The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams {Book Review}

I bought this book shortly after it was released in July, but because of my aforementioned addiction to the Throne of Glass series, this was pushed by the wayside until after I finished The Glass Ocean. And boy, was it worth the wait.

The Summer Wives by Beatriz Willaims
New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams brings us the blockbuster novel of the season—an electrifying postwar fable of love, class, power, and redemption set among the inhabitants of an island off the New England coast . . .

In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island as a schoolgirl from the margins of high society, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda’s catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools.

But beneath the island’s patrician surface, there are really two clans: the summer families with their steadfast ways and quiet obsessions, and the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic workers who earn their living on the water and in the laundries of the summer houses. Uneasy among Isobel’s privileged friends, Miranda finds herself drawn to Joseph Vargas, whose father keeps the lighthouse with his mysterious wife. As the summer winds to its end, Miranda’s caught in a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop’s hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the island for nearly two decades.

Now, in the landmark summer of 1969, Miranda returns at last, as a renowned Shakespearean actress hiding a terrible heartbreak. She begins a fierce, inexorable quest for justice for the man she once loved . . . even if it means uncovering every last one of the secrets that bind together the families of Winthrop Island.
— Goodreads

This is the second book by Beatriz Williams that I’ve read, the first being The Glass Ocean, which she wrote with two other women, so I wasn’t sure how this book would be. But this is one of the standout books of 2018 for me, and I’m still chapped that it didn’t win in it’s category for the Goodreads awards.

Miranda is a very complex character, but one that you can’t help but love. She isn’t perfect, but she is portrayed so realistically that I feel like she is one of my great-aunts. Her journey was both uplifting and heartbreaking, and by the end of the story I wanted nothing more than to hug her and tell her she’s amazing.

My rating: 5 stars, no question.

Ashley Fisher