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 Manora two-hundred room seaside hotelwhile 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…
|Publisher:||St. Martin''s Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)|
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We left the train and were escorted to our awaiting cars, one for Harry and me and one for our trunks — packed to the brim for the summer months ahead. I looked up at the Manor on the hill and saw it for the first time, silhouetted against the deep orange early evening sky.
As we drove up the tight and winding road, tree branches reached overhead toward each other like lovers' hands desperate to connect, and then the road suddenly opened up and I gasped. It was just as it had looked in the brochure, but bigger, grander, even more magnificent than I could have imagined — a Tudor façade with turrets and spires, more reminiscent of a vast and dignified English castle than a beach town hotel.
Harry put his hand on my knee and squeezed. "I told you you'd like it here."
"Oh, you were right, darling; I can already tell I'm going to fall in love with this place."
Several other couples had taken the same train from the city as Harry and I, and a caravan of cars followed behind us. We entered through the carved wooden doors and as I looked around the grand lobby, which seemed to extend for miles with its enormous exposed wooden beams, stone flooring and three oversized fireplaces, I felt like a guest at the palace.
"Mr. and Mrs. Bordeaux, welcome to The Montauk Manor. We are so pleased you'll be staying with us for the summer," the front desk clerk said. "I see this is your first time."
"First time in Montauk, actually," I said. "Some of our friends have been summering here for the last few years and we've heard such wonderful things."
"It certainly is the place to be." She smiled sweetly as if she were right off one of the posters I'd seen around Manhattan advertising the beach town. "Tomorrow night's the first soirée of the summer; it will be here in the grand lobby."
"We wouldn't miss it, would we, Beatrice?"
"Not a chance." A jazz band played quietly at the other end of the room and I could already feel myself getting into the swing of things.
"Please arrange for the butler to deliver our luggage and unpack our belongings while we dine," Harry said.
"Of course." She nodded, handed us our keys and had us escorted up to our room.
* * *
Harry and I first talked about Montauk that April during a pre-show dinner at Barbetta's, our favorite Italian restaurant, behind the Metropolitan Opera House. We were seated at our usual table under the great chandelier when he'd snapped his menu shut. He said he had a surprise for me, then told me we'd be spending the whole summer in Montauk — or rather I would. Harry would stay in the city during the week and take the new express train out to join me on the weekends.
I resisted at first. We'd already agreed on three weeks in Providence, together, it was all planned and I'd been so looking forward to spending time with Harry, just the two of us, away from the hectic, overheated city and his busy work life.
"Cancel it. We'll try something new this year," he'd said, taking a swig of his drink. "It will be good for us, Beatrice, a change, a fresh start. You said we needed that, remember?"
He was right, of course. I had said that. He handed me a brochure and I looked at the illustration on the cover: The Montauk Manor was the focal point and pictured below it were men and women engaging in various leisurely activities: fishing, golf, archery, swimming, tennis, horseback riding. One man, or woman, I wasn't quite sure, was in flight gear. They certainly made it seem that anything was possible. Far in the background a lighthouse stood proudly at the very tip of the island, surrounded by seagulls.
"What will I do all summer long?" I'd asked. "Most women who summer at their vacation home have children to entertain and nannies to help them, and friends with children. What reason do I have to be in Montauk for twelve weeks?"
"What reason do you have to be in the city?"
His quick response felt sharp. Feelings of futility came gushing to the surface and I felt my cheeks burn red.
"Well, I could work again," I'd said, quietly, turning the stem of my glass, making small ripples in the cream-colored tablecloth. But Harry told me, once again, that it wasn't appropriate for someone like me.
"We've already discussed this, Beatrice. You're not a college girl anymore, or a farm girl for that matter. You're a Bordeaux now and you should be proud of that." He reached over the table and placed his hand on mine. "And it's my job to take care of you now, to support you; don't rob me of that, sweetheart."
Something in me hesitated and I couldn't quite tell why. I looked at the illustration again; everyone had a look of strange detachment, each person lost in his own world. Of course it would be a treat to summer all season long; who wouldn't want that? But to be away from my husband four nights of the week left me uneasy. A tiny voice in my head told me it was a precarious situation, and suddenly that was the only voice I could hear.
* * *
We dined at the Manor's seafood restaurant that first night in Montauk. The ceilings were high and the sound of laughter, chatter and clinking wineglasses mingled in the air and made me excited for our adventure ahead.
"Harry, let's explore the town tomorrow and maybe even take a boat out; wouldn't that be fun?"
"Not tomorrow, sweetheart, I've got archery, remember?"
"Oh," I sighed, and looked at the menu. Local fluke, striped bass, lobster. "You know, now that I think of it, I remember my brother mentioning the name Montauk years ago."
"Why would your brother have known anything about Montauk? It wasn't even a destination to visit until a few years ago."
"I remember him telling me it was a little fishing town all the way out on the tip of Long Island and that he wanted to go there sometime to fish for bass." I looked out the window; just the mention of him made my chest tighten. I focused on an elderly waiter putting all his effort into opening a window on the far side of the room that looked out into the night sky. I had the urge to get up and help him. Eventually he wrestled it open and I felt relieved by the cool, crisp ocean air on my bare arms.
"Darling, I don't know why you bring up the topic of your brother; you get upset every time," Harry admonished.
The next instant he started waving madly at a couple walking into the restaurant and insisted that they join us. "It's Dr. and Mrs. Sanders," he said in a whisper as they approached. "He knows a lot of people."
It was quite an ordeal for the restaurant manager and another waiter to move a table next to ours so we could sit together and I wasn't entirely sure the other couple was as enthusiastic as Harry about the arrangement, but he was insistent.
"So what do you think of this place?" Dr. Sanders asked once we were situated. "Pretty great, isn't it?"
"It looks lovely," I said, "though we haven't had a chance to take it all in yet; we just arrived."
"We summered here last year," Mrs. Sanders said, touching my arm. "The swimming pool is beautiful — you'll be spending a lot of time there, I'm sure, but wait until you see the beach and the boardwalk, it extends for more than half a mile along the ocean, oh, and the yacht club, it's perfect, it really is, such a wonderful escape from the city."
"We're so lucky," I said.
Harry lit a cigarette. "Have you put any money into this town yet, Doc?"
"Not yet, but I'm considering. We have a few properties in Miami, so I don't know if it makes sense to invest in all of Fisher's schemes. But I heard you're going in big — I'm impressed."
"With the way things are going," Harry said in a hushed voice, "now's the right time to buy in."
Dr. Sanders nodded. I tried to catch Harry's eye so he'd let me in on what he was discussing, but he looked into his martini, swirled it, then gulped the rest of it down.
Back in the bedroom I looked around, opened the drawers and the cupboards and marveled at the attention to detail. The hand-carved drawer pulls, the soft cotton bedsheets trimmed with lace. Harry sat on the end of the bed and untied his shoelaces.
"I don't want you to leave on Sunday," I said. "I'm going to miss you."
"Well, what if I get lonely?" I said.
"Beatrice, you'll be a mother one day and then you'll have your hands full and you won't have the luxury of time to lounge and relax."
I nodded, my expression turned serious. I was trying to remain hopeful that we would be blessed with a child sometime in the near future, but the same old fear and questioning about why it hadn't happened yet came rushing back. The thought of being around all the women during the week with their children at the beach and the pool, teaching them to play tennis and build sandcastles, made me feel rather melancholy. Most likely I'd be the only one of childbearing age without a child to care for and everyone would be asking why I wasn't in the family way. My stomach clenched and I suddenly found it hard to swallow.
"But Harry, I'm not a mother yet."
"You'll get in with the women. It's good for business. You'll make friendships here and then back in the city we'll be invited to dinner parties where I'll forge business relationships."
"I hardly think that my making friends will lead to any business," I said.
He shrugged. "It's how my mother and father always worked, as a partnership, and it turned out pretty damn well."
The mention of his mother made me cringe a little — I had never really fit with the Bordeaux family and they knew that as well as I did.
Of course we'd been to all the parties and we'd hosted lots of dinners and I'd done my best to play the part of the perfect companion, but the idea that Harry and I could be more than just a married couple was compelling, that I could somehow be beneficial to his business gave me a sense of purpose and direction, a feeling that had been hampered since we'd married. I twisted the band of my ring.
"Say, Harry, what was that talk with Dr. Sanders about buying into Montauk, and now being the right time?"
"Nothing for you to worry about."
"No, really, I'm interested. If you want me to be more involved with your business life then you must keep me informed."
He took off his jacket and unhooked his suspenders. "Look, Beatrice, I wasn't going to tell you about this yet, not until I had more information, but there're a few of us who are very seriously considering investing out here."
"Really? But you've barely even seen the place. Is that why you wanted to come here, for an investment?"
"It's the real thing, Beatrice. We could be sitting on a gold mine if we are smart about it."
"Who was the Fisher guy you mentioned?"
"You met at the horse races last summer."
"I don't recall."
"Sure you do. Dapper fellow, a bit of an oddball. Carl Fisher, an eccentric dresser. When War Admiral won the Triple Crown and we all stayed until the wee hours dancing on the grass."
"I remember the night, but I don't recall meeting anyone named Carl Fisher."
"It doesn't matter, but he's the one who turned thousands of acres of unpopulated, unwanted mangrove swamp into Miami Beach. You couldn't give that land away before he took an interest in it, and now his fortune is made."
I sat down on the bed next to him.
"He convinced the entire East Coast that it was America's greatest winter playground, and he was right. After Miami he set his sights on Montauk. Same thing, nothing was here, just a rural wilderness, cattle roaming the hills and a tiny fishing village."
"So he's the one who put up all those posters around the city, Montauk in the Summer, Miami in the Winter; he wants wealthy New Yorkers to spend their money in both of his worlds," I said.
"Exactly. He brought his construction crew from Miami and built his dream — a yacht club, a bathing club, polo fields, a golf course, prime hunting, a ranch, and this place, the Manor, is his centerpiece, a two-hundred-room castle by the sea."
I laughed. "I suppose it is."
"There are glass-enclosed tennis courts, a beach club and a fantastic swimming pool looking out on to the beach — you heard Mrs. Sanders rave about it."
"You don't even swim," I said, hearing it come out sharper than I'd intended.
Harry stood up and went into the bathroom. "Fine, but you do."
"Darling, it sounds spectacular, I can't wait to see it all and I am not disagreeing with you," I called through the doorway, "but it doesn't sound like there's much to invest in if Mr. Fisher has done all this work already."
"Well, that's the thing." Harry leaned his head out of the bathroom with a toothbrush sticking out of his mouth.
"What's the thing?"
"He's done all this work, well, a lot of it, but there're still some things that are not finished. He's designed and built up this glamorous, luxurious town and now he's broke."
"Broke, broke, broke." Harry hit the doorframe hard and loudly three times as he said it, grinning. He turned and I heard him spit into the sink; then he reemerged, suddenly perked up.
"Remember that hurricane that hit Miami? It devastated the place and it needed a massive rebuild, which cost him an absolute fortune," Harry said, grinning. "He'd already lost a lot of his money in stocks and he'd put the rest of his money into Montauk."
"So you and your friends will just swoop in and take over?"
"Beatrice, don't you see what I'm saying? He needs people like me to come in and save him so he doesn't go under completely. We're going to help him. And you, my darling, by staying out here for the summer and getting to know Montauk, you'll be an asset to me. We could be spending a lot of time here in the future; it's important to me that you like it." He took my face in his hands and he kissed me. "I want you to be with me on this, Beatrice, in every way; can you do that for me?"
It was the first time I'd heard him say something like that in years, not since we first kept steady company and he had big plans for us.
"I can." I smiled. Perhaps he was right; maybe Montauk would be good for us after all.
Something about the way Harry spoke to me that first night in Montauk gave me hope. We'd been married for five years, but the last year or two had been difficult. I'd felt him pull away, distance himself from me, and I'd seen his eyes wander. But that night it was as if he wanted to come back to me fully, as if he wanted me to be an important part of his life again, for us to go back to the way we were when we first married, when it seemed that nothing mattered more than me and him. We were in love again. I felt this so strongly that I agreed to everything he proposed.
I had his undivided attention for the first time in months and was sure something between us had changed. I slept in his arms that night and convinced myself we had turned a corner. I grasped at the possibility of a transformation, a shift, however small or insignificant, a new place for the summer, a new sense of partnership, something, anything different from our last year of marriage where I'd always felt he was just beyond my reach. A new beginning, I thought. I hoped.CHAPTER 2
I slipped into the royal-blue silk stunner — elegant, hem to the floor, nipped at the waist with puffed shoulders and a daring dipped back. It was the most beautiful of all the dresses I'd brought with me for the summer and I felt beautiful, too, as I slid my room key into my evening bag, linked my arm through Harry's and descended the stairs of The Montauk Manor. Harry, handsome and clean-shaven, wore his new three-piece pinstriped suit and I felt all eyes on us as we made our entrance.
As we walked through the crowd there was an air of excitement for the first big party of the summer where everyone would see exactly who they'd be spending the next three months with in Montauk. Arms were freckled and cheekbones kissed by the first few weekends of sun, everyone was eager to be sociable and the barmen worked extra hard as the guests sipped champagne and mingled as though they'd been hibernating all winter long. I recognized a few faces from the city. Folk from the same high-society circles that Harry and his business partners moved in would be here this summer, along with other curious souls passing on Providence and Newport for the season, and even hailing from Miami, to see what all the fuss was about.
The jazz ensemble played on in the grand lobby, but no one was dancing yet. Harry spotted Clark and his wife, Dolly, a couple we knew from the city, and we walked over to them arm in arm.
"Hello, old chap," Harry said, slapping Clark on the back. "I hear you did well at the archery tournament today."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Montauk"
Copyright © 2019 Nicola Harrison.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
New Yorkers love to escape the summers and head for the relatively more tranquil areas along the shore, from Newport to Long Island, and Montauk, the quiet fishing village for most of the year plays host to the ‘see and be seen’ crowd for three months of summer. Filled with parties, lunches, events and relaxation, anyone who is hoping to be seen as “Anyone in the city” is there. Beatrix has gone there with her husband Harry: their life of late has hit a samey-vibe, and she’s hoping that getting away and relaxing will allow them to reconnect and help her to feel more ‘a part’ of this world that has never quite fitted in with her upbringing. Of course, there are twists and turns, and a man who is the polar opposite of Bea’s husband, involved with people who are also far different to Bea’s current companions – the ‘doyennes’ of society who focus on committees for charity, luncheons, who’s who and looking their best at all times. To the good, the descriptions and even the sense of ‘who’ everyone that Bea encounters were solid and easy to picture. The story felt very much tied to the ‘time’ and with some of the associated social constraints that came through quite clearly. But Bea – oh Bea. Naïve to the point of stupidity and disbelief. We’re told she’s college educated and kind-hearted, but frankly her inability to navigate some of the simpler interactions – and to always be surprised when things are unexpected was tiring and wore on my patience. Part of that was Bea herself, it just didn’t seem as if she learned anything from her own experiences as the story went on, and was always ‘taken aback’ by reactions or thoughts. The naivete thing was carried a bit too far with her….I expect some seeing as she was very much a woman of her time -but enough is enough. Even in the Tudor court people were aware of hypocrisy and self-serving agendas -but not Bea. Starting with lots of promise, it was difficult to get past the up and down relationship that I had to Bea, she wasn’t endearing due to her naivete, it was annoying – and the transitions between narrative, conversations and point of view asides were choppy and frequently abrupt – several sentences could go by before it became clear what had happened, and often the why went by unnoticed. Most certainly this could have been cleaned up a bit with editing, as Harrison’s descriptions are solid and evocative, while the character of Bea needed to show some actual growth and recognition of having “experienced’ things that repeatedly surprised her. There’s promise in the overall impression of her work, however, and this means that I’ll be certain to be watching for more. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Very good story that will draw you in quickly. Beatrice has such a good heart and goes through so much but ends her story with grace and hope.
Montauk is an extraordinary tale that had me hooked from the very start. Stuck in a loveless and childless marriage, Beatrice has hopes for her marriage when her husband, Harry, suggests they spend the summer at newest beach resort, The Montauk Manor. But, it turns out Harry doesn’t plan on staying. He leaves Beatrice there while he goes back to the city to work. Beatrice isn’t comfortable hanging out with the society women at the resort, so she befriends the laundry woman at the resort which leads to meeting Thomas, the lighthouse keeper. Beatrice ends up having an affair with Thomas and as summer is coming to an end, she is left with some life altering decisions that need to be made. This book took me by surprise. After reading the premise, I thought it was going to be good. But, I had no idea it would be this good. To say I got hooked on the story would be an understatement. I will definitely be reading more books by this author.
Very slow and very sad. I really wanted to like this book because of the setting and the "history" I thought it would have on Montauk. However, after plodding along slowly and depressingly, I finally skipped to the end. And I was glad I hadn't devoted more time to the parts I missed because they were all so sad.
Montauk is a hotel where all the rich New York wives go to for the summer while their husbands come to visit on the weekend. Beatrice has married rich, to a man who after not being able to get pregnant during their 5 year marriage, has grown distant over the years. Feeling disconnected from her husband and not fitting in with the wives in Montauk, she finds herself becoming friends with the workers in the hotel and on the island. One such person is the light keeper, whom she helps out after he was injured. Ignoring the warnings from others, she begins a relationship with him and the story continues to unfold. I had a hard time with this book. The descriptions of the hotel were detailed and interesting, which to me, didn't bode well when I was more interested in the hotel and secondary characters, than what happened to our main one. I appreciate the opportunity from St. Martin's Press to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
The year is 1938 and the setting is New York City where college educated Beatrice Beaudreaux lives with Harry, her husband of five years. They’ve tried unsuccessfully to have a child and she’s noticed that some of the spark is missing between them. When Harry makes plans for them to spend the summer in nearby Montauk, Beatrice believes this will be their chance to reconnect. Unfortunately, he’s only there on weekends and much of his time when there is spent with his other friends and potential investors. She’s also finding it difficult to connect with the other spouses and soon turns her attention to other attractions on the island. I initially found Beatrice emblematic of most married women of that era, focused on satisfying her husband’s needs and eager to start a family. Her attention and interests centered around Harry’s with her own identity secondary or nonexistent. The author does a great job of establishing the environment for women, so well that it was jarring to recall the massive journey we’ve made since that time. I had to adjust my mindset as the images were vividly crafted including fashion, vernacular and conversation. Beatrice wasn’t raised in the society world so her drift away from these shallow women was somewhat predictable even though her friendships with the townspeople and relationship with a certain lighthouse keeper weren’t. The disintegration of her marriage was painful as Harry’s cruelty and disregard was insensitive and rather public. But, at the same time, it was uplifting to see her embrace independence and pursue her own interests, talents and romance. This was a slow burn as it took some time to create that strong sense of time, place and atmosphere of the era and the author did that so effectively. It was impossible to appreciate Beatrice’s story otherwise and I found myself completely immersed in her environment. I was unprepared for the poignant ending but appreciated the direction taken. I came to really like Beatrice even though at times her liberties with the townspeople felt intrusive. But, her motives were pure and admirable. It’s an interesting story that, through Beatrice, contrasted the world of the wealthy and entitled with those of the people in the surrounding community whose livelihoods depended on them. It had me appreciating simple values and be reminded that privilege sometimes exacts a princely price. I enjoyed this debut novel. (Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)
3.5 Beatrice is both excited and apprehensive about spending the summer of 1938 on Montauk. Excited because Montauk is just coming into it's own as a place that the wealthy go to summer. Aprrehensive because her husband will only be there on weekends and this means she will be left to fend for herself amongst people she doesn't really know. It doesn't take long for her to tire of the snobbish behavior of the wealthy and she starts to connect with some of the locals. This leads her down a path that has tragic results. This was a sad but well written story. The story slowly unfolds but in many ways was also a page turner. I think it was because I liked Beatrice so much. She is naive in many ways but has a good heart. She tries to connect with her husband's rich friends and the local townspeople. The story really picks up the pace in the last quarter of the book when the two worlds Beatrice is trying to live in collide. And the ending! I just did not see that coming. My thanks to St. Matin's Press and Netgalley.
I had a hard time with this book. I don’t know exactly what it was but I could not get into it like I normally do a story. It didn’t pull me in or hold my attention. It took me quite a while to finally finish it and I honestly didn’t really like it that much. I’m not saying that others won’t love it, just that I didn’t. It started out pretty good but I didn’t like the husband at all. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my review. I gave it 3 stars because I did manage to finish it. I’m truly sorry. It just wasn’t for me.
The story takes place on Montauk, Long Island in 1938. Beatrice and Harry have been married for a few years with no children. Harry has a good job in the city and Beatrice does not work. They are wealthy and decide to spend the summer in Montauk. Beatrice is left alone most of the time while Harry carries on with his job and comes back on most weekends. Gradually, Beatrice feels distanced from the other wealthy, narcissistic and selfish women, although she feels she has to try to fit in for the sake of her husband. She becomes more aware about how she is expected to play the perfect wife, but husbands are free to be unfaithful with no consequences. Somewhere along the way, Beatrice finds her voice and shows her strength. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
In 1938 Beatrice Bordeaux and her husband Harry begin a summer of adventure in Montauk, a new and developing seaside area the rich are flocking to near Long Island in New York. They are spending the summer, Beatrice there full-time and Harry taking the train there for weekends. Harry is deciding if he should invest in the beautiful seaport all his friends with money are investing in. Beatrice will spend the summer relaxing, attending parties, shopping and going to the beach. Beatrice and Harry have been unable to conceive a child during their 5 year marriage, something which has been an embarrassment for her, but also something she wishes for desperately. She also hopes the summer will bring her relationship with Harry back to what is was. They seem to be drifting apart. But when Beatrice discovers some unsettling information about her husband, she must accept some harsh realities about their relationship. While in Montauk, Beatrice meets and befriends Elizabeth, a laundry worker for the resort they are staying in. She begins to feel her life of fancy dresses, parties and shopping are nothing compared to the tireless work ethic of the locals. And although there is all this talk about investing, she realizes the locals are the ones who are truly in need of some money. And then she meets someone who will change her life forever. A man she never dreamed she would be interested in. Someone she becomes attracted to for so many reasons. Perhaps even her soulmate. Now Beatrice must make some decisions. Decisions that were unheard of in those days. What should she do...what CAN she do? This is a beautifully written love story with believable characters and incredibly written majestic scenic passages with imagery that makes you feel you are there. It was quite the page turner with my heart leaping for joy and pounding from suspense. It possibly could be one of the best love stories I have read in quite awhile. Although I have yet to go to Montauk, with this book I feel like I have finally been!
Beatrice is to spend the summer on Montauk, a high society resort outside NYC. She is planning on reconnecting with her husband and hopefully becoming pregnant. Nothing goes as planned. She discovers her husbands infidelities and realizes her life is not exactly what she expected. I enjoyed this time period and the setting. Who doesn’t like leisurely (entitled) ladies spending a summer at the beach? But, I understand why Beatrice started to expand her horizons. These society ladies would get on anybody’s nerves. Beatrice inserts herself into the life of the laundry lady. This leads her to the light house. And to an attraction she never expected. I applaud Beatrice! She does not let society rule her thoughts and actions. She is smart and uses her abilities to change her stars. I enjoyed this novel. I just felt it was a little wordy and moved a little slow. But, isn’t this cover wonderful! I received this novel from St. Martin’s Press for a honest review.
ORMAT READ: eBook (Adobe Digital Editions) SIMILAR VIBES: The Thousandth Floor (if it were NA and without the sci fi part), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo READ FOR: high class 1930s society vibe *All my reviews are spoiler-free unless stated otherwise* OVERALL: 3.7/5 I really liked the setting and overall vibe of the book. But I was not engaged and interested enough in the story. I don’t think this was the book but me as the plot was not something that I could particularly relate to. Nevertheless, the characters were interesting to get to know and I was curious to see what would happen to them in the duration of the story. This feels like one of those classic historical fiction stories. There’s not much else to say but I would recommend this book to those who enjoy reading historical fiction and would want that classic historical feel with an added touch of class. PLOT: ★★★☆☆ WRITING STYLE: ★★★★☆ CHARACTERS: ★★★★☆ THEMES: ★★★★☆ PACING: ★★★☆☆ PAGE TURNER: ★★★★☆ Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Nicola Harrison for the ARC to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Anyone who has been to Montauk will enjoy this beach read. The story takes place in 1938 when Montauk was not 'the place to be' yet, but, just a sleepy fishing village. A group of investors from Manhattan thought it would be a great summer place for their wealthy society wives while they worked in the city weekdays and joined them on the weekends. I especially liked the fact they dined at Duryea's, we did too when vacationing there a few years ago. I also liked the added history of the 1938 September hurricane. #montauk #netgalley
Summer 1938 Harry and Beatrice Bordeaux are headed to the magnificent Montauk Manor hotel for the summer. Harry will work in the city during the week and join Beatrice on the weekend. Beatrice isn’t happy about that, but it seems it is the norm with all of the couples staying there. Harry wants Beatrice to befriend the other women there to help his career. After being married for 5 years, Beatrice has yet to become pregnant. They soon get into the weekly routine. Beatrice tries to befriend some of the wives, but many of them are so pretentious and that is not who Beatrice is. However, she soon becomes good friends with Molly who has her own business of making hats. Molly is a happy and genuine person which is what draws Beatrice to her. When Beatrice discovers that Harry is having affairs, she is furious. Beatrice wants to learn more about the town and the people who live there. She makes friends with Elizabeth, the laundress for the Montauk Manor. Through her, she meets the lighthouse keeper, Thomas. They enjoy one another’s company even if Beatrice has to be sure no one sees her with him. They soon fall in love but their lives are so different. How can there be a future for them? But when a bad storm hits, it decides the future of many people. I really enjoyed this book. The characters are perfectly created and Beatrice’s naivety is very well written. It’s impressive to see how she learns to stand up to the intimidation of Harry and the social climbing society women. The time period and the and the location are also very well written. This is an author I will be watching in the future. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Montauk, by Nicola Harrison, is a surprisingly captivating novel about class differences in 1938. Beatrice, raised on a Pennsylvania farm, is now married to an ambitious businessman from a socially elite New York family. The summer of 1938 is to be spent at the Montauk Manor, the current popular summer “camp” for the wealthy elite of New York. Over the course of the summer, Beatrice learns disturbing truths about her husband, her marriage, and the social crowd to which she seems destined. In many ways, this is a coming of age novel as Beatrice also learns much about who she is and wants to be, and the kind of life she wants to live. Harrison deftly weaves into this story the social mores of the time, class differences, and the expectations of a women’s role in society. She is amazingly underhanded in her treatment of these issues, letting character and plot propel the tale forward. Montauk is on the ocean. and you will hear the waves roll in, smell the salt water, and feel the breeze. Although this has all of the elements of the prototypical beach novel, it is much more penetrating. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read an electronic ARC. It was a pleasure!
"I closed my eyes in the darkness and listened to the faint sound of the ocean waves rolling in and crashing, rolling in and crashing, one after the other like the ticking of a clock whose hands keep moving forward even when you want time to stand still" (p. 221). Montauk by Nicola Harrison is a beautiful debut set in a fishing village in the 1930s where social elitists from the city are visiting for the summer months. While the women relax in Montauk during the week, their husbands are back in the city working, only coming back to the beach on the weekends. This leaves Beatrice quite a bit of time to think: is she really happy with Harry? I loved Montauk. Harrison did such a wonderful job capturing the imagery of the ocean, the lighthouse, and the Manor that I felt present. There was so much drama packed into the story that I never felt bored or wondered when the chapter would end. It didn't take long for me to become invested in our heroine. Once Bea realizes she's worth more than what her husband is giving her, she finds a newfound confidence that allows her to speak her mind and stand up for herself. The character development was beautifully done. I absolutely loved Thomas and Bea & I wholeheartedly believe Harrison did the story justice with Harry's fate. The ending had me floored. The way a book ends tells you a lot about how you feel about the whole of the story, and by the way Bea, Thomas, and Harry's stories were left, I knew I had loved every bit of what I read. Read it, savor it, love it. Thanks to Book Sparks & St. Martin's Press for the complimentary copy of Montauk to read and review! Content disclaimers: This premise of this novel is primarily based on infidelity, but I felt it was justified (and I don't take this topic lightly whatsoever). There is also a case of spousal rape towards the 3/4 mark of the novel.
Nicola Harrison’s debut novel takes us to Montauk, on Long Island, in 1938. The small village is starting to be transformed into a destination for New York’s rich and elite families to summer at beautiful Montauk Manor. The wives will spend their days with activities, while nannies take care of the children, and the husbands return from the city on weekends. Beatrice’s husband has decided that Montauk is the place to be, and Beatrice should spend her summer cultivating relationships with the other wives. Disappointed to find that they won’t be spending much-needed time together strengthening their relationship, Beatrice tries to fit in, hoping to show Harry she can be a partner and an asset in their marriage. Too soon, she realizes that she isn’t satisfied with her role. Her background as a lower-middle class girl, who went to college, has her seeking out friends that are more like her and a purpose that has her on a career-path that could ruin her socially if she’s found out. Her quest leads her to explore Montauk, and a friendship with the lighthouse keeper, and the realization that Harry has other plans while he is alone in the city, have Beatrice wondering whether this is the life for her or if there is more out there for her. Harrison’s descriptions and writing made me feel as if I was in Montauk in 1938. The characters were interesting, and I found myself taken by Beatrice and her musings. It was enlightening to read about the differences between the privileged and the villagers, as well as the attitudes of the each toward the other. It was also eye-opening to see how they treated Jewish people during the time. This book was a good one for me to find a cozy spot and get lost in; I found myself hurrying back to it. I enjoyed the read, and was even surprised by a couple twists that I didn’t see coming. This is a good one to add to your beach or travel bag. #StMartinsPress #Montauk #NicolaHarrison
I can't be the only one that wants to visit Montauk after reading this book? Nicola did such a wonderful job of transporting the reader back in time and onto the shores of Montauk. This book had me feeling a wide variety of emotions. I laughed, I cried, and I wanted to strangle Harry. I would say this book is both a romance and a historical fiction, which essentially means it's the perfect book for me. I loved reading about the fashion of the era, the fancy parties they attended, and the more simplistic life style of the locals. As you follow Beatrice throughout her summer in Montauk, you see her character mature. She's a college educated farm girl that finds herself wrapped up in the big city, high society life. Five years into her marriage to Harry and she's now use to the fancy clothes and gourmet meals. When she realizes her marriage isn't what she thought it would be, she starts to prioritize what's important in life and concludes that money may not be everything she needs. The book takes place in an era where people are recovering from the Depression and there are rumors of the US joining WWII. With all the uncertainty, she's trying to figure out what is best for her. She's quickly realizing that she doesn't fit in well with the high society crowd in Montauk. Even though most of the women are mothers (and Bea wants nothing more than to become a mother), they all have nannies to care for their children. The women spend their time gossiping, judging each other, and making sure everyone knows just how important and superior they are to everyone else. Beatrice rather spend her time with the natural beauty that Montauk has to offer instead of trying to fit in with a group of snooty ladies who have no interest in making friends with her (besides Dolly). By the end of the summer her life is completely different than when she first boarded the train to Montauk.
This excellent novel caught my attention and drew me in right from the beginning. It is the story of Beatrice, a wealthy socialite who longs for a more meaningful life, and finds it with the local lighthouse keeper on Montauk. But it’s not that simple. I found the characters extremely likable, except of course for Harry, and Jeanie. I cheered Beatrice on right up to the surprising last page.
I was quickly sucked into this book. At times I really enjoyed it but then it started to ramble and I found myself annoyed by the main character. I must say it kinda picked up again more than half way thru and finished with an unexpected ending. I thought it was a bit predictable at times but I still enjoyed it. Would make a good beach read
Montauk is the story of Beatrice. Beatrice is a country girl who married into wealth. At first happy in her marriage, Bea notices a rift in her marriage. Along with the fracture, Bea has failed to conceive a child, and that drives them further apart. So when Harry tells Bea that they will be taking a summer-long trip to Montauk Manor, she is thrilled. She thinks that they can grow close again and a child will happen. But that isn’t in the cards. Harry decides that he will work in the city while Bea stays at the Manor during the week. He’ll come and visit on the weekend. Feeling out of place, Bea strikes up a friendship with the manor’s laundress. Who in turn introduces her to Thomas, the head lightkeeper. As Bea’s feelings for Thomas grows, she realizes that she must make a choice. What will happen? What will Bea’s decision be? And can she survive the consequences? I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Montauk when I read the blurb. To me, it screamed spoiled rich girl has an affair, and there are consequences. Then I started reading. And let me tell you, this book is anything than what I thought. I was surprised by this book. I liked Bea even if she did annoy me during parts of the book. I loved her determination to make her marriage work. I liked that she didn’t care what the other women at the Manor thought about her. But, as I mentioned at the beginning of the paragraph, she annoyed me. She overstepped her bounds when it came to Elizabeth and Thomas. She let the other women in the Manor dictate what she should do the first half of the book. And the big thing, she didn’t confront Harry about his affairs until the end of the book. I did figure out about Harry cheating early in the book. He was in love with Bea, but he was chomping at the bit to get back to Manhattan. When it was validated, I was surprised that Bea didn’t say something to him. But, that was how it was back then. Men could do whatever they wanted with whomever they wanted, and the women took it. I was surprised when the author chose to have Bea and Thomas start a relationship while married. While two wrongs don’t make a right, I do think that Bea deserved to be happy. And Thomas made her happy. But she was torn between Harry and Thomas. I was on pins and needles about who she was going to choose. You will need tissues when reading the end of the book. I was surprised at what happened between Harry and Bea. Very surprised. I was also surprised by the news that Bea had. I mentally went “Yikes, how is she going to deal with THAT.” The very end of the book had me sobbing. Let’s say that it was not a happy ending. Which was surprising and refreshing.
Beatrice is lucky to have married a very wealthy Harry and to be spending the summer vacation in Montauk. But is the social pressure and the rampant cheating really what she wants? I really enjoyed this book. I love that Beatrice was different from the other “housewives” and that she truly stood up for her beliefs as the book went on. I loved her relationship with Elizabeth and Dolly and how both friendships grew over the course of the book. Thank you netgalley and st martins press for allowing me to read and review this book in advance!
I love the era between the Great Depression and World War II. Watching our country rise up out of the ashes and gain the strength to fight another world war never ceases to amaze me. It was during this time that the divide between social classes deepened and became crystal clear as the wealthy continued to live their lavish lifestyles while the lower classes struggled to survive. It is this divide that is the foundation of Montauk. Montauk is a small costal town on Long Island that has become a glamorous summer retreat, with a stunning manor that many Manhattanites flocked to the summer of 1938. Beatrice Bordeaux is one of the privledged wives who found herself enjoying the beauty of Montauk that summer, but Beatrice feels discontented with her life, this displeasure deepening as the days of summer flutter by. Beatrice's fight for empowerment, to find her true self, to break social barriers and fight for women's rights in this male-dominated society was by far my favorite part of this novel. I loved watching Beatrice blossom into a strong woman with a voice all her own, breaking away from her shy, people-pleasing ways, and standing up for herself and what she believed in. Reading about the beautiful details of Montauk, the writing capturing my imagination, was also pleasurable, but the novel does have a slow start, some of the characters weren't well developed, and much of the plot and language was highly offensive to me since I prefer cleaner reads. It was these faults that had me torn, wanting to like this debut novel but the flaws overpowered it for me personally. If things like language, affairs, and steamy romances do not bother you I believe you will enjoy Montauk. *I have reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are completely honest, and my own.
MONTAUK tells the tale of young wife Beatrice and her life changing summer in Montauk in 1938. Lonely and lacking purpose in her life, she does not quite fit in with the other society wives enjoying their summer playground, waiting for their husbands to come down from New York City each weekend. Bea soon befriends Elizabeth, a local who takes care of the Manor’s laundry, which leads to Bea meeting lighthouse keeper Thomas with whom she shares an unexpected connection. I expected MONTAUK to be historical fiction, but it is really romance with a touch of women’s fiction thrown in so I might not be the target audience for Harrison’s debut. That said, it is a diverting, if predictable, snapshot of the contrast between the “haves and the have nots” in the late nineteen thirties. The ending, though a bit of a surprise, left me wanting more. Bea is interesting and kind, but, even though she did not grow up wealthy, she is a bit naive concerning her own actions and their consequences. At times, I want to shake her, but I do acknowledge that she is representative of a young woman of her era. Most of the characters, the society ladies, are unpleasant, shallow, and myopic, but I really admire Dolly and enjoy Thomas. MONTAUK is a good summer read, especially for readers drawn to weightier romances. I received a generous ARC of this title through NetGalley from St. Martin’s Press. The thoughts and opinions are my own.
When I started reading Montauk, I was not sure I was going to like it, but very soon, I fell in love with Beatrice, the main character in this Novel, set in the rich playground of Montauk, during the summer of 1938. The story begins with Beatrice (Bea) and her Husband Harry, arriving in Montauk and the description of the manor where they will be spending the summer. Well, where Bea will be spending the summer, joined by Harry on the weekends, when he is able to get away from work. Harry intends to invest in Montauk, as the developer, who also created Miami Beach, also began the project at Montauk which is now incomplete, as he has run out of money, and looks to be a great investment for others to jump in on. He asks Bea to get connected to the women who are there, as he feels it would be good for business. Bea, with some trepidation and concern that she will be bored, agrees to do what she can. She connects with Dolly, who she knew from the city already, and who becomes her closest friend. She tries to get in with the other ladies, but finds it challenging to deal with some of the behavior, especially of the queen bee, Jeanie, who is similar to the popular, but mean girl, everyone knew in high school. On laundry day, Bea misses the laundry lady and ends up running after her to give her the bags. She does meet up with her, and learns that her name is Elizabeth. Elizabeth fascinates Bea, as does the fishing town that Elizabeth lives in, next to where the Manor is situated. Over time, Bea learns more about this woman's simple life, and enjoys getting away from the ladies at the manor. Through Elizabeth, she reconnects with a mysterious stranger she bumped into during an event she attended in which boys from the town attempt to capture a greased pig. She comes to know this man better and over the summer, also learns more about her relationship with her husband than she ever wanted to know, and much more about herself in the process. Montauk is a story of love, loss, betrayal, acceptance, joy and pain. It takes you through one momentous summer, in the lives of Bea and her friends in Montauk. It takes you through the development of relationships and the shattering of others and the end... well, I will not spoil it for you.... so I will leave my opinions out on how the story concludes. Nicola Harrison did an amazing job on this book, which looks to be the first novel she has written. I will be on the lookout to see whatever she writes in the future as I am an instant fan!