Happy Friday y’all!
Excited to share with you today my review for this delightful story that transported me to 1938 Montauk! Another wonderful debut, this has really been a great year for debuts!🤩
sᴜɴ. sᴀʟᴛ. sᴀɴᴅ. ᴍᴏɴᴛᴀᴜᴋ.
Nicola Harrison completely captivated me with this dazzling tale set against the backdrop of 1938 Montauk Long Island. The story had a great sense of place and time. You really got a good handle on the role of women and the class divide in the late 1930s. Sometimes a character would do or say something that would make me cringe and I had to put it in perspective and realize this was a different place and time. This was a romance with a historical setting rather than historical fiction with some romance. Beatrice is a strong smart savvy woman who finds herself in a loveless and childless marriage. Excited and a little hesitant to spend her summer on Montauk Beatrice is hopeful to rekindle things with her husband. When she finds out that he will only be spending the weekends with her she is less than thrilled how is she going to pass her time with these women that she has nothing in common with? Fortunately Beatrice befriends Dolly an older and wiser woman and Elizabeth a local who does laundry for the hotel. Beatrice finds herself more drawn to the locals and the natural beauty of Montauk rather than the socialites and the glitz. When she meets Thomas the lighthouse keeper there is an instant attraction. He is kind and caring and authentic the complete opposite of Beatrice‘s husband Harry. As the summer goes on Beatrice realizes that she is going to need to choose between a life of luxury and true love.
Beatrice was such a likable character I really wanted her to find her happily ever after even if she was technically cheating. Her husband was unfaithful, inattentive, and a misogynist, so I guess I gave her a bit of a pass. I could also see why she was drawn to a simpler life in this charming fishing village rather than trying to position herself all the time in society. Her friend Dolly was such a breath of fresh air. She was so spunky, so ahead of her time, and such a great support to Beatrice. And the hats! Oh the hats! Elizabeth was also a great character a little quieter but just as supportive. The romance in the story was so sweet and tender, I could really sense the chemistry between Thomas and Beatrice. The ending to the story really took me by surprise, and I’m still not quite sure what to think. In the audiobook there was an interview with the author at the end and she said that she always knew that was how the book was going to end. This book is the perfect addition to your summer reading plans. A little romance. A little glamour. A little history. And a whole lot of goodness.
🎧🎧🎧 Erin Bennett narrates the audio and really brings life to the story. Bringing a voice to the character of Beatrice who this entire story is told through the eyes of. In the author interview on the audio Nicola Harrison mentions that she hears the characters voices in her head as she is writing. I thought that was so interesting and how exciting it must be for an author to hear their story brought to life through audio.
*** thank you so much to St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio for my copy of this book ***
About the Book
Montauk, Long Island, 1938.
For three months, this humble fishing village will serve as the playground for New York City’s wealthy elite. Beatrice Bordeaux was looking forward to a summer of reigniting the passion between her and her husband, Harry. Instead, tasked with furthering his investment interest in Montauk as a resort destination, she learns she’ll be spending twelve weeks sequestered with the high society wives at The Montauk Manor—a two-hundred room seaside hotel—while Harry pursues other interests in the city.
College educated, but raised a modest country girl in Pennsylvania, Bea has never felt fully comfortable among these privileged women, whose days are devoted not to their children but to leisure activities and charities that seemingly benefit no one but themselves. She longs to be a mother herself, as well as a loving wife, but after five years of marriage she remains childless while Harry is increasingly remote and distracted. Despite lavish parties at the Manor and the Yacht Club, Bea is lost and lonely and befriends the manor’s laundress whose work ethic and family life stir memories of who she once was.
As she drifts further from the society women and their preoccupations and closer toward Montauk’s natural beauty and community spirit, Bea finds herself drawn to a man nothing like her husband –stoic, plain spoken and enigmatic. Inspiring a strength and courage she had almost forgotten, his presence forces her to face a haunting tragedy of her past and question her future.
Desperate to embrace moments of happiness, no matter how fleeting, she soon discovers that such moments may be all she has, when fates conspire to tear her world apart…
About the Author
Born in England, Nicola Harrison moved to CA where she received a BA in Literature at UCLA before moving to NYC and earning an MFA in creative writing at Stony Brook. She is a member of The Writers Room, has short stories published in The Southampton Review and Glimmer Train and articles in Los Angeles Magazine and Orange Coast Magazine. She was the fashion and style staff writer for Forbes, had a weekly column at Lucky Magazine and is the founder of a personal styling business, Harrison Style. Montauk is Harrison’s debut novel.
Have a magnificent day!🌼