Review: Boardwalk Summer by Meredith Jaeger #ninjatwins


Release date: June 19, 2018

Publisher: William Morrow

Genre: Historical Fiction


What happened on that long-ago summer? In this riveting novel from the author of The Dressmaker’s Dowry, an aspiring Hollywood actress makes a shocking choice in 1940, and seventy years later, a young mother sets out to discover what happened …

Summer, 1940: When Violet Harcourt is crowned Miss Bathing Beauty in her hometown of Santa Cruz, she’s determined to see herself on the silver screen. But Violet’s pageant victory comes with a price—cracks appear in her seemingly perfect marriage…and she quickly discovers Hollywood is not the glittering escape she dreamed of. So she makes a shocking choice, leaving her name in headlines and creating a mystery surrounding her fate.

Summer, 2007: Single mother Marisol Cruz lives in a charming seaside cottage that belonged to her grandfather, Ricardo, once a famed performer on the Beach Boardwalk. Drawn to the local history of her town, Mari discovers her grandfather’s connection to a beauty queen who died too young. She embarks on a journey that uncovers his lifelong secret—Ricardo’s connection to Violet…a story of tragedy and courage that will forever transform her.


Before I get into my thoughts on the book I’m so excited to share that my friend Jamie and I are starting a new collaboration and it starts today! Jamie is an avid reviewer on Goodreads and Instagram and we both read super fast and have very similar taste in books, though we don’t always agree 😜Boardwalk Summer is the first of our many planned buddy reads where I’ll be sharing my thoughts as usual but you’ll get the added bonus of hearing what Jamie thought as well. Hope you guys enjoy this and say hi to Jamie on Instagram if you don’t already know her!

Do you ever start a book and know pretty quickly that it’ll be one that you’ll love? Maybe it’s the authors writing style or maybe it’s the subject matter or you connect immediately with a character, or maybe it’s a little bit of everything. When this does happen it’s kind of magical and I had the good fortune to have that experience when I read just two chapters of this beauty!

This flips between Violet in 1940 and Mari in 2007 and goes back and forth every chapter. I was quickly invested in Violet’s story, not only because her personal plot line was fascinating but also because nothing draws me in faster from a historical perspective than old school Hollywood glamour, I swear I swoon. Mari was the type of character that I easily liked, she’s a strong single mother who’s proud of her family heritage with a side of spicy spitfire and a loving but tough mama bear as well. I did guess a few things very early on but then Jaeger totally caught me off guard with a surprising plot turn that I totally never saw coming but loved all the same.

This was very well written and well researched, Jaeger brought the city of Santa Cruz to life both in the past and the recent present, it sounds like such a charming town and one I’m longing to visit now. She also has a social conscience that is evident and I appreciated the issues she explored. The history, culture and idyllic sounding boardwalk itself all blended together to create the type of setting that truly transports the reader. There was way more of a mysterious aspect to the story than I had anticipated and there was also some sweet romance too. Both lead characters were strong, fearless women and were well developed, I really cared about both of them in the end and was sad to turn the final page.

Boardwalk Summer in three words: Mesmerizing, Fascinating and Gorgeous.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher and the Great Thoughts Ninja review team for my copy.

Jamie’s review:

4.5 Magical Flying Unicorn Stars!

I am so glad this is what my friend Amy and I chose for our first buddy read together as #ninjatwins! I’m also glad that Amy was a bit ahead of me the whole time so I could share my theories with her without spoiling anything – and I had a lot of theories on this one – some correct, some not so much!

I have always been a fan of dual narratives and dual timelines and love to see how the timelines come together. In Boardwalk Summer, the two timelines focus first on Violet Harcourt, a beautiful women stuck in an abusive marriage in 1940 and Mari Cruz, a single mother trying to fight for the right to preserve historical aspects of her Santa Cruz community in 2007. The way these stories coincide and connect will both surprise you and make you want to know more.

I very much enjoyed getting to know these women, learn more about this history and get acquainted with Jaeger’s writing!

7 thoughts on “Review: Boardwalk Summer by Meredith Jaeger #ninjatwins

  1. Lhm says:

    I’m so happy you loved this one as it’s one of my most eagerly anticipated releases this summer. Santa Cruz is sort of my home town so I’m immediately drawn to this book. I almost didn’t read your review in case you didn’t like it lol

    Liked by 1 person

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