The Summer Wives

Morrow. Jul. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9780062660343. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062660367. F
In 1951, 18-year-old Miranda Schuyler and her mother arrive on Winthrop Island in Long Island Sound for her mother's marriage to the wealthy Hugh Fisher. Miranda's impulsive stepsister Isobel introduces her to the other families with big summer houses; she also presents her island friend Joseph Vargas, a Brown University student who helps out on his father's lobster boat during the high season. Isobel soon resents the instant connection between Miranda and Joseph, who find joy in their romance despite the challenges from both sides of the class divide. But the promise of a bright future together ends the moment Joseph pleads guilty in the mysterious death of Isobel's father. Decades later, Miranda is back on the island and Joseph has escaped from prison; is it coincidence, or will lingering questions about the night of Fisher's death finally be answered? The author displays a mastery of character building while thoughtfully planting evocative details about the setting and the era's social structures. The intricate and complex web of relationships within stated conventions are skillfully created and add depth to the narrative.
VERDICT Longtime Williams fans, readers of historical fiction and mysteries, and anyone seeking engaging plot twists will find satisfaction in these pages. [See Prepub Alert, 1/22/18; library marketing.]

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