Book Review: A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

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A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
Genre: Historical fiction
Release date: May 30, 2013
Publisher:Putnam Adult
Pages: 357 pages
See it on GoodReads | See it on Amazon

GoodReads Description: “Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak.

That is, until the Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview.

Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily’s past: her former best friend and her former fiancΓ©, now recently married—an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie’s arrival to restore her family’s old house puts her once more in the center of the community’s social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily's friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction...and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations.

Under the scorching summer sun, the unexpected truth of Budgie and Nick’s marriage bubbles to the surface, and as a cataclysmic hurricane barrels unseen up the Atlantic and into New England, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional cyclone of their own, which will change their worlds forever.”

Beatriz Williams, you have officially been added to my short-list of favorite authors!  I LOVED this book!  It is absolutely everything that a historical fiction novel should be! 5 stars!

I know that the love story can be a little sappy and there were a couple other minor flaws I could point out – but I’m not going to!  Because the writing was so amazing!  I don’t even care about any of that stuff!  I totally devoured this book.  My two year old is constantly stealing my phone (yes, I read an e-book version – don’t kill me!), iPad, whatever I try to read on when he is awake so I read most of this in the middle of the night – ha-ha I know some of you guys can relate!  My husband woke up and was like I thought you were tired?  Me: I am.  But I’m reading.  Him: Oh boy you’re gonna be grouchy tomorrow.  Sorry – not sorry!  Totally worth it!  (And by the way I totally wasn’t grouchy – I just drank extra coffee!)

I loved so much about this story and the sweet romance, but these are the things I loved most:

I loved Lily – the main character.  She was kind of shy and awkward next to Budgie’s outgoing confidence.  And that was totally me.  I even had a friend that was kind of like Budgie (in the beginning of the book, not the evil Budgie later on).  So of course I was instantly into Lily as a character.  I understood her insecurities – the way she compared herself to her friend.  Completely relatable.  Then she meets Nick and I’m like yes!  He’s perfect for her!  The whole time I totally pictured him as Lord Gillingham from Downton Abbey – anyone else?? He has the curly dark hair and his eyes crinkle at the sides just like Nick’s are described as doing.

I also loved everything about the setting.  Beatriz Williams did an amazing job of setting the scene.  I felt like I was there – and I want to go back!  To Seaview specifically.  Did anyone else get a little bit of a Great Gatsby flashback from this?  I know it’s 1930s instead of 1920s, but all the money and parties and drinking – some Great Gatsby style pining – East and West Egg vs. East and West Neck??? And Gatsby is one of my absolute faves!

If you have a Beatriz Williams sitting on your To-Be-Read list – like I did forever – pick it up and read it!  You’ll wonder why you waited so long.

Why YOU need this book:
It will transport you to another time and place.
The characters are interesting and relatable.
The love story will make you swoon.  Just the right amount of sweet & sad.
The writing is amazing!

Favorite Quotes:

“’Remember to ask him about himself.  They love that.  And for God’s sake, don’t talk about books.’”

“’It’s always different, isn’t it, until it turns out to be the same.’”

“’A fellow’s got to settle down sometime doesn’t he?  And if he’s going to settle down, he might as well settle down with a girl like you.’

I flicked ash onto the wet rocks below.  ‘Pretty, but not too pretty.  Quiet, but not too quiet.  Virtuous, but not too virtuous.’”

Book Soundtrack: “Every Little Thing” by Carly Pearce
Here’s a line from the song:
“Every little thing
I remember every little thing
The high, the hurt, the shine, the sting
Of every little thing”

100% spot-on for the 1938 timeline in this book!