The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams

book cover

Published: William Morrow
Date:  July 10th 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Rating 4.5 stars
Goodreads callout

In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island in Long Island Sound as a naive eighteen year old, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. Although a graduate of the exclusive Foxcroft Academy in Virginia, Miranda has always lived on the margins of high society.

When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda is catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools. Isobel Fisher, Miranda’s new stepsister—all long legs and world-weary bravado, engaged to a wealthy Island scion—is eager to draw Miranda into the arcane customs of Winthrop society.


Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams was a read that I sank into and have to say really liked. It ranges over three time periods – 1930, 1951 and 1969.  It is told mostly from the viewpoint of Miranda, however their is also the story of Bianca.  We go from one time period to another – backwards and forwards.

That could be somewhat disconcerting, however if it is carefully read and characters and events tracked until the jigsaw comes together then it returns a rewarding read. As I kept notes I put what was happening together so there is no surprise much at the end, but the satisfaction of seeing how it all turns out.

It is set on an island where there are the local people – fishermen and then the summer people. The rich people, who eat, drink and make merry and don’t intermingle much or at all with the local people. Miranda comes to this island as a teen when her mother remarries on of the summer men. She finds she has a step sister Isabel. I did think it a little odd that she changed in a way I wouldn’t expect.

And her step father – what of him, well he has a lot to do with the characters in this story and just to say I didn’t like him.  So many lives intertwine on the island, and not least of all Joseph the young man we first meet saving a fisherman.

To discuss what happens would be to take away from the reader the opportunity to follow the twists and turns, the mystery, the way characters relate to each other.

The writing is beautiful, the issues sometimes sad, yet here is a tale of redemption and hope as well.

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