Montauk, Long Island, 1938.
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…
This is the author’s debut novel, and I am impressed. Historical romance is not my usual genre and when this book came up on my TBR I couldn’t remember why I had selected it, but I was not disappointed. The story is rich with well developed and colorful characters and the setting is spectacular. I’ve never been to Montauk but with the author’s descriptions I was able to develop a beautiful picture in my mind. Of course, I do like history so the timeframe of 1938 was interesting to me. The author painted a vivid picture of “high society” at the time with its post-Depression excesses and lavish lifestyles. What makes the story more compelling is how the lives of the inhabitants of the fishing village were incorporated into the drama and played a critical role in Beatrice’s narrative. I found Beatrice to complicated, haunted, and lost, but even more she is a very caring person who wants to improve the lives of those around her. She’s educated but doesn’t seem to know herself very well as the story opens. She can also be just a little too impulsive at times, which only adds to her charm. The story is told by Beatrice and I really enjoyed the first-person narrative. Bottom line: this book was an enjoyable departure from my usual mysteries and true crime. Well done!