Tuesday, July 9, 2013
A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
Author: Beatriz Williams
Read by: Kathleen McInerney
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Length: 11 hours, 35 minutes
Source: MP3 Audio Review Copy from Penguin Audio – Thank-you!!
Lily Dane is a young socialite spending the summer of 1938 in the Rhode Island Beach town of Seaview as her family has done for generations. Her mother is more concerned about society events and orphans than her own children, so Lily spends her time taking care of her much younger sister, Kiki. Lily’s world is shaken when she learns that her ex-best friend, Budgie Byrne, now Budgie Greenwald will be visiting with her husband Nick. Nick Greenwald was the love of Lily’s life and she has not seen him since he married her best friend.
The novel alternates between 1938 and 1931 when Lily first meets Nick and they fall in love. Nick is Jewish and this causes much angst for Lily who is sure her old-school family will not approve of her relationship with Nick. Things seem to go that way when Nick finally meets Lily’s father, but are things all that they seem to be? What happened to Lily and Nick’s relationship? Is Kiki Lily’s sister or her daughter? These two central questions intrigued me at the very start of the novel and kept me listening with fascination throughout.
A Hundred Summers is the perfect beach read (or listen). It reminded me a lot of one of my favorite books from my teenage years, Colony by Anne Rivers Siddons. An exclusive Northeastern beach front community, family deception and intrigue, and a great ending made this book similar to Colony and a good read.
I loved the characters in A Hundred Summers. Budgie Byrne is the anti-Lily, a friend that is truly out for herself, but also has a vulnerable side. Lily’s Aunt Julie tells it the way it is and loves to live life large. Yankee’s pitcher Graham Pendleton is a handsome famous man that is seemingly picture perfect for Lily. Kiki is a sweet younger sister, although at times, I thought she was a pre-teen from the way she talked and not a six year old girl.
My only complaint about the novel (besides Kiki’s speech) was that Lily really seemed very clueless. I didn’t understand by the end how she couldn’t have put certain pieces of the puzzle together before she did. I wanted to smack both her and Nick. Their love story seemed too syrupy sweet at the beginning. I will admit to being happy that it became a love story filled with intrigue.
I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook version. Kathleen McInerney was a good narrator with a soothing voice. The chapters alternated between past and present and it was great to listen to while working on chores!
Overall, A Hundred Summers was an entertaining book full of intrigue and great characters. If you are looking for a great beach read – I recommend this book!