The Summer Wives

The Summer Wives

by Beatriz Williams

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Overview

The Summer Wives is an exquisitely rendered novel that tackles two of my favorite topics: love and money. The glorious setting and drama are enriched by Williams’s signature vintage touch. It’s at the top of my picks for the beach this summer.”

—Elin Hilderbrand, author of The Perfect Couple

New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams brings us the blockbuster novel of the season—an electrifying postwar fable of love, class, power, and redemption set among the inhabitants of an island off the New England coast . . .

In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island as a schoolgirl from the margins of high society, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda’s catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools. Isobel Fisher, Miranda’s new stepsister—all long legs and world-weary bravado, engaged to a wealthy Island scion—is eager to draw Miranda into the arcane customs of Winthrop society.

But beneath the island’s patrician surface, there are really two clans: the summer families with their steadfast ways and quiet obsessions, and the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic workers who earn their living on the water and in the laundries of the summer houses. Uneasy among Isobel’s privileged friends, Miranda finds herself drawn to Joseph Vargas, whose father keeps the lighthouse with his mysterious wife. In summer, Joseph helps his father in the lobster boats, but in the autumn he returns to Brown University, where he’s determined to make something of himself. Since childhood, Joseph’s enjoyed an intense, complex friendship with Isobel Fisher, and as the summer winds to its end, Miranda’s caught in a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop’s hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the island for nearly two decades.

Now, in the landmark summer of 1969, Miranda returns at last, as a renowned Shakespearean actress hiding a terrible heartbreak. On its surface, the Island remains the same—determined to keep the outside world from its shores, fiercely loyal to those who belong. But the formerly powerful Fisher family is a shadow of itself, and Joseph Vargas has recently escaped the prison where he was incarcerated for the murder of Miranda’s stepfather eighteen years earlier. What’s more, Miranda herself is no longer a naïve teenager, and she begins a fierce, inexorable quest for justice for the man she once loved . . . even if it means uncovering every last one of the secrets that bind together the families of Winthrop Island.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062660367
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/10/2018
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 2,431
File size: 874 KB

About the Author

A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz Williams spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons, before her career as a writer took off. She lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore.

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The Summer Wives 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once again, Beatriz Williams does not disappoint with her latest novel. This book is captivating from start to finish. If you are a fan, or new to her writing all together, you are in for a treat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another beautiful, enchanting book by Beatriz Williams. I loved getting to know the characters and how they were all intertwined. Beautifully written!
Anonymous 7 months ago
Reminded me of summers spent in New England. Couldn’t put it down!
Anonymous 10 months ago
Not+as+good+as+The+Secret+Life+of+Violet+Grant+but+still+a+great+read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It will not disappoint!
Cynthia181 More than 1 year ago
The Wrong Made Right I won a copy of this book from the author, I was not required to give a favorable review. This was such a great story. It tells of a time when you went away to your summer homes to spend the summers away from the big cities. But each of the characters of such stories to tell. Miranda's mother married into the wealth of the island after her father had died in WWII, and with it she acquired a step-sister. But her step-father had a secret of his own from when he was younger and before he married his first wife. He fell for a island girl and because of it she had to marry another because she was pregnant. But she hurt her family by stealing her cousins man and naming him the father. But the story goes between the time they all were young, and when the children were teens and then when they all became adults. Especially when the child of the summer wife is blamed for killing a wealthy man who happens to be his father. But I loved it. It gives you a look into a different time.
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
This is a beautifully written story. I loved the richly drawn characters especially Miranda. She's a newcomer to the Island. It's here that she learns about love and life. The Islanders and the Summer people each follow their own set if rules. I was fascinated by the ridged structure of Society here. Winthrop Island is beautiful but it's secrets are ugly. The murder of Hugh Fisher is a case in point. Joseph Vargo was convicted of the crime but Miranda knew he couldn't kill anyone. I was enthralled by her. She's a fighter. She won't be stopped until she succeeds. Her story is entwined with that of her stepsister, Isobel. They are completely different personalities. Beatriz Williams wrote a wonderful story. I was drawn in and I couldn't put the book down. The ending was sweet and touching. It left me wanting more. The Summer Wives is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found it too graphic. I didn't think it was necessary and didn't add to the plot. I wouldn't recommend it to my friends.
NanceeMarchinowski More than 1 year ago
Replete with drama, mystery and steamy romance, The Summer Wives captured my attention and kept me questioning where the story was leading. Personalities are strong, and the plot moves along at a swift pace. As I reflect back over the book I realize that this could be a true life story. The characters in this novel represent life at it's grittiest level, earthy, heady and mysterious. The lives of the rich and famous intertwine with lower class workers on an island setting that reveals intoxicating drama and intrigue. I enjoyed this deeply involved tale of family, friends and lovers. A bit graphic for my taste, but that did not detract from the suspense as the plot unfolded, leading the way to the secrets that lay hidden amongst the islanders and the summer resident families. This would make great summer reading, particularly because of the atmosphere of the island setting. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book with no expectations for a positive review. All expressed opinions are my own.
BettyTaylor More than 1 year ago
Another fabulous book by Beatriz Williams. A great beach read. This book is about the clash of two cultures here – the rich, privileged summer families and the immigrant working class local families who live on the island year round. The interaction of these cultures sets us up for intrigue, mystery, and romance. Set on exclusive Winthrop Island off the New England Coast, the book alternates between the 1930s with the story of the love affair between a local year-round resident girl and her rich lover, and the 1950s and 60s with Miranda Schuyler’s story. Miranda’s father has died in the war and in 1951 Miranda and her mother arrive on Winthrop Island. Her mother is marrying Hugh Fisher, part of the inner circle on the island. She also meets her new stepsister Isobel who educates her on the ins and outs of the high society summer families and the year-round local families. Miranda is immediately smitten when she sees Joseph Vargus, one of the locals. Joseph’s father the local lighthouse keeper and in the summers Joseph helps his father maintain their lobster boats. But when summer is over Joseph attends college, wanting to make something of himself. Joseph and Isobel have always had a close relationship and Miranda battles with her attraction for Joseph and her desire not to hurt her sister. Then in 1969 Miranda returns to Winthrop Island. She is now a famous actress but is shunned on the island because of her association with Joseph who is in prison for the murder of Miranda’s stepfather. Miranda, healing from her own disastrous marriage, learns that Joseph has escaped from prison. She now becomes determined to prove Joseph is innocent. Beatriz Williams is a master storyteller so you know her books are always beautifully written. The tightly held secrets of the Islanders will slowly unravel as outsiders probe into the mysteries. The characters are relatable and likeable. As I read I could feel myself going with the ebb and flow of the island life. I highly recommend this book.
Katie__B More than 1 year ago
Miranda Schuyler has arrived on Winthrop Island in the summer of 1951. Her mother is set to marry Hugh Fisher, and after the wedding she will be spending the summer in his home with her new stepsister, Isobel. Miranda soon realizes there are two types of people on the island, the wealthy who come to the island to stay in their vacation homes and dine at the country club, and the working class make ends meet by catering to the rich. As Isobel shows her around the island, Miranda is drawn to Joseph Vargas, who helps his father in the lobster boats and lives in the lighthouse across from the Fisher family home. Before summer's end, Miranda's path changes course and she leaves the island due to tragic circumstances. Decades later when she returns she realizes the island is still full of secrets as she attempts to seek justice. What I enjoyed about this book was due to the alternating timelines, you had an idea of what happened early on but needed the rest of the pieces to the puzzle to see the whole picture. I wouldn't say there were any truly shocking plot twists in this book but I still had a hard time putting the book down. I really enjoyed seeing the people of the island through the perspectives of Miranda and Bianca. The setting of Winthrop Island and how the rich and working class interacted were strong assets and made the book all the more enjoyable. My only disappointment with the book came with the ending. I didn't feel like it was the most satisfying ending. I don't know how to describe it other than when I finished the book I walked away with a "meh" type feeling whereas up until the last few chapters of the book, I had really enjoyed watching the story unfold. It certainly isn't a bad ending but for me it was the weakest part of the book. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
Vhar318 More than 1 year ago
An island all unto itself yet not far from Long Island Sound sits Winthrop Island. Winthrop is a summer getaway for the rich and home to people that live there year round to make a living. It is here where the lines get crossed between the islanders and the summer people. Where it is forbidden for the son or daughter of the rich to fall in love with an islander. It is where the sordid affairs of the Fisher family, the Vargas family and the Medeiro family become entwined. Secrets that no one could imagine. Forbidden love affairs, children born of theses love affairs, a murder whose murderer holds the secret of the truth until their dying day. The Summer Wives is a beautifully written story that draws you in immediately and keeps you there until the very end. At the end you are left wanting a sequel. I loved this book. Beatriz Williams is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. The first book of hers I read was Cocoa Beach and I enjoyed it but this story is even better. Can’t wait for Beatriz Williams next book!
Fredreeca2001 More than 1 year ago
Miranda returns to Winthrop Island after a terrible accident. She may have returned under tragic circumstances but she had also left years earlier in a cloud of suspicion. There are a good many characters in this story so, as a reader, you have to pay attention or it can get confusing. I enjoyed Miranda. She is tough, tougher than she looks. Plus, she has a big heart. There is Isobel. She is sort of a wild child. There is Hugh. He is Miranda's brother, who is named after her step father, Hugh Fisher. Hugh Fisher allegedly (key word here) gets murdered by Joseph Vargas. These are just a few characters needed to tell this story. I enjoyed the mystery of this read. What happened to Hugh? Who did it? Did Joseph really do it? If not then who did? The mystery is really what keeps this tale alive and kicking. And Isobel...she is the best character out of the whole book she beats to her own drum with some heartbreaks along the way. This story is typical Beatriz Williams. Different narrators, different stories, different time periods all melding into a great tale. No one weaves a story through different generations quite like this author. I have read and loved all of her books. But, I did feel this story dragged a good bit. I wanted a little more action. It is a wonderful tale. Just a bit slow in places. I received this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss.
Fredreeca2001 More than 1 year ago
Miranda returns to Winthrop Island after a terrible accident. She may have returned under tragic circumstances but she had also left years earlier in a cloud of suspicion. There are a good many characters in this story so, as a reader, you have to pay attention or it can get confusing. I enjoyed Miranda. She is tough, tougher than she looks. Plus, she has a big heart. There is Isobel. She is sort of a wild child. There is Hugh. He is Miranda's brother, who is named after her step father, Hugh Fisher. Hugh Fisher allegedly (key word here) gets murdered by Joseph Vargas. These are just a few characters needed to tell this story. I enjoyed the mystery of this read. What happened to Hugh? Who did it? Did Joseph really do it? If not then who did? The mystery is really what keeps this tale alive and kicking. And Isobel...she is the best character out of the whole book she beats to her own drum with some heartbreaks along the way. This story is typical Beatriz Williams. Different narrators, different stories, different time periods all melding into a great tale. No one weaves a story through different generations quite like this author. I have read and loved all of her books. But, I did feel this story dragged a good bit. I wanted a little more action. It is a wonderful tale. Just a bit slow in places. I received this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss.
SusanKC More than 1 year ago
Ms. Williams is a new author for me. I found this to be a delightful jaunt to a by-gone era, a peak into the life of the privileged elite that spent their summers on one of the islands off of the New England coast. The decisions and mistakes made in one generation haunt the Fisher and Vargas families in a mystery with far-reaching consequences. While some aspects of the mystery were predictable, there were enough plot twists to keep my attention until the end. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from Goodreads and the author/publisher. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
The setting for this book is a little known exclusive island off the coast of Long Island, and the story spans decades there. The author shows us both sides of the people that live here, the wealthy summer residents, and the immigrant Portuguese’s, mainly the businesses and help. Be ready for a bit of mystery, murder, and how the population here is related to one another. There are several bombshells dropped, some of which I saw coming, but others are complete surprises. I guess, when the final facts come to light they do make sense. You will be quickly page turning to find all the facts here, but when the last page is turned there is a feeling of loss and a want for more. I received this book through Edelweiss and the Publisher William Morrow, and was not required to give a positive review.
PegGlover More than 1 year ago
The Summer Wives is a rich, compelling novel, crafted with intriguing characters, realistic dialogue and a complex, mysterious plot, involving love, betrayal, and murder. Miranda moved for the summer to a well-hidden Island off the Long Island coast, called Winthrop Island. Miranda’s mother was marrying the handsome Hugh Fisher; a man of great wealth, power, and charm. To the Portuguese Islanders; however, especially, Francisca and Bianca Vargas; Hugh was a conniving devil, a trickster, a man who used his influence to entice and hurt. There are several superbly written, sub-stories in this novel, all interwoven between the pages, and ranging from the 1930s to the 1970s. There is so much going on in this novel, that I read the book twice, to make sure that I didn’t miss any of the intricate pieces that made up this fascinating tale. The author brings the reader deep into the hearts and minds of Bianca Vargas, Miranda Schuyler, Joseph Vargas and Isobel Fisher. My favorite character was Miranda. She was a woman of integrity who by no fault of her own, was caught up in a world of deceit. Joseph touched my heart. He was also a favorite character of mine. He was a good and honest man who suffered unjustly. Isobel, Miranda stepsister was someone I couldn’t warm up to. She was wild, entitled and cunning. Joseph didn’t think of Miranda Schuyler as a person who was part of the Island’s Families, even though, technically she was. Miranda didn’t carry herself like the aloof, elite, wealthy families who summered on the Island. A lot happened that summer of 1951, some things exceedingly joyful, and some so horrific that lives were changed forever. When Miranda left the Island that fall, she didn’t return for eighteen years. Her relationship with her mother and stepsister was almost nonexistent. And her relationship with Joseph, was just so, so sad. Miranda returned, however, eighteen years later to see justice done and to heal from her brokenness. She was not a teen anymore, but an established married woman, a movie star, even. Although, I found the book utterly fascinating and absorbing; I had to backtrack a few times to figure out exactly what was going on. This is the first book that I have read by this talented author, but it won’t be my last. The Summer Wives is a complex novel, well-written and one that I’ll read again. Thank you, William Morrow Publishing and Edelweiss, for my advanced review copy. I loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not into romance
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A really enjoyed
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Boring and confusing as to who is who. Doesnt come near as compelling to her previous works.