Boardwalk Summer was a great summer vacation read. I took it with me for the long drive to visit my sister in Iowa. Boardwalk summer had everything I love in a novel – I love two points of view modern day and historical. I love a good mystery and I especially love great characters. I found this book very engaging.
In 1940, Violet Harcourt is unhappily married to Charles in beautiful Santa Cruz California. Their marriage started off wonderful, but Charles temper soon has Violet fearing for her life. She dreams of becoming a star and enters the Miss California pageant with her friend Evie without admitting she is married (being married would disqualify her). When she wins, she thinks her dreams have come true, but she hasn’t bargained for the temper of her husband.
In 2007, Marisol (Mari) Cruz is a single mother raising her daughter. She is a history major, but her daughter’s birth right after she graduated from college has her stuck living with her parents, working in a restaurant and raising her daughter Lily. She revers her late Grandfather Ricky Cruz who was a performer on the Santa Cruz boardwalk in the 1940’s. After she gets a weekend job as a historian on the boardwalk for the City, she starts to dig into her grandfather’s past more and discovers he was friends with the mysterious Violet Harcourt. She also discovers that Violet committed suicide in 1940. What drove Violet to this desperate act? While solving this historical mystery, Mari also meets newcomer Jason and finds herself willing to feel love again.
I really enjoyed this story. I loved the historical fiction back drop. I really loved Violet’s trip to Hollywood and seeing the dark side of fame. It was also interesting to delve into domestic violence in a time when there wasn’t much help for abused ladies. I really enjoyed the mystery as well, I wasn’t sure what direction it was going to take.
The novel alternated between Violet’s viewpoint in 1940 and Mari’s viewpoint in 2007 which I enjoyed. I loved Mari’s story as well and really wanted to see her pull herself up by her book straps and follow her dreams.
Overall, Boardwalk Summer was a very engaging novel that is a perfect take along for any summer vacation. I want to read more by this author as I had a hard time putting this book down!