Book of the Week, historical

Book of the Week: A Hundred Summers

A fairly easy choice for BotW this week – Beatriz Williams’ A Hundred Summers was my favourite read last week – although Alexander McCall Smith’s children’s book School Ship Tobermory is great fun too (I’ve already posted my copy to Eldest Niece because I think she’ll love it).  And it’s nice to feature a new (to me) author for BotW too.

I started reading A Hundred Summers on the train to work and was glued to the sofa when I got home!

A Hundred Summers tells the story of Lily Dane, who has returned to her family’s summer house in Rhode Island.  Also back in Seaview in summer 1938 is her childhood friend Budgie and her new husband – and Lily’s former fiancé – Nick.  As the summer unrolls, Lily falls back in with glamourous Budgie and the truth about how she and Nick betrayed Lily starts to emerge as a storm barrels towards them.

Regular readers will know that I love stories set in the early 20th century – and more specifically between the two world wars.  And I love time slip books.  And while a narrative which jumps between 1932 and 1938 isn’t quite as big a gap as some, and it features the same characters in both, it still ticks all my boxes for that too.  There’s something about the interwar period – in the UK, the US or Europe – that just really works for me and Beatriz Williams has created a fabulous and believable world with a dark secrets at its heart.

I was fascinated by Lily’s story.  She’s an interesting character – smart and independent in someways, but quite naive and unworldy in others. For a while I thought I had it all figured out – then the book surprised me again and I really do like it when that happens.  Reading as many books as I do it can become quite easy to be a bit cynical and jaded and to spot how a plot is going to unfold before it happens, and it’s always nice when your expectations are challenged.

I’ve been wanting to read Beatriz Williams’ books for a while – several US authors that I like have recommended her at various points and she’s writing a book with Lauren Willig (who I love as you know) – but it’s been hard to get hold of them over here for a reasonable price.  I think that has changed with A Hundred Summers – this got a wide release and was in the supermarkets over the summer if I recall correctly.  It certainly made it to the point where Amazon were offering it for practically half price – which usually means it’s in the supermarkets’ 2 for £7 promotions.  I’m certainly hoping that I’ll be able to get hold of more of her books now – and the samples at the back of A Hundred Summers certainly hint at that.

Get your copy from Amazon, Kindle, Waterstones, Foyles and Kobo (at time of writing Amazon not only the best price for paperback by a little way, but it was included in its 3 for £10 deal in case you need any further encouragement to buy books…).  I’m off to hunt for her back catalogue and to put some pre-orders…


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