A special thank you to Edelweiss and William Morrow for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Beatriz Williams' latest novel is mesmerizing. Set in the 1950s and '60s, it is a tempestuous story of romance, class, power, secrets, and murder set on picturesque Winthrop Island.
It is the the summer of 1951 and Miranda Schuyler arrives on the elite, yet secretive Winthrop Island in Long Island Sound. She is a naive eighteen year old who is still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War.
Miranda is a graduate of the exclusive Foxcroft Academy in Virginia and has always been on the cusp of high society. When her beautiful mother marries the dashing Hugh Fisher at his family summer home, Miranda is thrust deeper into the world of the elite with their pedigrees and cocktail hours.
Isobel Fisher is Miranda’s new stepsister and she takes Miranda under her wing to educate her on the clandestine ways of the Winthrop upper crust. She is long-legged, blonde, a bit brash, and adored by her fiancé, Clayton Monk.
The other residents of the island are not wealthy summer families; they are the working class made up of Portuguese fisherman and domestic service people who earn an honest days work from the seasonal inhabitants. Miranda finds herself attracted to the lighthouse keeper's son, Joseph Vargas, a lobster fisherman. He is also a childhood friend of Isobel's and attends Brown's in the hopes of bettering himself.
Almost two decades later, Miranda, now a famous actress, finally returns to the Island. She is nursing a heartbreak and secrets of her own. On the surface, the Island appears to be the same, but Miranda quickly realizes that things are not as they appear. For one, the Fisher family no longer wields the same power and prestige it once did and Greyfriars, the Fisher family summer home, is in complete disrepair. Also, Joseph has escaped from Sing Sing where he has been serving a sentence for the murder of her stepfather eighteen years earlier. Miranda makes it her quest to bring justice to the man she once loved and still loves.
This was my first Beatriz Williams' book and I was utterly enchanted! Williams is extremely seasoned with her character development—she lets the plot unfold through these rich, complex characters and her execution of this tumultuous story was flawless. The setting was gorgeous as is her writing. Speaking of gorgeous, can we take a moment to appreciate the beautiful cover? I love the whole vintage aesthetic and it also comes through in Williams' writing. The story was perfectly paced and just as visually stunning as the cover. This book will be THE book of the summer.