Cover Image: Summer Darlings

Summer Darlings

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Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley and Gallery books for a free galley in exchange for my honest review. Summer Darlings is the perfect beach read as it sweeps you into the lives of the rich and famous vacationing in Martha's Vineyard one summer in the 1960's. Heddy, daughter of a single-mom and raised in Brooklyn, is desperate to raise her lot in life and leave her past behind. Heddy believes she has hit the jackpot when she is offered a nanny position in the home of one of the most popular and richest families on the island and hopes this will aid in snagging herself a well-to-do husband and a secure future. However, Heddy quickly discovers that money does not always bring happiness and the idea of happiness may just be a mask that the rich wear to hide the lies and deceit that brew beneath the surface. My only complaint about this story was the ending. It all wrapped up a little too quickly and neatly in comparison to the rest of the book, but overall I still thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

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Amazing! Such a unique story. The summer romance we have been waiting for! Each character is so unique and have their own voice. Easy read!

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Along with the title, description, and the lovely cover of this book, I was impelled to read Summer Darlings. I think at times we all long to be better or wish our lives were different than what they are. The grass often does seem greener on the other side. I also enjoy coming-of-age novels.

The main character is Heddy, a young woman from a working class family in New York City who attends Wellesley college in Boston on scholarship. When she loses her scholarship due to a mistake she makes her whole world is upended. She starts off the summer with her future up in the air. At first she thinks the family that has employed her for the summer at Martha's Vineyard is perfect and she longs to be just like them. As the story unfolds, she learns that things aren't always what they look like on the surface.

Lots of characters emerge as the story unfolds. My favorite was the larger-than-life actress with a heart of gold. There is romance, drama, suspense, and lessons about life in this novel.

At times the flow was a little choppy and the characters didn't always stay true to character; however, it was an enjoyable read and I was thankful for the opportunity to devour another book.

*A special thanks to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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Set in the 1960s, this novel is told from the perspective of Heddy, during one summer where she works as a nanny on Martha's Vineyard, admiring the world of the rich people around her though she struggle to figure out her place in the world, just as she did at Wellesley where she was one of the only non-rich students. A few of the characters/plot points felt a little overbroad and predictable, but it was an enjoyable story and I really liked Hedy. Also nice and light for a historical novel. If you like Beatriz Williams, you might like this too though it is not dual time period. 3.5 stars.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for an Advanced Reader's Copy in exchange for an honest review.

It's 1962, and Heddy Winsome, a college student accepts a summer position to be a nanny for a wealthy family living on Martha's Vineyard. Fascinated by their glamorous and luxurious lifestyle, Heddy does her best to assimilate into the culture, and earn enough money to reinstate her status at Wellesley and support her poverty-stricken mother back in Brooklyn. She grapples between two young men who seek her attention, befriends a famous actress who takes her under her wing, and seeks material to write a screenplay about her summer experience. Not everything is as it seems, and Heddy is faced with the reality that the life she aspires to, that of her employers, isn't always what you think it is.

The title. The cover, The description. I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. This time period is right up my alley, and when you factor in the summer vibe, I knew it would be a great way to kick off the reading season. Sadly, I found myself constantly bored by the story and disinterested in any of the characters. I didn't look forward to picking this one up, and it just wasn't for me.

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Heddy is both strong and naive. A summer spent as a babysitter on Martha’s Vineyard will change her in ways she could never have expected.

Heddy arrives for her summer job with stars in her eyes. She looks forward to babysitting and boarding with the perfect family; rubbing elbows with the rich and famous; and meeting and becoming engaged with a wealthy man – for love, of course. As she becomes more comfortable working in service, she finds it surprising that some accept her as an equal. Her dream is to be like those around her until their secrets and traits begin to emerge.

Over the summer, Heddy is educated in life. She learns the good, the bad and the horrible from the wealthiest of the summer of ’62. I wish I could read her journal!

Heddy and Ruth became friends. I am not sure about Gigi, maybe because I am callous and wonder about ulterior motives. Naturally, along with all the other readers, fell in love with Ash at first glimpse. I cannot express the emotions other characters evoked without spoilers.

I was able to experience a touch of what it was like to spend the summer on Martha’s Vineyard in 1962. What a treat!

I received an ARC from Gallery Books through NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinion or rating of this book. I am voluntarily submitting this review and am under no obligation to do so.

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If you like historical fiction that's not too far in the past, then I think you'd really like this one. In the early 1960s, Heddy is a young woman who takes a job nannying for a wealthy family on Martha's Vineyard in an attempt to try and pay for her final year at Wellsley. Having grown up in working class Brooklyn, she's newly exposed to the ultra rich, and ultimately learns that money can't guarantee happiness. The lies, tricks, and schemes were a lovely juxtaposition for this beachy setting. On occasion, I found my attention wandering and Heddys naivete drove me crazy, but the unique ending saved it for me. Good on audio, too!

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Wow! What a good read! Heddy, a would be senior at Wellesley, that is, if she can come up with the money for tuition over the summer! She has a job lined up as a Nanny for a wealthy young couple, the venomous Jenn - Rose, and her distant husband Ted, their two small children, Anna and Teddy. The money from her job will not be enough, but she just might major in becoming a rich man's wife! All of the characters are interesting, including, Ash, the hot guy on the island, whose great grandfather was as rich as Croesus. A coming of age story set in 1962, with real people, and places painting a vivid picture of the era, as seen in movies, magazines, and television.
I highly recommend! Thank you #Netgalley #Summer Darlings

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What a fun beach read! The book offers everything, mystery, suspense, historical writing, love and dreams. Martha’s Vineyard and summer dreams take off in this novel.

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Another great beach read that is a bit different both in mood and setting. Loved the setting, story and characters which all added up to a great read!

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This book was a fantastic pool read. The author did a wonderful job capturing the glam of the 1960's elite spending the summer in Martha's Vineyard. I love a good coming of age story and this was the perfect setting.

This book had a little bit of everything as told through Heddy's eyes - a nanny to a wealthy family hoping to rub elbows and maybe find a little bit more depth to her life.

While the story dragged in a few spots, the ending was worth the wait! This was a great debut novel and I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Life on Martha’s Vineyard is not as Perfect as it Seems

Heddy Winsome, is on her way to what she hopes will open the future for her. She has a job as a nanny for the summer on Martha’s Vineyard. The poverty in her background leads her to yearn for the glamorous life she sees unfolding on the Vineyard. Her desire for this kind of life becomes more overwhelming when she realizes she’s lost her scholarship to Wellesley. It was to be her ticket to a better life.

On the Vineyard, she is entranced by her employers Jean-Rose, Ted and their two children, Anna 4 and Teddy 6. Jean-Rose is always going about and inviting people to the house. Ted is a wealthy business owner. They seem the perfect couple, but as the summer advances Heddy begins to wonder what lies beneath the facade.

Anther girl, Ruth, works as the housekeeper. She lives on the island with her alcoholic father and is more clear-eyed than Heddy about what their employers are really like. I quite liked her. I was not as fond of Heddy, who I thought tried too hard to fit into a world she was not a part of. Instead of looking on from the outside she tried to become one of the glamorous people hoping her romance with a handsome lifeguard and a quiet college student would open doors for her.

The descriptions of the setting were wonderful If you can’t get to the beach, you can relax with this book and enjoy the scenery.

I received this book from Net Galley for this review.

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This was a fun summer read. I loved the Martha's Vineyard setting and the 1960s time frame.

The story revolves around Heddy's summer being a nanny for a wealthy family with two young children. She has recently lost her scholarship at her university and is exploring all the ways she may save her life and make her mother proud.

The days on the beach, at glamorous parties and on dates with eligible bachelors is balanced with the dark side of family dynamics. The twist at the end was unexpected and gratifying! Add this book to your beach bag!

#NetGalley #SummerDarlings

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Summer Darlings is a great summer beach read. It had a little bit of everything; mystery, romance, and historical fiction are all parts that play into the story. Heddy's evolution as a protagonist makes the plot flow smoothly. Although it was a little slow to get into, I still give Ummer Darlings 4 stars for picking up and giving a fantastic ending.

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This book follows Heddy as she grows from girl next door to woman in charge over the course what she thought would be an idyllic summer on Martha’s Vineyard. The relationships Heddy forms break her, and the relationships that are true, make her. This book was dazzling with summer detail of the rich and snobby. Getting to see how the other half lives, then finding out that none of it is what it appears to be. Great story, I loved the characters, and wonderfully entertaining.

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This was a great coming of age novel set in the 1960s. After Heddy looses her scholarship at a prestigious school, she embarks on a new adventure as a babysitter for the rich, desperately wanting to be just like them, but it's obviously not all it's cracked up to be. If you like glamour, drama, and a soap opera type setting, this book does not disappoint.

I loved that she made friends with Gigi, the local celebrity, because Gigi seemed to be more down to earth than most and the one who taught her the biggest lesson, we all want a happy ending, but a man does not define who you are. Gigi was way ahead of her time, and for one night, she let Heddy knew what it felt like to be one of them.

It had a surprising twist at the end I definitely didn't see coming, but the author just left the story hanging. An epilogue would have been nice, but maybe the author will consider continuing this story. Thank you for another fun read.

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Summer Darlings by Brooke Lea Foster is a fun little romp through Martha's Vineyard circa 1960 complete with clambakes, social climbers, romance and secrets. Enter into this setting Heddy, a struggling college student intent on learning all she can about landing a rich husband during her time on the island. Heddy works as a nanny for one of the pretty people, and is immediately drawn into the fairytale that money buys happiness and - just as importantly - a happy-ever-after. As a main character, Heddy is well-formed and believable, and her character arc is satisfying is somewhat predictable. I liked her and wanted to see her succeed.

The remaining cast of characters in Summer Darlings is a delightful mix of haves and have-nots, and the author does a terrific job of throwing the two groups at each other in both expected and unexpected ways. The writing is engaging and witty and the storytelling is just complicated enough to be interesting - especially as the story revs up in the final few chapters.

Summer Darlings by Brooke Lea Foster is oddly challenging, as well, bringing up issues around income inequality, moral relativism, overcoming the past, gender roles and self determination. I won't say it was inspiring, but it was insightful and thoughtful, and a good reminder that what we see in others isn't always the truth.

This review is based on an advance copy read.

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In 1962 heddy leaves her Brooklyn neighborhood to be a nanny for a rich family. Her scholarship has been revoked. I liked that heddy was learning to drive.heddy thinks Ash is cute but not sure he's right for her

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It's summer in the 60s, on Martha's Vineyard, and college student Heddy Winsome is nannying for one of the wealthiest families on the island. Yearning for a better life that she and her single mother have faced, and having learned she's lost her Wellesley scholarship for her senior year, Heddy is drawn to the life of privilege and glamour she witnesses, only to realize the old adage is true - money can't buy happiness.
With well-drawn characters, compelling storylines, and little hints of what's to come keep the reader engaged until the very end, and the unexpected ending!
The beach, a cute surfer, a movie star, a jazz club...this is the perfect summer read.

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This book is billed as historical fiction. I'm not sure I would really classify it that way - to me, it's more of a beach-read romance. I didn't especially like any of the characters and didn't always find them believable. Some of them were downright despicable - and those were the more believable ones!

The story sort of lumbers along in a rather predictable way until the last few pages where it takes a turn to the somewhat absurd. It felt like someone was telling the author to hurry and wrap it up - so she threw in some cliches and surprises and called it a day.

Good escapism though.

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