emotional storms, changing their lives forever.

The setting of this novel plays quite the integral role in this story. A calm, serene beach in the path of a looming hurricane. It’s not hard to draw the connection between what is happening in the setting to that of Nick and Lily’s relationship. This setting is also what will draw readers to embrace this novel. Who can resist a warm beach in the summer, warm sand under your toes?

While I’m typically turned off by love stories in general, the feeling I had after reading Williams’ previous title, Overseas, allowed me to take a chance and dive into this novel.  As I suspected, I was quickly wrapped up, nearly obsessed, with Nick and Lily’s love. Perhaps because it is a love that is true and classic, one that has succeeded in standing the test of time. Using chapters with alternating time periods, Williams so eloquently builds up each of the characters, detailing their transformation and emotional evolution over the past several years.

The characters are extremely rich in this novel. Williams is quite successful at balancing Budgie’s outrageous and obnoxious behavior with the serenity, calm and innocence found in Lily.  How the two could have been friends for so long is beyond me! And the love triangle/square!? Wowser. It was quite intense, I found myself furiously turning the pages to find out what was going to happen.  And the passion? Well, you’ll see for yourself.

My only complaint would be the ending.  I’m ecstatic about what transpired but thought it was an easy means to get to the desired ending. That said, the rich beauty and beautiful writing throughout the novel, the truly dynamic and captivating storyline, really won me over in the end.  If you are looking for a beautiful, rich novel to take you away this summer, this is the title for you. Highly, highly recommended.

5 Responses to “Review: A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams”

  1. Amy

    Great review. I’m on page 100 and would love to do nothing else but keep reading it.

  2. Anita
    Twitter: anitalovesbooks

    I am going to read this one in July with Jennifer, Literate Housewife, really looking forward to it!!

  3. Beth F
    Twitter: BethFishReads

    Have this one near the top of my list … hope I manage to get to it.

  4. Aurora

    Love your review! I have a feeling I will love this book.