Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak. That is, until Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview. Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily's past: her former best friend and her former fiancee, now recently married - an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie's arrival to restore her family's old house puts her once more in the center of the community's social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily's friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction... and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations. Under the scorching summer sun, the unexpected truth of Budgie and Nick's marriage bubbles to the surface, and as a cataclysmic hurricane barrels unseen up the Atlantic and into New England, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional cyclone of their own, which will change their worlds forever.
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Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer...the barrage of "Best Summer/Beach Books* lists have hit; two of my favorite words in the English language" "Beach" & "Books" -- and giddy with the prospect of glorious summer, I decided to accept a challenge and tackle every one of them. It seemed doable time-wise, and it's always good to adventure outside of your zone, so I downloaded those that were available now, and headed off for a weekend at the lake. After about an hour with the one about the Camperdowns, and thinking I'd rather stick needles in my eyes than go on, I realized my biggest challenge would be subject matter...which brings me to A Hundred Summers.
Rather than throw in the beach towel, so to speak, I decided to have a 50page/1hr. audio rule for my summer challenge (unless there is some big sign of promise). I'm not generally a fan of chick-lit, but the cover of A Hundred Summers reminded me of Tigers in Red Weather, a book I enjoyed very much during the summer of 2012. So I began book #2 with my fingers crossed, and Belief, Reality, and Logic suspended deep in my beach bag. Happy to report that after an hour I was still listening -- not a needle in sight -- thoroughly enjoying myself as I listened and baked.
Another languid summer at the beach house in Seaview, RI, where the setting is swell, the sun is scorching, the ocean deep breezy blue, the drinks are icy and loaded with gin. Everyone is rich, the girls are sassy, the guys are dreamy, the romance is swoony, the sex is risqué, and the family secrets jooooooosie. But not everything is as fabulous as it seems under those glittery sheaths and searsucker suits. It is 1938 and the gossip in town carries the rumors of war, both in the world and in Seaview. Lily's old friend, the beautiful and scandalous Budgie, has returned to her family beach house after years away, bringing along her new husband, Lily's former boyfriend Nick Greenwald. As the summer heats up so does the social atmosphere; it is the eve of WWII (did I mention Nick was Jewish?) and there is a *hundred-year hurricane* in the forecast, threatening to blow the roof off more than just the seaside cottages.
I was content to spend the entire day (and a few evening hours) finishing this book, and think it really might be the perfect beach read for the ladies. It is predictable, mindless, the characters are figments of every woman's imagination, the ending was a little schmarmy, but I liked it--sue me! As books go - 3 *'s; but as beach reads go - 5 bottles of sunscreen. McInerney does a nice job with the narration, and makes the back and forth transition of years, and different characters, effortlessly. I've heard it compared to some of author Daphne du Maurier's books and agree (she wrote during the same time period in which this novel is placed). With all the elements of those great beach reads from my past: romance, intrigue, drama -- the only thing missing here was the warning from the Surgeon General...(seriously)...the suitable subtitle would be "smoke 'em if you've got 'em" and not because of the hot sex (although that too was smoking). Great fun, loved it, I'm 1 for 2, and on to my next beach read. Hope you enjoy this, and your summer.
I love perfect narration. Narration that gives life to the story and the characters and doesn't get in the way. Narration is portrayal in that way. This is a wonderful long intricate story that might have ruined by the wrong narrator. If you like stories from the era this placed in there is no reason why you wouldn't love this one. A story to savor.