Author: Nicola Harrison
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Page Count: 400
My rating: 3 stars
About the book:
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…
Montauk by Nicola Harrison is a historical fiction novel that is set in the very real destination of Montauk, Long Island in 1938. Montauk much like the neighboring area of The Hamptons is/was known for being a vacation destination for the rich even back in 1938.
Beatrice Bordeaux was looking forward to a short summer vacation with her husband, Harry but instead Harry changes up their plans. Harry is looking into investing in Montauk so he arranges for Beatrice to stay for the entire three months while he commutes back to the city during the week and returning only for weekends.
Beatrice quickly feels out of place with the other wives staying at The Montauk Manor but does her best to fit in and take part although she finds herself much more comfortable around the help. Before long Harry is showing up less and less and when Beatrice tries to surprise him she finds things are not as good as they seemed.
I know I have a lower rating on this one but I did still enjoy reading the story and getting engrossed in that era of Montauk. The writing is solid but the particulars of what goes on that summer with Beatrice was not really anything new or overly creative but instead too predictable. I would say this one is entertaining in the moment but probably won’t stick with me long and end up forgettable thus the three stars.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Originally from Hampshire, England, Nicola Harrison moved to California when she was 14. She studied Literature at UCLA and received an MFA in creative writing at Stony Brook University. She is a member of The Writers Room and has short stories published in The Southampton Review and Glimmer Train as well as articles in Los Angeles Magazine and Orange Coast Magazine. She was the fashion and style staff writer for Forbes and had a weekly column at Lucky Magazine. Nicola is also the founder of a personal styling business, Harrison Style. She has spent many summers in Montauk and currently lives in downtown Manhattan. Montauk is her first novel.