Saturday, July 27, 2013

Special Guest Review: A Hundred Summers

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.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
4/5 stars
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2013
355 pages
Adult Historical

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???


  1. Such a great interview/review! It was good to hear your mom's thoughts on the book as well as your own and to get a little bit of an idea of your review writing process.

    I haven't read this book but the description did remind me of The Ashford Affair because of that particular plot point. I have a feeling I will hate Budgie. I wasn't a big fan of Scarlett O'Hara either! Has your mom read A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn? If she likes historical fiction, she might like it.

    I am looking forward to learning more about the hurricane. It isn't something I'd heard of before (or the story about Katherine Hepburn which I'll have to look up!).

    1. Glad you enjoyed the change and thanks for the rec! I put the Raybourn on hold and will see if I can convince her to review it too. I didn't know the Hepburn story either but I want to read that part of her biography to learn about it.

  2. I love the review/interview. Sounds like she really enjoyed it. Glad you both did. :)

    1. She was very happy to stop by-thank you for commenting!

  3. This is wonderful! Like a mother-daughter book club. And with historical fiction--my favorite. The book sounds interesting, although I have a feeling I'm not going to like Budgie. I've got to add it to my TBR list.

    1. I hope you like it-I'm glad to be sharing a review of an HF with my mom because that's probably her favorite genre.

  4. Hi BW1858 and R1809!

    I also love "mini book club" reviews with discussion. It's really interesting to get more than one take on a book.
    I have heard of the great hurricane of 1938, but probably because I live in the Northeast. I'm guessing the book takes place on Long Island? Or Connecticut?
    I echo Christina on Deanna Raybourn - my sister and I pass her books back and forth. I gave Spear of Summer Grass to my sister because I was behind on YA review reading and … hmmm… she has not returned it yet.

    1. The book takes place mostly in Rhode Island alternating with stints in NY, MA, and NH. I loved the setting especially the beach parts.

  5. Love this style of review, it's interesting seeing the differing things you and your mum having taken from the same book ... I love the cover, I love historical fiction and I like the switching time frame perspective.

    1. It was interesting to see what stuck out to her and what stuck out to me. I figured she would unravel the mystery but was surprised by just how fast she did it!

  6. OMG your mom is the cutest and a great reviewer too! I think you should do this more often. Also, about the book, I have this to read for review as well and I am looking forward to it now since you both liked it.

    1. Isn't she just adorable? I'm hoping she'll do a few more for me this year as we come across books we both like.

  7. I love that your mom did this! Very nice overlook of the review. I didn't know about that hurricane thing either. I've seen this book around so much and the cover is always calling my name. Nice to know if I bought it my mom would probably read it too. (She also loves friendship books.)

    1. Thank you for commenting here! I don't know your mom's reading taste but I hope she does like it if you share it with her.

  8. A Hundred Summers left me with a book hangover; every title I have picked up since hasn't held much appeal.
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