Monday, July 22, 2019

Montauk - Historical Fiction

Goodreads:  Montauk by Nicola Harrison

Rating: Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  Montauk, Long Island, 1938.

A simple town on the brink of a glamorous future.

A marriage drifting apart.

A life on the edge of what is and what could be...

An epic and cinematic novel by debut author Nicola Harrison, Montauk captures the glamour and extravagance of a summer by the sea with the story of a woman torn between the life she chose and the life she desires.

Montauk, Long Island, 1938.

For three months, this humble fishing village will serve as the playground for New York City’s wealthy elite. Beatrice Bordeaux was looking forward to a summer of reigniting the passion between her and her husband, Harry. Instead, tasked with furthering his investment interest in Montauk as a resort destination, she learns she’ll be spending twelve weeks sequestered with the high society wives at The Montauk Manor—a two-hundred room seaside hotel—while Harry pursues other interests in the city.

College educated, but raised a modest country girl in Pennsylvania, Bea has never felt fully comfortable among these privileged women, whose days are devoted not to their children but to leisure activities and charities that seemingly benefit no one but themselves. She longs to be a mother herself, as well as a loving wife, but after five years of marriage she remains childless while Harry is increasingly remote and distracted. Despite lavish parties at the Manor and the Yacht Club, Bea is lost and lonely and befriends the manor’s laundress whose work ethic and family life stir memories of who she once was.

As she drifts further from the society women and their preoccupations and closer toward Montauk’s natural beauty and community spirit, Bea finds herself drawn to a man nothing like her husband –stoic, plain spoken and enigmatic. Inspiring a strength and courage she had almost forgotten, his presence forces her to face a haunting tragedy of her past and question her future.

Desperate to embrace moments of happiness, no matter how fleeting, she soon discovers that such moments may be all she has, when fates conspire to tear her world apart…

Genre: Fiction - Historical 

Why I Picked This Book:  I love this time period and I've been on a roll with loving historical fiction lately.

My Impression:  I have mixed feelings about this one.  I love historical fiction and this was a fun time period to visit and I really enjoyed seeing the day to day life of the summer people and just how the details were managed.  I also enjoyed Harrison's pacing.  Even when I was getting frustrated with certain aspects of the book it was always easy to read. 

However, I did have two issues with the book.  While I enjoyed Harrison's efforts to make 1938 Montauk come to life the level of detail was just a bit two much and bogged the story down at times.  Also, while I felt sorry for Beatrice there were multiple times where she seriously annoyed me.  She seemed completely unaware of the way things were in the society world but it's mentioned multiple times that she and Harry have been married five years and she's hardly been living under a rock so why was she so shocked that the Jewish newsman wasn't instantly accepted?  Or to find out that hanging out with the woman who does the laundry is unacceptable and could potentially get the woman in trouble?  She cannot see the point of this exclusion or not think it's right but to be so unaware was hard to believe.  There was another character who clearly knew a great deal about her but she never thought to question this.  These things made it hard for me to really believe in her intelligence and just frustrated me.

Despite my rant above I did enjoy this book and found Harrison's writing style very readable.  While I wanted to strangle Beatrice at times I did enjoy the reading experience and will be keeping an eye out for future books.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author:  While this wasn't my favorite I did enjoy it and think Harrison has a lot of potential so I'll definitely be looking for future books. 

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would with some slight reservations though if you enjoy historical fiction I think this will be an author to look out for.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. Okay so you have mixed feelings about the book, and I think if I were to read it I just might think the same. However I do note that it was readable which is a plus!

  2. Credibility is so important! It's hard to "believe" a book if characters act in inconsistent or unbelievable ways. That can definitely ruin a story for me.

  3. It's always a balance how much detail to include before it starts interfering with the pace. But those issues where the character becomes shocked and worried about what is going around her may also be a problem - however, it was also a time when perceptions were shifting quite fast. I am regularly horrified at what is going on around me within the public sphere - the quality of the politicians apparently representing me and my interests absolutely appalls and infuriates me... So maybe that aspect isn't quite as jarring at you might think?

  4. nice article..
    thanks for sharing and have a nice day

  5. Sometimes it can be hard to decide how we feel about a book. The good thing is you didn't hate it so at least it wasn't a waste of time and it could be an author to try again.