My second choice for Book of the Month for July was The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams. This is also the third book of four for my August to-be-read. I’d heard really great things about this read, and after loving The Lost Vintage, I wanted to read more historical fiction. This book takes place in three different years: 1930, 1951, and 1969. All great years! It also takes place on a small island off the east coast and it felt like the perfect summer read.
Book of the Month called this book “movie-ish” and I think it’s a good descriptor. It read very much like a movie. It was romantic, descriptive, and engaging. I will say the first chapter was a bit confusing, but Williams ties together the three storylines so well that after the 50/60 page mark, I was deeply invested. I didn’t think I’d finish this book by my goal, but I blew through the last 170 pages pretty quickly.
This book is so beautifully written. The language is lyrical and thought-provoking and I loved the way she described love, where new and young or old and matured. I appreciated her understanding of relationships and it’s hard to explain why without giving spoilers, but just know that this read depicts relationships in a real, raw way. Sometimes it felt far-fetched, but then I thought about my first serious boyfriend, and I thought, ‘yeah, I felt like that.’ It captures the naivete that love can create within people. Even when know something is bad or dangerous or uncertain, we dive head-long into it, ignoring signs or exits.
Williams creates real characters in a detailed manner. You really feel like they’re people you know and you’re watching their story unfold quietly around you. The level of detail is something I enjoyed about this book. The characters didn’t feel like cookie-cutter stereotypes, despite the fact that this book very much depicts class issues. However, no character feels like a trope. They feel real and connected and separate all at the same time.
I highly recommend this!