A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
Young socialite Lily Dane returns to the family home in Seaview, Rhode Island for the summer of 1938, expecting a peaceful and idyllic season. Her parents are there with her much younger sister. Also there for the summer: her old best friend Budgie and Budgie’s new husband, architect Nick Greenwald (who also happens to be Lily’s ex-fiance.) Despite their marriage and the temptation to steer clear, Lily can’t resist the allure of Budgie-but finds the rest of the Seaview community can, and watches as they repeatedly snub Budgie and Nick. With the historical backdrops for the novel being the coming of World War II and an approaching and devastating hurricane, I have to admit I was surprised that the true motivations for characters were different from what I predicted based on the time period.
Williams alternates between the summer of ’38 and Lily and Budgie’s college years, filling in the story little by little, but still, I did not see few plot twists coming. Well done Ms. Williams! Thank you for surprising me!
I like that A Hundred Summers isn’t a story about a storm or a war, but the story of old friends and old loves, of loyalty and betrayal, and unexpected relationships. It is a smart, well written novel, and well worth the read. (The Falmouth Memorial Library owns a copy.)