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…”
Montauk is the debut novel by Nicola Harrison. Through the eyes of Beatrice Bordeaux, we are taken to the shores of Montauk which was still a sleepy town in the late 1930s. Beatrice finds out that she will be spending the summer at the new luxury resort Montauk Manor which is nestled in a closely knit village.
Life for both Beatrice and the U.S. is a bit tumultuous at the time and we learn about her struggles in her own marriage and roles as a woman while also getting a wider view of life around her..specfically the small fishing town and the residents who many are barely making it by.
While being a character study, there are nods to anti-Semitism, sexism, privilege, loss, and fertility. Harrison’s descriptions of the people, clothing, and environment drew me right into this storyline. Her writing is captivating and engrossing and the multifaceted characters and storylines added a lot of depth that made this so much more than just a beachy romance.
I rooted for Beatrice and loved seeing her find her courage and strength once again. I highly recommend this beautifully written story and if you have enjoyed books by Anita Shreeve or Beatrix Williams I think you will enjoy this one as well.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Hello! Can you believe it is already almost mid-May? While it is still not feeling entirely like spring over here in Vermont, the countdown is on until the end of the school year which means warmer weather will be here eventually. During the last month of school, life feels pretty hectic with spring sports and end of the year activities for the kids. It is a fun time of year but also a little exhausting!
When life feels more chaotic, I am drawn to books that are engaging but also easy to pick up in shorter chunks of time. Summer tends to be filled with lots of exciting things but it also flies by. As a photographer, my work life is the busiest in the summer and it also happens to be the time of year that EVERYTHING happens in Vermont because it is finally nice out.
It is a wonderful time of year but also sometimes a bit harder to concentrate on reading. I tend to pick books that are a little more lighthearted and super easy to engage with during the summer. Below is my list of books of upcoming summer releases that I have either already read or have been highly recommended to me by other book reviewing friends. They are a mix of fiction, romance, mystery, and thrillers and I hope you find some that are a perfect fit for your summer reading list.
Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.
Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.
But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?
In her most ambitious novel yet, Jennifer Weiner tells a story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world?
“Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.
When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her–until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley.
So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?”
“Emmeline lives an enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world through her senses. What he won’t explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them. As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity, until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out into the real world–a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to her identity, a quest that challenges the limits of her heart and imagination.
Lyrical and immersive, The Scent Keeper explores the provocative beauty of scent, the way it can reveal hidden truths, lead us to the person we seek, and even help us find our way back home.”
“Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century. It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same: Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother and her worried mother, each of them hiding a troubling secret. As the summer heats up, Ted Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, man flies to the moon, and Jessie and her family experience their own dramatic upheavals along with the rest of the country.
In her first historical novel, rich with the details of an era that shaped both a nation and an island thirty miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again earns her title as queen of the summer novel.”
1. Alexa is their best friend 2. They hate each other After an “oops, we made a mistake” night together, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking, agreeing they would end it once the wedding is over. When it’s suddenly pushed up and they only have a few months left of secret rendezvouses, they find themselves regretting that the end is near. Two people this different can’t possibly have a connection other than the purely physical, right?
But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love.”
“Assigned to the same suite during their freshman year at Quincy-Hawthorne College, Lainey, Ji Sun, Alice, and Margaret quickly become inseparable. The leafy green campus they move through together, the idyllic window seat they share in their suite, and the passion and ferocity that school and independence awakens in them ignites an all-encompassing love with one another. But they soon find their bonds–forged in joy, and fused by fear–must weather threats that originate from beyond the dark forests of their childhoods, and come at them from institutions, from one another, and ultimately, from within themselves.
The Other’s Gold follows the four friends as each makes a terrible mistake, moving from their wild college days to their more feral days as new parents. With one part devoted to each mistake–the Accident, the Accusation, the Kiss, and the Bite–this complex yet compulsively readable debut interrogates the way that growing up forces our friendships to evolve as the women discover what they and their loved ones are capable of, and capable of forgiving. A joyful, big-hearted book that perfectly evokes the bittersweet experience of falling in love with friendship, the experiences of Lainey, Ji Sun, Alice, and Margaret are at once achingly familiar and yet shine with a brilliance and depth all their own.”
‘”I’m so sorry. My son has been getting into people’s houses and meddling with their computers. He’s broken into yours…”
That anonymous note has arrived at houses in a quiet leafy suburb of Rochester, New York. It seems that a teenager has been sneaking into houses and getting up to no good. His mom found out and felt she had to apologize. But she kept the boy’s name out of it. So the cops wouldn’t come calling.
But now, her neighbors know some kid has been through their homes, rooting through their lives, maybe finding out things best kept hidden. Starting with what happened to that woman down the street whose husband has reported her missing. He says he doesn’t know where she is. But it’s always the husband, isn’t it?
Maybe her son found out something about that. Or maybe he found out something else. Because in this neighborhood there are a lot of secrets. Secrets that people might kill to keep quiet. And kill again…’
“No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.
As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story . . . until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.
Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s sordid past and into the secrets kept within its walls. What she discovers pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.”
“Evvie, Maggie, and Topher have known one another since college. Their friendship was something they swore would last forever. Now years have passed, the friends have drifted apart, and they never found the lives they wanted—the lives they dreamed of when they were young and everything seemed possible.
Evvie starved herself to become a supermodel but derailed her career by sleeping with a married man.
Maggie married Ben, the boy she fell in love with in college, never imagining the heartbreak his drinking would cause.
Topher became a successful actor, but the shame of a childhood secret shut him off from real intimacy.
By their thirtieth reunion, these old friends have lost touch with one another and with the people they dreamed of becoming. Together again, they have a second chance at happiness…until a dark secret is revealed that changes everything.
The Friends We Keep is about how despite disappointments we’ve had or mistakes we’ve made, it’s never too late to find a place to call home.”
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Hello! How is your week going? This is our last week before school vacation. After spring break the rest of the school year always flies by. It’s hard to believe but summer will be here before we know it. There are SO many amazing summer books that are coming out this year and I can’t wait to share more about them soon.
So far I have read the ARC of Mrs. Everything and it was amazing!! Jennifer Weiner has always been one of my very favorite authors and this might be my favorite of hers yet. You can read my Goodreads review of Mrs. Everything HERE.
In all seriousness, we are reaching the age of definitely needing to have this conversation with our older son and a friend recommended the book, It’s Not the Stork! as a guide for having a positive and proactive conversation.
I also always had access to a bunch of books about puberty and body changes as an older kid and pre-teen and I found them so helpful. I appreciated that it was never an uncomfortable thing to talk or learn about while I was growing up and I want to provide that same thing for our kids…but it is really is tough to know the right way to start the conversation!
Our kids definitely know how babies get OUT, but we haven’t had the whole how they get in there conversation quite yet. Any tips, websites or other book suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Currently Listening to…
I have been loving Laura Tremaine’s new podcast 10 Things To Tell You. I have always loved hearing Tremaine discuss books but she is so open and insightful about so many other topics as well. I listened to her podcast episode this morning discussing “Who did you expect to be?” and I just loved it. I found her relatable, real and funny and I think you would enjoy it too.
I am also so excited that the Committed Podcast is back for season two! I love Jo Piazza as an author (Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win was one of my top books from 2019) but she is also an amazing podcast host and interviewer. The stories she shares are real and raw and also so inspiring.
If you haven’t tried these foot peel masks yet, you are MISSING OUT…especially with summer (and sandals) weather on its way.
I’ll admit, I was skeptical when I first heard about these things a few years ago but now I am a full convert. You soak your feet in these little booties for an hour and a half or so, and then you wait. At first, you think nothing is happening…and wonder if you just wasted your time and money….but then it starts!
All the dead skin peels off your feet and if you are lucky, it even falls off in little sheets, which may sound disgusting but I found it quite intriguing…don’t knock it until you try it! And you don’t have to just take my word for it, there are 1000s of reviews out there that even include photos like this article HERE…which I know you are curious about and it also has some great tips.
I recommend taking a bath a few times the days after you do the peel for maximum results and peeling. I have tried many kinds, including Baby Foot and they all work similarly, but THESE ONES are just cheaper and work amazingly well.
Speaking of summer and sandals, have you tried the rubber Birkenstocks yet? They make the BEST pool sandals they feel like a flip flop with a little more support like regular Birkenstocks but without the fear of getting them super wet like the original soft cork footbed. I have been wearing them around the house in anticipation of vacation and it makes me so very happy.
Alright, that was quite the random Coffee Talk Wednesday but I hoped you enjoy it! Do you have anything you are currently loving? I would love to hear! <3