A Hundred Summers: A Novel. Beatriz Williams. Penguin Group (USA). April 2014. 432 pp. ISBN#: 9780425270035.
Lily Dane and Budgie Greenwald (formerly Byrne) are best friends when they are college students. Budgie has her eyes on Graham Pendleton and Lily falls instantly in love with Nick Greenwald at a football game in which he gets wounded. Budgie has no limits and expects Lily to follow; but Lily is a sedate gal interested in reading and conforming. The young man she adores, however, is Jewish and therefore unwelcome everywhere in this snooty Seaview, Rhode Island community that follows social mores precisely and brutally!
The years pass and now Lily and Budgie Greenwald return to Seaview for the summer, but by now Budgie is married to Nick Greenwald, surprise of surprises, and Lily centers her world on her sister, Kiki, who is still a child and a rambunctious, curious one at that! This is the story of multiple secrets, romantic affairs, misunderstandings, hedonistic excesses and more, all of which carry a brutal price for far too many family and friends. Yet even though everyone knows everyone in this secluded summer vacation land, some know nothing until all is revealed in dramatic, heartbreaking, and beautiful scenes the reader will never forget!
A good romance always has some other elements that are the glue holding together the melodramatic and serene scenes that keep the reader rapidly flipping the pages, yearning to know more. Sports and the vicious Hurricane of 1938, with a hint of WWII very briefly getting reference, remind the reader that the major events of this novel parallel the chaos and adrenalin-pumping action riveting the rest of the world’s attention, love and fear!
A very different technique is used in this novel to bring the plot to completion, including minor characters who don’t get much attention in most of the novel but who turn out to be the central forces that unite parents and children in their evolution from saints to sinners and vice versa.
A Hundred Summers: A Novel is a great read, perfect for the beach-going or home-resting readers who love a terrific mystery laced with sizzling, sensual, and sensitive romance! Highly recommended!