Series Spotlight: The Summerset Abbey Trilogy by T.J. Brown

Up until now, every single Series Spotlight post I’ve written has been about a series I’m raving about. Sadly, this particular spotlight is on a trilogy that bothered me for a multitude of reasons. The Summerset Abbey trilogy by T.J. Brown started out with an enormous amount of potential.  However, as the series continued I found myself aggravated not only with certain characters, but with larger statements the trilogy was making.

sattjbAll three books revolve around three “sisters.” I say “sisters” because two of the three women, Rowena and Victoria, are actually sisters. The third young woman, Prudence, was their governess’s daughter and was raised like their sister after her mother’s death. When Rowena and Victoria’s father Sir Phillip dies, their uncle steps in to bring them to his estate for his wife to raise. Their uncle is not forward-thinking at all. He believes Prudence has no place in their lives and society, as she’s the daughter of a servant. Thus begins the tale of how one man’s death changes the ideals, lives, and futures of three young women. Rather than talk about each book individually, I’m going to discuss each of the three main female characters.

Prudence: Of the three women, she started out as my favorite. Her plight from a girl raised with wealth, freedom, and status to being thrust into a world of servitude and poverty was captivating. Her odd upbringing did her no favors in terms of helping her find her place in the world. In Rowena and Victoria’s home she was just as they were. Outfitted in nice clothes. Educated and not worked as a servant, though her mother was the governess. Sir Phillip was a man of forward thinking who didn’t believe in the rigidity of the social classes. He encouraged the girls to be freethinkers themselves, and all of this led to Prudence believing she could accomplish great things someday. The girls’ uncle, however, doesn’t believe in this way of thinking and tells Rowena that Prudence is not welcome at his estate. Rowena, needing Pru, tells her uncle that Prudence is really their lady’s maid. This is how Prudence finds herself in the servants quarters. She is not welcome above stairs nor below, as the servants recognize she’s not truly of their class.

I found Prudence to be the character that had the MOST potential and the one that flopped the hardest. She makes a decision at the end of book one that just doesn’t match up to her character’s intelligence at all. Over the course of the next two books we’re left to watch the repercussions of her decision. At the end of three books I still didn’t understand the motives behind her decision nor did I really feel like she was happy. She just seemed resigned to what her life was. And what kind of statement does that tell readers? Here is this young woman, brought up with education, music lessons, and access to the suffragette movement among other things. And where do we see her wind up? Struggling to bake bread and wash clothes. Her potential was completely revoked, the minute that decision at the end of book one was made.

Rowena: From start to finish, I disliked her. From our first introduction to her she’s selfish, impulsive, rude, and stuck-up. I cut her a bit of slack knowing her father had just died, but even in book three – she’s just…ugh, aggravating. All she cares about is herself and finding ways to make her feel “alive.” She allows her uncle to run roughshod over all of her and Victoria’s feelings on moving, their obligations to society, and most importantly, what they can “do” as women. Her inability to help herself or to help others truly bothered me.

Victoria: While she started out a bit boring for my taste, she quickly rose up the ladder in my mind and is the reason why I stuck with the entire series. I wanted to know HER story and her’s alone.  Of the three women she is the only one that fights for what she wants, and the only one that tries to better herself and the world around her. She fights with her Aunt and Uncle about Prudence constantly, even standing up to them pretty amazingly at one point. She becomes a nurse during the war to help those around her. She becomes friends with one of the scullery maids in the estate’s kitchen and brings her to London, giving her a more decent future. She’s definitely the most nurturing of the three women, as she is always worried about the causes of others (a bit naively at some points.)

So what are the larger points of this story that bothered me? For one thing, why were the majority of the women in the books bitches? Also, did the insanely crazy side of the Women’s Suffragette Movement have to be the only one shown? Sure there were women who did crazy things all in the name of women’s rights, but there were also amazing women like Alice Paul and Millicent Fawcett, who could have been used to show another less vindictive/less self-serving side of the movement.

Even with all of the nonsense above that bothered me I do have to give Brown props for her work on the historical front. Her incorporation of the clashing of social classes and overarching effects of the war were done brilliantly.

In (story) chronological order (with my ratings) the series is:

  1. Summerset Abbey – 3 out of 5 Stars
  2. A Bloom In Winter – 2 out of 5 Stars
  3. Spring Awakening – 2 out of 5 Stars

Kim’s Review of The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley

tlglrA few weeks ago Todd wrote a post about what it’s like living with me when a book makes me emotional. As much as I feel bad about making him bear witness to me being a simpering mess, I can’t give up books that elicit strong emotional responses from me.  In my opinion, books that can generate these strong responses are well written, engaging, and in some way relatable. Every book that I’ve read by Lucinda Riley can be categorized as one of these books. Her latest, The Lavender Garden, topped my list of reads for 2013 and is every bit as moving as her last two books The Girl on the Cliff & The Orchid House.

From Goodreads:

La Côte d’Azur, 1998: In the sun-dappled south of France, Emilie de la Martinières, the last of her gilded line, inherits her childhood home, a magnificent château and vineyard. With the property comes a mountain of debt—and almost as many questions . . .

Paris, 1944: A bright, young British office clerk, Constance Carruthers, is sent undercover to Paris to be part of Churchill’s Special Operations Executive during the climax of the Nazi occupation. Separated from her contacts in the Resistance, she soon stumbles into the heart of a prominent family who regularly entertain elite members of the German military even as they plot to liberate France. But in a city rife with collaborators and rebels, Constance’s most difficult decision may be determining whom to trust with her heart.

As Emilie discovers what really happened to her family during the war and finds a connection to Constance much closer than she suspects, the château itself may provide the clues that unlock the mysteries of her past, present, and future. Here is a dazzling novel of intrigue and passion from one of the world’s most beloved storytellers.

As I stated earlier, Riley’s novels make me into a simpering mess. I should add that I LOVE that about her novels. Her novels don’t make me cry due to sadness, they make me cry because of their beauty. The way they explore difficult facets of life. The types of characters she chooses to explore. The Lavender Garden hooked me for one particular reason….the characters. Talk about a smorgasbord of different people!  The mark of good writing is when you get completely immersed into the characters’ lives. You feel joy and pain with them. They aggravate you. They make decisions you cringe or cheer at. Emilie, Constance, Edouard, Alex, etc are all so well-drawn and configured.

Riley is a master at weaving the past and present together in a way where it all makes sense. The elements of mystery, love, romance, and suspense that she is able to incorporate into her stories are what make them such page-turners. The twists and turns present in The Lavender Garden make it difficult to discuss any plot points in-depth without giving things away, so just trust me when I tell you – the emotional journey Riley takes you on is so, so rewarding. If you’ve ever read anything by Kate Morton, you’re sure to enjoy Riley’s novels. And if you’ve never read something by either author you’re sincerely missing out.

5 out of 5 Stars

The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley
Atria Books (2013)
Paperback: 416 pages
ISBN: 9781476703558

Special thanks to Ms. Riley for my review copy!

Jen’s Review of The Storycatcher by Ann Hite

tsahI’m not entirely sure how to review this book without sounding overly cliché. So, let’s start with the fact that I read mainly British or French historical fiction. This book, The Storycatcher by Ann Hite, is neither of those. But after reading some reviews on Goodreads which stated, “I usually don’t read this kind of book, but it was awesome,” I decided to give it a try. I’m very glad I did.

The synopsis really doesn’t do the book justice. It’s far more complex than it leads you to believe. There are many characters and what seems like many plots, however, they come together in a huge spider web (make sure you read the names on each chapter as the POV changes with each one. I did not find it hard to follow, but I can see how one might be confused.)

From Goodreads:

Shelly Parker never much liked Faith Dobbins, the uppity way that girl bossed her around. But they had more in common than she knew. Shelly tried to ignore the haints that warned her Faith’s tyrannical father, Pastor Dobbins, was a devil in disguise. But when Faith started acting strange, Shelly couldn’t avoid the past; not anymore.

Critically acclaimed, award-winning author Ann Hite beckons readers back to the Depression-era South, from the saltwater marshes of Georgia’s coast to the whispering winds of North Carolina’s mystical Black Mountain, in a mesmerizing gothic tale about the dark family secrets that come back to haunt us.

If a book is listed in the “supernatural” category I tend to stay away. I mean, I never finished one of The Babysitter’s Club books because: ghosts. But the “haints,” as they’re called in The Storycatcher are more like messengers than ghosts. The only thing the people on the mountain really had to fear was one who was still alive. The story of these haints had to be told, no matter the cost. Only the truth can allow these haints to rest.

Sins of the past and present collide in this intrinsically woven novel that really is … a page-turner. Suspenseful, interesting, amazing characters and “AHA!” moments make this a very epic read.

5 out of 5 Stars

The Storycatcher by Ann Hite
Gallery Books (2013)
Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN: 9781451692273

Special thanks to Gallery Books for my review copy!

Kim’s Review of Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) by Diana Gabaldon

doadgFour books in and The Outlander Series has quickly become one of (if not my favorite) book series. Each book refuses to be boxed in to any specific genre, allowing Diana Gabaldon to continually exceed her reader’s expectations. In Drums of Autumn, the fourth in the series, we find Jamie and Claire beginning to settle in mid 1760s America, while their daughter Brianna and her historian friend Roger continue to unravel their feelings for each other in the late 1960s.

From Goodreads:

It began at an ancient Scottish stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Dr. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice.

Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became a legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in the American colonies. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century—their daughter, Brianna….

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the circle of stones and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history … and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past … or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong….

With every Outlander book Jamie Fraser takes another piece of my heart and claims it as his. I never thought I’d ever utter those words for anyone other than Fitzwilliam Darcy, but Jamie is my favorite character that has ever been written. Every book gives us another sliver of the enigma that is Jamie Fraser. His strengths, his weaknesses. The depths of his love for Claire, for his family. He truly is the very best of men.

While the events of the book moved a little slow for me at first, the last 600 pages really flew by. Within each Outlander book I’ve found that there is a chapter that just suddenly clicks. Once that click happens the pages and story fly by faster than you realize. For the last 680 pages I didn’t even move from my chair. I became so enthralled by this story and the twists and turns Gabaldon was taking me on. The more thorough introductions to Roger and Brianna were welcome (and surprising) additions as well.

I’ve been told that the series jumps the shark a bit beyond Drums of Autumn, but I’m determined to continue. After all, who doesn’t want more Jamie Fraser?

4 out of 5 Stars

This is my twenty-fourth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
Random House Publishing (2004)
eBook: 928 pages
ISBN: 9780440335177

Kim’s Guest Review of The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle

tpombpmIf you’ve often thought that Mary Bennet from Pride and Prejudice has been neglected in the Austen fan fiction world, listen up. My latest review for Austenprose is on The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle and it’s all about Mary!

I can happily tell you that Mingle gives Mary a story well worthy of her character.

For a direct link to my review, click here!

This is my thirteenth completed review for the Pride and  Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge

This is my twenty-third completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Kim’s Review of Glittering Promises (Grand Tour Series #3) by Lisa T. Bergren

gpltbSeveral months ago I had the pleasure of reading Glamorous Illusions and Grave Consequences, the first two books in Lisa T. Bergren’s Grand Tour series.  The drama immediately took a hold of me, sweeping me with it to Europe.  I was mesmerized by the fashions, the characters, and non-stop action.  For several months I anticipated the release of the conclusion of the trilogy and was pumped when Glittering Promises finally appeared on Netgalley.

From Goodreads:

America’s newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are track the news story of the decade—“Copper Cora,” the rags-to-riches girl—and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn’t going to claim Will’s heart, she might just try…

Sadly, I was a bit disappointed with this final chapter of the Grand Tour series.  After the tumultuous first two books I was expecting a story that would be moved along by an action-filled plot, not one of repetitive relationship misunderstandings.  I don’t mean that I was expecting 47 kidnapping scenarios, or robberies, or anything of that sort.  I just meant that I was expecting the plot to be more about the conclusion of the tour, and a conclusion to the crimes of book one and two, rather than Cora’s decision over who she was going to love.  Having a few misunderstandings when it comes to the romantic side of the story is acceptable, but when it becomes the only device used to move the plot, it can get slightly stale.

On the other hand, I enjoyed the character development of Cora and her siblings.  Seeing them hone their strengths, accept their weaknesses, and become adults responsible for their own futures was a reward for sticking with all three books in the series.  Cora’s journey was unarguably the most well done of all.  The complete transformation from books one through three was incredibly well written and probably my favorite part of the whole series.  This book would have been a total win for me if the plot had more moving it, but I can’t say I’m not satisfied with the trilogy’s conclusion.  The final plot twist in this book really shocked and surprised me (Bergren sure knows how to keep you on your toes!)  If you’re looking for a clean historical fiction that focuses on finding one’s self, this series is a sure bet.

3 out of 5 Stars

This is my twenty-second completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren
David C. Cook (2013)
eBook: 496 pages
ISBN: 9780781410854

Special thanks to David C. Cook publishing for my review copy via Netgalley!

Kim’s Review of Born of Persuasion (Price of Privilege #1) by Jessica Dotta

bopjdPride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Jane Eyre are my three favorite novels.  It’s no surprise then that a novel being marketed with Austen’s humor and the dark drama of a Brontë novel immediately made it on to my must-read list.  Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta is a unique combination of these two opposite traits, and definitely seemed like something I couldn’t pass up.

From Goodreads:

The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.

With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.

I was at first very iffy about my feelings towards this book.  Born of Persuasion is the first in the Price of Privilege trilogy and is written with a serious amount of foreshadowing.  I think what made me feel so conflicted with all the foreshadowing is that much of it is foreshadows books two and three (it is a trilogy after all.)  While I enjoy dark drama (hello, I love Jane Eyre!) I sometimes became lost in what was going to be future story and what was the present story.  By the end of the novel, however, I had become so mesmerized by the characters that the foreshadowing issues fell away.  In fact, by the end I was eagerly anticipating the next two novels.  The final third of the book flew by must faster than the first two-thirds, and before I knew it I was ready for round two (book two, Mark of Distinction, has a possible publication date of early next summer.)

Dotta’s writing truly shines with all of the crazy plot twists and turns.  Just when you think you’ve figured out a plot line or a character, something shifts and you’re left trying to piece it all together again.  It’s evident that the gothic-ness of Brontë’s writing and social humors of Austen’s writing were inspirational for Dotta.  Born of Persuasion truly feels like a book that the two women could have worked on together.  Julia herself is a cross between Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennet, and Anne Elliot (to say the least).  So, if you’d love to see this pseudo-collaboration firsthand, pick up a copy.  Janeites and Bronte fans (as well as historical fiction fans) will love it!

4 out of 5 Stars

This is my twenty-first completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta
Tyndal House Publishers (2013)
Paperback: 435 pages
ISBN: 9781414375557

Special thanks to Silver Seas PR for my review copy!

Kim’s Review of Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

bjdIf you were to ask me what my absolute favorite genre to read is I’d tell you historical fiction in a heartbeat.  I love being given the opportunity to read about a period of time I’ll never experience.  I also enjoy being given the opportunity to learn what the culture of the period was.  When I learned that Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson offered me these chances and more, I instantly sent in a request to review it.

From Goodreads:

Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.

Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?

Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a Regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to follow her heart. It is Wuthering Heights meets Little Women with a delicious must-read twist.

I am completely and utterly in love with this book.  There is no simpler way to put it.  The characters, the setting, THE WRITING – it’s all exquisite.  Donaldson’s writing drew me in from page one.  I became completely mesmerized by Kate’s struggle as a woman in the early 1800’s.  Her struggle for freedom, independence, and love was written in an entirely realistic manner.  The anxiety and anger she feels over her lack of independence was clearly laid out before me.  As a reader, I felt the cage she was trapped in just as much as she did.  Kate’s struggle of trying to hide her true feelings for Henry nearly killed me.

Kate and Henry are just fascinating characters.  Henry is this beautiful old-fashioned gentleman with a (in my opinion) modern way of thinking.  He wants Kate to have her freedom and go to India, even at great cost to himself.  Their story is equal parts tragic and romantic.  Heart-warming and heart-breaking.  The journey Donaldson takes us on in Blackmoore is filled with twists and turns, humor, romance, intrigue, and above all, personality.

I highly recommend checking out Blackmoore, especially if you’re a fan of Austen, Bronte, or Gaskell.  I’m so impressed (and in love) with this book that I’m heading out this weekend to get myself a copy of Donaldson’s debut novel Edenbrooke.  

5 out of 5 Stars

This is my twentieth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

This is my sixth completed review for the Color Coded Challenge

Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
Shadow Mountain Publishing (2013)
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN: 9781609074609

Special thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing for the review copy I received via Netgalley!

Kim’s Guest Review of Secrets and Lords by Justine Elyot

saljeMy super-bestest reading buddies Kelly (from Reading with Analysis), Tasha (from Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books), and I all found a book entitled Secrets and Lords by Justine Elyot on Netgalley that we decided was a must read. Why did we decide this? I don’t know. Something about the summary spoke of a book we’d find humorous.

You can find what we’re calling our “Ménage à review”, here. Unsurprisingly, it’s hilarious.

This is my nineteenth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Jess’s Review of A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

ahsbwWith about a month and a half of summer time left here on the East Coast, it’s not too late to crack open your next beach read. Grab a fruity drink, slather on the SPF, and check out A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams. Set in the 1930’s in the fictional town of Seaview, Rhode Island, this love triangle is anything but old-fashioned.

I had the sincere privilege of meeting Beatriz Williams at an author event at my favorite bookstore, R.J. Julia in Madison, CT, where I picked up the book. The best way to describe Williams is energetic and delightful. Her presentation was part writer’s workshop, part history lesson, and part book teaser. She began by explaining that the year and location of the story was greatly influenced by The Great Hurricane of 1938. Having lived in New England for the past seven years and having grown up in New York I was surprised that I had never learned about this hurricane. It devastated the New England coastline and claimed the lives of over 700 people on a mild afternoon turned hell on earth. Williams explained that the lack of advanced weather tracking radar at the time had led weather casters to believe that the hurricane would go out to sea. Little did they know it would take direct aim at the New England Coastline. People had little to no advanced warning of the storm’s approach, and as Williams showed us in her presentation, the storm packed a punch that literally wiped entire towns off the map (you can see before and after photos here.)

Seaview, Rhode Island, the setting for A Hundred Summers, is largely based on the real life town of Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Williams explained that her inspiration for the story began with her interest in the idea of how New Englanders “summer” and how little enclaves of families traditionally relocate for the summer months from their homes in New York City, Boston, and inland to the same beach homes with the same families for generations. Think old money. Think mother playing bridge at the club while the kids search for shells and take tennis lessons, while father comes to visit on the weekend to let the stench of city grime be whisked away by the brisk salty summer air.

Obviously this information drew my attention immediately because before you even read the book you now know that it takes place during a summer that culminates with this destructive hurricane. At this point, I don’t even know the plot but I’m worried about these fictional characters and what is going to happen to them while they’re hanging out on the beach as the storm approaches. I want to warn them, but it’s 2013 and they do not exist. (In the literary world this is what is known as, “I need to get out of the house a little more”….but I digress).

My signed copy!

My signed copy!

The story starts simply with two friends, Lilly and Budgie, during their college years in 1931. The two girls sit in the bleachers at a Dartmouth football game, Budgie with her eye on the star football player Graham Pendleton, while Lilly’s eyes lay claim to Nick Greenwald. Both Lilly and Budgie are native New Yorkers with blue blood running in their veins.  While Budgie is outgoing and a little more sexually adventurous, Lilly is pretty, reserved, and poised to follow the rules of her upper class upbringing. Lilly’s life changes when Budgie invites Nick and Graham out to dinner. Budgie and Graham embark in a little back seat rendezvous while Lilly and Nick immediately connect and begin an intense love affair. Lilly and Nick’ s love is beyond the superficial college hook up. It is a jumping-on-Oprah’s-couch, let’s elope and be together forever kind of love.  The problem is, Nick is Jewish and in Lilly’s circle this is forbidden. Once college ends, Nick and Lilly refuse to go their separate ways and when old social standards come back into play at home in New York, Lilly and Nick are put to the test.

Skip ahead to 1938 and Lilly finds herself single with her mother, aunt, and little sister Kiki at their family summer home in Seaview. Lilly is the type of woman who does what is expected of her so she dutifully goes to look after her sister, even though Seaview is a little tired for a single woman in her late 20’s. This summer turns out to be a bit different because an old friend is about to return to town. Budgie, and her new husband Nick Greenwald, are returning to her old summer home after leaving it empty for many years.  Years earlier Nick and Lilly’s love affair came to a crashing and heartbreaking end, and of course Budgie had no qualms about taking Lilly’s place right beside Nick. What could have been a summer of simple awkward encounters between the newly married couple and spiteful ex-best friend/ex-girlfriend turns into a life changing and heart-wrenching summer where the secrets from the past catch up with the characters in the present (even Graham Pendleton makes an appearance!)

Williams keeps the story moving along quickly and I was never bored. Unlike some other stories which fail to keep the plot moving when alternating between two stories in two different time periods, Williams writes with such great precision that I never felt like I was getting confused or that the plot was stalling. The way she reveals secrets and details little by little will keep you guessing because nothing is as it seems. The character’s lives change quickly and history is re-written especially in the last 100 pages. No spoilers here, but there is a moment toward the end where you will gasp, sit straight up in your seat and say OH EM GEEE (OMG)!

The characters and landscapes are written in such a way that you feel the sand between your toes as you sit on the beach with them. Budgie is the ultimate frenemy (a friend who is also an enemy…ladies, you know what I’m talking about), who has a wit as sharp as a tack, the looks like a pin-up girl, and the scheming mind of a James Bond villain. You won’t be able to help but feel the fire between Lilly and Nick during their most intimate moments. The fact that Williams makes it known that the plot culminates with a furious hurricane is brilliant, as it brings this very emotionally charged story to its peak.  Readers who are familiar with New York City and New England will enjoy picking up on the little bits of familiar geography as the characters roam up and down the I-95 corridor.

A Hundred Summers is a very entertaining read that takes the old love triangle tale and gives it a fresh perspective. The historical context is extremely well researched and presented, not just with the hurricane but also with the vastly changing feminist ideals of the time period. I always love a book where I can have a connection with the characters that results in me wanting to root for them.  A Hundred Summers delivered just that. I cannot wait for Beatriz Williams’ next book, and with any luck she will return to R.J. Julia when it is released.

5 out of 5 Stars

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
Penguin Group (2013)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN: 9780399162169