Release date: June 18, 2019
Publisher: Little Brown
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century! It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket: but this year Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, a nursing student, is caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests, a passion which takes her to Martha’s Vineyard with her best friend, Mary Jo Kopechne. Only son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother who is hiding some secrets of her own. As the summer heats up, Teddy Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, a man flies to the moon, and Jessie experiences some sinking and flying herself, as she grows into her own body and mind.
In her first “historical novel,” rich with the details of an era that shaped both a country and an island thirty miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again proves her title as queen of the summer novel.
It’s officially summer now that I’ve read the new EH book! Seriously, it truly doesn’t feel like summertime for me until I get my hands on her latest book and I did consider waiting to read this until my actual summer vacation, but who am I kidding, I have no willpower when it comes to her books. I’m so glad I didn’t make myself wait either because this was exactly the right book to get me into a summer vacation state of mind.
I was just a tiny bit apprehensive when I read the blurb of this and saw it was set back in 1969, I don’t mind historical fiction but I did wonder if this would have the same magic as her usual summer books. I trust the queen of the beach read though and figured she knew what she was doing and she does. Obviously she does, this was book twenty something after all, and I was just as into this one as all of her previous books. It was really cool to see a simpler kind of life actually, no cell phones, Instagram, etc that so dominates our daily lives now, but there was no shortage of drama back then either. So many of the rampant issues back then are still sadly relevant today too, racism, women’s rights issues, etc. that despite being set fifty years ago it still felt surprisingly relevant.
No one features an ensemble cast better than EH, she manages to create casts of characters that you feel invested in and also relate to on some level. There’s a little something for everyone here, mom Kate trying to cope with her only son Tiger, being shipped off to Vietnam, daughters Kirby, Blair and Jessie who range from early twenties to just turned teenager and so many supporting characters that give the whole thing vibrancy and life. A must read for summer, make sure you read the authors note for the inspiration behind the story, it was super cool!
Summer of 69 in three words: Breezy, Spirited and Delightful
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.