The High Season

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

Ruthie Beamish loves living in Orient year round, in a beautifully renovated home inherited through her former husband Mike’s family. Mike and Ruthie have been separated for three years, but haven’t quite gotten to the divorce, preferring instead to remain friendly co-parents to their fifteen year old daughter Jem. The only downside to Orient is what Jem refers to as the “summer bummer,” where Ruthie and Jem pack up, rent their home to tourists, and spend the summer in a garage apartment or couch surfing at a friend’s place. This summer, though, has the added interest of Adeline Clay, the widow of an artist that Ruthie worked for in New York. Adeline and her stepson Lucas will be staying in Ruthie and Jem’s house, which is a bit uncomfortable, and quickly becomes unbearable when Mike and Adeline begin seeing each other. 

In addition to the romantic drama provided by Mike and Adeline, and the teenaged girl meanness aimed at Jem, Ruthie’s job at the local museum is on the line. The new executive board has unceremoniously bounced Ruthie out, leaving her furiously angry and with very few options.  Throw in some millionaires and parties in the Hamptons, with beautiful people frantically remaking themselves into the current popular image, Lucas and his entitled attitude, Jem’s heartache, and one extremely expensive watch that seems to make the rounds of all the players, and you have a full and interesting summer novel. I enjoyed this book, and was cheering for Ruthie to find out what it was that she wanted. She does come out on top, by the way, but it may not be in the way the reader expects.
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On the North Fork of Long Island, Ruthie owns a house with her ex, while they co-parent daughter, Jem.  Summers mean moving out to rent the house to cover expenses, especially as the town is becoming more attractive to the Hamptons like wealthy crowd.  Ruthie’s job as curator of the little local museum is threatened, as is her friendship with her ex-husband as he falls for the renter,  a wealthy woman.  The story is really about life, the ups and downs that require strength and forbearance.  It was an okay read.
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Definitely a solid beach read. I greatly enjoyed the structure of the book to embrace the summer season. Judy Blundell created interesting characters, a dramatic story line that instantly sucked me in, and a timeless summer favorite. The only downfall was there were too many characters where I wanted it to focus on the mother/daughter dynamic between Ruth and Jem. Thank you Randomhouse for the e-copy arc to enjoy,
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Vapid, Tepid, Entitled – in all the worst ways. Arghh, I just really disliked all the characters in this book and couldn’t muster the empathy nor sympathy which would have made any part of this book palatable. Having said that, I wonder if that isn’t what good writing is all about - the ability to evoke strong reactions.  

There was a paragraph that begged a universal question: “If you held a thing that could change everything, if it could ease your anguish, repair what had been broken … if it could give you exactly what you wanted …. would you just toss it back in a box?” OR WOULD YOU EXPLOIT IT? And that is part of the premise that runs through this book. Never mind that that “thing” doesn’t belong to you, or might be stolen, or might be fraud, or might be so underhanded, or might really hurt someone else.

All in all, another quote by a minor character sums it all up for me: “It’s just a pain to even be a bystander to all this stupid mean shit.”

Thank you NetGalley and Random House for a copy.
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This is an interesting summer read that wlll be popular in my library with fans of Kristin Hannah and Elin Hilderbrand.
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Unfortunately this book just wasn't my cup of tea.  I am sad to say that it really didn't hold my interest.  Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read it though,
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THE HIGH SEASON  by Judy Blundell
This is definitely “women’s fiction.” The writing is okay. The characters are okay. The plot is slow moving and heavy on feelings. The house plays a big part in both the feelings and the plot. You will figure out the ending as soon as Adeline shows up.
Not much here. If you like to read for immediate pleasure and don’t mind stock characters and stock plot, you will like this book. If you are looking for a “mind stretch”, this one is not for you.  It is a little long. 
3 of 5 stars
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Ruthie's life is just about to get more complicated. It's Memorial Day weekend and that means she must leave her gorgeous beach house for the renters that are coming for the summer. This is how she affords to live in such a beautiful home. This year her beach house is being rented by a super rich woman and to top it off, her job is on the rocks.  Plus, her teenage daughter is getting herself into a bit of trouble.  Orient, her quiet beach town, is supposed to be way different than the glamorous Hamptons. In fact, it's two ferry rides away! But her summer is getting more dramatic by the minute, especially when you throw her ex-husband into the mix.  Cue all the drama and add in a side of some juicy secrets and you'll have yourself an entertaining beach read in Judy Blundell's debut, The High Season.

I think Blundell captures a middle age perfectly with the character of Ruthie in The High Season.  The drama that surrounds this summer and Ruthie is rather unfortunate, but I was rooting for her from the get-go. Her world is turned a bit upside down and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. I also appreciated all the details of the art world, which is important to Ruthie as she works at a museum.  

Her daugtehr, Jem, is portrayed very realistically in The High Season. After all, Blundell is known for her young adult novels, so she especially did a good job with Jem's coming of age story.  I also appreciated the role of social media in this story, which his a very timely and important topic. 

The best part of The High Season is Blundell's portrayal of the beach town. Who doesn't love a good beach read that takes place in Long Island? There's definitely a divide amongst the rich vacationers and the local people in The High Season, but that's what makes this novel so juicy at times. I loved Blundell's descriptions of the simplicity of the town, which is the polar opposite of the glitzy Hamptons. Blundell describes Orient as "pies and parades and stony beaches that hurt your feet, banging screen doors and peaches eaten over the sink." I absolutely loved that line in the book!

I'm going to be honest though.....it took me quite awhile to get into The High Season; in fact, I almost put it down numerous times. Blundell introduced readers to many characters all at once and I had a hard time keeping them all straight.  Plus, I also wasn't invested in Ruthie's story as I would have liked. 

Many people said that The High Season was going to be THE beach read of the summer and while I liked it, it wasn't my absolute favorite. Entertaining? Yes! Memorable? Not so sure about that. Nonetheless, I will definitely check out Blundell's work in the future.
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Every librarian I know is recommending this book which takes place in a Long Island type of seasonal beach community.  We simply can't keep up with demand for this book and have purchased additional copies in all formats.  This is a word of mouth favorite and our Library's reserve list is long!  Be sure to get extra copies for your adult collection and expect demand.
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Thanks to Random House and Goodreads for the ARC of this novel in exchange for my review.  I enjoyed this story much more than I was expecting. I don’t read a lot of (as this is classified on the Netgalley page) “women’s fiction” as I don’t usually find it that interesting. I had read a few positive reviews of this title though, so decided to check it out.  In most ways, it’s a typical townies v. summer people type story, but the author managed to insert enough interesting relationships to make it a little more than the usual. And the descriptions and setting truly made it a perfect summer book.
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Very enjoyable summer read of the North Fork area of NY..  Had so many unusual twists and turns that kept you thinking throughout the book.  Great read
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I did not like this book. I thought there were too many characters introduced too fast and the main character was unlikeable.  I could not finish it.
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I received an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.

I don't know if it's because I'm from Long Island where this book is set or not, but I loved this book! The story of a woman who has to give up her home during the summer months so she can afford to live there the rest of the year was really compelling to me. As someone who has lived here most of my life, I can say I honestly hate it when the summer people come to stay. Even though I'm not in the moneyed East End, it's gotten so that regular people cannot enjoy the beauty of Eastern Long Island anymore. Right off the bat the I sympathized with the main character. Add to this lots of juicy summer backstabbing, lying and cheating and you have one hot summer read.

I also liked that the book followed the stories of three people, each told in unique ways, most especially the daughter's storyline told in texts. It definitely was a page turner for me and I think anyone who enjoys stories about the rich and famous and the haves and have-nots will enjoy this read.
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THE HIGH SEASON by Judy Blundell is the first adult novel from this winner of the National Book Award for Young People (What I Said and How I Lied). This new novel takes place on Long Island as Memorial Day weekend arrives and Ruthie Beamish, her ex-husband Mike, and teenage daughter Jem prepare to vacate their beach house. They rent it each summer to help cover expenses and this year's tenant is Adeline Clay, the widow of a renowned artist for whom Ruthie (now the local museum director) once worked. 

Romance, celebrity, social climbing by haves and have-nots, an affair, questions of ethics and potentially dangerous choices quickly fill this book. There's also plenty of art, feelings of entitlement and jealousy, plus many more characters and sub-plots as Ruthie schemes and contemplates revenge. Even with so much to track, THE HIGH SEASON received starred reviews from Library Journal ("sophisticated and delicious portrayal of subtle class warfare at the shore") and Kirkus. Interested? You can read an excerpt (and see a reading guide) on the publisher's site. 

Link in live post: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/561515/the-high-season-by-judy-blundell/9780525508717/
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I enjoyed this book, but the pace dragged a little.  The characters didn’t  make me want to keep reading
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This was a decent summer beach read but didn't have much more substance than that.  Most of the characters were self-centered, entitled Hamptonites who I just couldn't muster up any interest in or sympathy for.
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Just didn’t work for me, usually summer themed books in New York with wealthy characters are right up my alley, but alas. I never really connected with the story or characters, I kept having to restart chapters as I lost my attention quickly.
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Good summer read!! I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
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I really enjoyed this true "summer" read. It takes place on the North Fork of Long Island, and since I'm from Suffolk County and was on Long Island, for a visit, it seemed to be the perfect way to transition back to my real life in Alabama...ha ha! Everyone knows the Hamptons--where rich and famous celebs go to hangout at the beach and misbehave in the bars while still being close to NYC. The North Folk is where the truly wealthy go to get away from it all--Orient, small town living, and lovingly crafted luxury beach homes are the draw there. And some awesome Revolutionary history, too! (All along the North Shore of Long Island are signs indicating you're on the Washington Spy Trail!). SO the main character, who is separated-but not yet legally divorced--from her husband and they are still living as a "family" with their teenage daughter, Jem. Every year since the couple purchased their home, they rent it out to a high dollar guest for the season, so they an afford the place. Both Ruthie and David, both artists who now do something else, struggle to pay for the home in the meantime. They have the upkeep of a fancy home, but yet can't afford to spend their own summer there. Anyway, a new renter appears and everything changes for everyone. Ruthie's life is thrown into complete turmoil. This was a perfect summer read: Long Island, the Sound, farm stands, sex and romantic relationships (but not overly descriptive, which I appreciate), and a character for everyone! Blundell explores the lives not only of the adults in this novel, but the teens and the young adults, like Doe, finding their way in the world. Definitely one of my favorite books of the year, even if it was a tad fluffy. I loved it.
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I wasn’t sure what I was going to wind up rating this book. But I’ve sat with it for a few days and I realized that it’s actually been a book that’s stayed with me and for that I gave it an extra star. 

I have thought often of Ruthie and her path to letting go and moving on and I was invested in her outcome. I love a book that can make me feel a connection to a character like that.

So for Ruthie I am recommending this book. She wasn’t without faults and her struggles were real and I liked her for that!
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