The Beach at Summerly

by Beatriz Williams

Emilia (Cricket) Winthrop grew up on Winthrop Island. Her family once owned the island but now they work for the Peabody’s who own the big house, Summerly. The Peabody and Winthrop children grew up together playing in the sand, surf and and were best friends. Now it is 1946, WWII has ended and Winthrop Island is trying to get back to normal after the loss of so many during the war.

When Olive Rainsford comes with her children that summer to stay in the guest house of the Peabody estate, she takes Cricket under her wing. Olive is related to the Peabodys and she convinces Cricket that there is more to life than living with her family on Winthrop Island. Olive is a free spirit and rumors begin to circulate about her and her past. Emilia is taken with Olive because while she was caring for her invalid mother on Winthrop Island, Olive was traveling around the world, marrying interesting men and getting involved in political causes.

The story shifts to 1954 where Emilia’s has rebuilt her life as a professor at Wellesley, but she is damaged. When she receives word that Summerly will be reopened after being boarded up for many years and then another shocking event occurs, the reader is pulled into the story of what happened that fateful summer of 1946 on Winthrop island that changed everything for the Peabody and Winthrop families.

The author did a greatjob with the sense of place. I could almost smell the salt water, imagine the children swimming, sailing and causing mischief on the island. I was sometimes confused with the timeline but once I got into the story, I was able to keep things straight.

The Beach at Summerly has a little bit for everyone, family secrets, romance, espionage and a gorgeous setting. I enjoyed it.

Thanks to William Morrow and NetGalley for the Advanced Reading copy.

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