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The Summer Wives: Book summary and reviews of The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams

The Summer Wives

by Beatriz Williams

The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams X
The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams
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  • Published Jul 2018
    384 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams brings us the blockbuster novel of the season - an electrifying postwar fable of love, class, power, and redemption set among the inhabitants of an island off the New England coast ...

In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island as a schoolgirl from the margins of high society, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda's catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools. Isobel Fisher, Miranda's new stepsister - all long legs and world-weary bravado, engaged to a wealthy Island scion - is eager to draw Miranda into the arcane customs of Winthrop society.

But beneath the island's patrician surface, there are really two clans: the summer families with their steadfast ways and quiet obsessions, and the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic workers who earn their living on the water and in the laundries of the summer houses. Uneasy among Isobel's privileged friends, Miranda finds herself drawn to Joseph Vargas, whose father keeps the lighthouse with his mysterious wife. In summer, Joseph helps his father in the lobster boats, but in the autumn he returns to Brown University, where he's determined to make something of himself. Since childhood, Joseph's enjoyed an intense, complex friendship with Isobel Fisher, and as the summer winds to its end, Miranda's caught in a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop's hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the island for nearly two decades.

Now, in the landmark summer of 1969, Miranda returns at last, as a renowned actress hiding a terrible heartbreak. On its surface, the Island remains the same - determined to keep the outside world from its shores, fiercely loyal to those who belong. But the formerly powerful Fisher family is a shadow of itself, and Joseph Vargas has recently escaped the prison where he was incarcerated for the murder of Miranda's stepfather eighteen years earlier. What's more, Miranda herself is no longer a naïve teenager, and she begins a fierce, inexorable quest for justice for the man she once loved ... even if it means uncovering every last one of the secrets that bind together the families of Winthrop Island.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. With just the right touch of bitters, Williams (Cocoa Beach, 2017, etc.) mixes a satisfyingly tempestuous - and eminently beachworthy - follow-up to her beloved Schuyler Sisters series." - Kirkus

"The writing is precise and descriptive, and reading The Summer Wives is like watching a film, complete with love and drama to be envied, bemoaned, and enjoyed." - Booklist

"Longtime Williams fans, readers of historical fiction and mysteries, and anyone seeking engaging plot twists will find satisfaction in these pages." - Library Journal

This information about The Summer Wives was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Cathryn Conroy

Beautifully Written and Brilliantly Plotted
While this may not win an influential literary prize, this book by Beatriz Williams is incredibly entertaining and will likely keep you up reading well past your bedtime. Beautifully written and brilliantly plotted, this is one of those books that will stay with you long after you finish the last page.

This is the story of two very different women—Bianca and Miranda—told over the summer months of three years: 1930, 1951 and 1969. This may sound overly complex, but it is an ingenious and creative way to tell this page-turning story that is not only narratively compelling, but also emotionally searing. The action takes place on Winthrop Island, an exclusive summer enclave for the very wealthy in the Long Island Sound area. There is a natural conflict—usually quite trifling, but sometimes quite dangerous—between the monied families and the year-round islanders who serve them. The book has it all: love, romance, seduction, secrets galore, murder and lots of suspense.

Written like an intelligent and exciting soap opera, it will totally consume you. Yes, dinner will be late tonight!

Sharlene Martin Moore

Another Hit
Quite possibly the best Beatriz Williams novel yet. I fell in love with all the characters and felt drawn into their lives. I felt their sorrows and celebrated their joys. This one kept me up reading very late, as I could not put this book down. The ending was one of the best. 5 stars

Mary B. (Laguna Woods, CA)

Escape to Summer Island
This book is an enjoyable read about the haves and have-nots on an island off of Long Island. The wealthy summer residents spend most of their time drunk and the year round poor residents work hard & are not appreciated by the summer visitors.

georgialadyj

I loved this book!
This was the first book I have read by this author. I have read good reviews of this author's other books so I was excited to receive this ARC. I loved this book. I enjoyed the story and the writing style. The descriptions were vivid and I almost felt like I was on the beach with the characters I will definitely recommend this book to my friends.

Chris (CA)

Summer Wives
The story grabbed me from the beginning and I didn't want to stop reading. It is well written. Alternating between time periods and social classes helped build the suspense of the novel. What is the back story of these characters? What secrets are they hiding? I enjoyed reading about the summer lives of the wealthy. Are all island resort communities like this? The descriptions were so good that I felt as though I were there. I felt I got to know the characters fairly well. I cared about several of them and just felt sorry for others. I did think the story dragged a little toward the end and then the pace picked up again. There is much to discus here for book clubs. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Tracey S.

Loved this book!
I really loved this book! I had never read anything by Beatriz Williams and I want to read all that she has written. I like reading about families that vacation somewhere year after year and those who remain year-round, like Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard, for example and how the locals treat the vacationers. I was hooked from the beginning with wondering why Miranda has returned to the island. But I was a little confused at first because the book jumped from time period to another. But eventually I kept it all straight and enjoyed the book and all it's characters.

...40 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Beatriz Williams Author Biography

Beatriz Williams is the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of The Golden Hour, The Summer Wives, The Secret Life of Violet Grant, A Hundred Summers, and several other works of historical fiction, including three novels in collaboration with fellow bestselling authors Karen White and Lauren Willig. A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA in Finance from Columbia University, Beatriz worked as a communications and corporate strategy consultant in New York and London before she turned her attention to writing novels that combine her passion for history with an obsessive devotion to voice and characterization. Beatriz's books have won numerous awards, have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and appear regularly in bestseller lists around the ...

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