Today is a special treat as my mom is stopping by to share her thoughts on this book :) Please welcome Reader1809, who completed an interview with me to compose this review; I'll be sharing my thoughts as well.
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2013
Source: Received an ARC through Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.
B: Hi Mom, welcome to the blog! I'm going to ask you some of the questions I usually ask myself when composing a review. To start, why did you want to read this book? (When mom wants to read a book, she gives me the title to put on hold at the library.)
R: Book seemed like a fun summer read (it has summer in the title.) I like books about friendship.
B: I wanted to read this after seeing how much you enjoyed it and also because I like historical fiction.
B: Okay, second prompt is to describe the plot in brief.
R: The main character meets the love of her life in college. Fast forward 7 years and this love is married to her best friend. Story alternates between the year they met 1931/2 to the present day 1938 to explain what happened.
B: Now, we start the review in earnest. What did you think about the characters?
R: I really liked main character Lily and her love Nick. The best friend, Budgie, was not likable from the start and should have been developed more. I could relate to the Lily character; she was nice and nurturing and I think I am like that.
B: I would second that description of you. I liked those characters a lot although I think I had more sympathy for Budgie-I love the calculating woman who goes after what she wants but eventually even Budgie pushed past the bounds of what I could tolerate.
B: What did you think of the plot and writing?
R: Plot was similar to other stories I've read (like Scarlett going after men in Gone With the Wind). I also liked how one chapter was in 1931 and then the next in 1938 and how the story continued alternating between the two. Also liked the way they incorporated the famous New England hurricane of 1938 with these characters.
B: I agree that the plot was very akin to other stories (I'm thinking specifically of The Ashford Affair, which I read earlier this year and has the same basic plot of best friend steals girl's love) and most everything felt very familiar. I am wondering if my readers know about the hurricane; it was not known to me but you have a funny story about it.
R: Yes, I was telling some of my friends about this book and they had never heard of the hurricane. Of course, I had told your dad about it and he came right back with knowledge about the storm including the fact that Katharine Hepburn almost died in it. My friends replied that they weren't alive back then; well, neither was your father so that's not much of an excuse!
B: Did anything infuriate you? (I know I am often driven to comment on the things that bother me.)
R: I don't know about infuriate but unfortunately I guessed what happened between the couple early in the story so the ending was not a surprise for me.
B: Don't watch Castle or Psych or any of those detective shows with my mom as she has a tendency to spoil them within about 15 minutes!
R: I also didn't personally like Budgie since I couldn't relate to her but I found her fascinating to read about.
B: Would you recommend this book? To whom?
R: Yes, I highly recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction. It is an enjoyable book to read.
B: I think it is a fun beach book-though there are darker moments, it still moves quickly
B: Overall, what is your impression?
R: Kudos to the author for including two other books on the hurricane that one could read if interested. Also really liked how she added an epilogue dated 1944. I am the type of reader who wants to know what the characters are doing years later!
B: I thought you would like that part-you always want to see a wedding or a family with kids at the end of romantic comedies :)
B: To end, do you have any thoughts about the cover?
R: Simple cover that shows two girls in the sand under an umbrella. Girls are missing drinks in hand (B: there is a lot of drinking in this book considering half of it is set in Prohibition and almost all of it is set in stodgy New England) and/or books and/or towels. Why are they wearing shoes???