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Book Review: Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand

One of my most favorite book of the summer so far! 



When Elin comes out with a new book, it's a must. Like a don't-even-read-the-synopsis no-brainer. Just as she delivered a multi-dimensional page turner with The Perfect Summer, Summer of '69 is just as much a treat- but with historical fiction at its core, which is a genre Elin hasn't presented before. 


The story lines of several members of the Foley/Levin families intertwine as their lives during the summer of 1969 unfurl (or in some cases, unravel). There's 13-year-old Jessie, her mother Kate, and Kate's other three children, Tiger, a soldier serving in Vietnam, Kirby- a flower child with a rebellious streak and a past she's trying to run from, and Blair, who is about to give birth to twins and just made the biggest mistake of her life. At the top of the family tree is the matriarch, grandmother Exalta, who floats through the rooms of the family's sprawling Nantucket compound with a disapproving gaze and whose judgement bears down on everyone. 



Kate is the mother in all of us- constantly worrying about all of her children, while also balancing her own demons. At the center of her seemingly broken heart is not knowing if her son will make it home from Vietnam. And somewhere in the cloud of sadness that surrounds her, is a secret she can't run away from. It's her individual relationships with each of her children that make her such a dynamic character. I loved her weakness and her strength, I loved her vulnerability and her determination as well. 



For Elin to write a novel that is historical fiction and her classic style is such a treat - this book will be a favorite that bridges so many genres. I love this book because it's one book and one family, but it holds many, many different stories.


It's amazing how a story of just one summer can weave such a colorful movie-like vision in your mind as you read. Each character experiences monumental life changes and events that we can all relate to, all with the beautiful and fascinating backdrop of the 60s on Nantucket. So not only do you have the wonderful life story of Jessie and her siblings, you have the heart-racing pulse of political intrigue, the Kennedy's, the drama of Vietnam and even Woodstock. One sister experiences her first kiss, her first love and her first betrayal. Another betrays someone else in the most important time of her life and is suddenly abandoned by her husband and her little sister is off the island, running away from a terrible relationship that left her alone and ashamed. They are all facing their own struggles and keeping secrets from each other but their love for family, for their brother who is fighting for their country and their commitment to their island home and the memories it holds for them all keeps them together and without even trying, they all help each other find their paths and mend their hearts. 



I feel like I am rambling, so I'll just cut this short and say, yes! I recommend! Thank you Little Brown and Co for my review copy!

Comments

  1. Pumped to pick this up from the library on Friday - it's finally in!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't wait to read.
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