Summer of ’69

Little, Brown. Jun. 2019. 432p. ISBN 9780316420013. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316419994. F
Hilderbrand takes on a historical period—1969—for the first time in her new Nantucket-set novel (after Winter in Paradise). The members of the Foley-Levin family return to matriarch Exalta Foley’s island home, All’s Fair. Mother Kate Levin has been drinking heavily since her son, Tiger, was drafted to fight in Vietnam, driving her second husband to stay in Boston. Eldest daughter Blair, pregnant with twins, gives up her position as a professor and her dreams of attending Harvard at the request of physicist husband Angus, who focuses his attention on the moon launch, leaving Blair feeling lonely and uncertain. Rebellious sister Kirby has been arrested twice for protesting; she spends the summer on Martha’s Vineyard, working at a hotel, which brings her into contact with Mary Jo Kopechne and the terrible events on Chappaquiddick Island. Jessie, the youngest daughter and only child of Kate’s second marriage, is turning 13 and experiencing the drama of first loves, outrage at the anti-Semitism at her family’s tennis club, and the embarrassment of bra shopping.
VERDICT Misunderstandings, secrets, and wrong choices are revealed in this completely satisfying novel that is the beach read of the summer, sure to appeal to Hilderbrand’s fans while earning her new readers. A must buy. [See Prepub Alert, 12/17/18.]
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