Cover Image: Summer Darlings

Summer Darlings

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Heddy Winsome is the daughter of a single mother who has worked hard to support her daughter. In turn, Heddy has studied hard to make good grades. Thus, she landed an entry into Wellesley on a scholarship. However, at the end of her third year, she overslept for an exam and essentially failed it which meant she was not accepted for the following year. But Heddy is tough and hopes to find a way to make the money she needs for tuition and a way to be accepted.

Thus, Heddy has taken a summer job as a nanny for Jean-Rose and Ted Williams and their children Anna, 4, and Teddy, 6. They have a summer home in Martha’s Vineyard. When Heddy arrives, the family is friendly and she is pleased with her job. Another gal her age, Ruth, works as the housekeeper. Ruth lives in the area in a run-down home with her alcoholic father and ailing mother. They depend on the money that Ruth makes.

Anna is an easy child, but Teddy can be headstrong which means Heddy must be creative when working with him. Jean-Rose is outgoing and invites people over often. Ted owns a huge business and is generous in investing money in the local area. Although the couple appears to be quite loving, there seems to be trouble in paradise.

We meet some of the close neighbors and see how Heddy is quite taken with their fame and fortune which is what Heddy herself strives for in her own future. The persona that many of the wealthy adopt shows itself to be false. Heddy listens to conversations, but makes the mistake of wanting to be a part of this crowd. While I liked the well-written plot, I did not like how Heddy inserted herself as she did. She had been hired to be a nanny for the summer and I felt that she simply should have stuck with that. I also did not like how Heddy ended up being a “Bonnie” at the end. To understand that comment, you must read the book. But I really liked Ruth and felt she deserved everything.

Copy provided by NetGalley and Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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At the end of Summer Darlings by Brooke Lea Foster the author indicates that she wrote the book as historical fiction.. It's an odd piece of fiction written about the upper class of people who summer on one of the islands off the coast of Rhode Island. The piece features a young scholarship student, Heddy, hired to be a nanny by one of the families. Needless to say the young woman envies the family she is working for this particular summer. The book continues with descriptions of the family, the social mores of the people and the aspirations of the young woman. The time frame is the Kennedy era and there are references to the famous people of the time. The story itself has Heddy describing her work, her social interactions and trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. The story itself is a statement about how people show one side of themselves to society and show their true colors behind closed doors. The conclusion answers all the innuendo and questions offered by the author. I wasn't crazy about this book. The story is okay but the ending is just so so after rushing through explanations of what's been going on it left me kind of flat.

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Terrific beach read, kills the boredom! I was really drawn into this story with the characters and lifestyle on the island. Also, the setting was before my time and it was really fascinating to read the different references from the 60's that I recognized from history or other readings.

Summer Darlings is a coming of age story featuring our main character, Heddy Winsom who is excited about spending the summer working on Martha's Vineyard as a nanny. Spending time with one of the most popular couples on the island, drives Heddy to want even more for her life. Raised by her single mother, Heddy is also dismayed to realize that one careless night has led to a big mistake that could cost her everything. So when she gets to Martha's Vineyard, she is eager to make a new life for herself and hopeful to snag a husband as well.

Things do not always go according to plan. She meets the famous (infamous) actress and starlet, Gigi McCabe who sees a bit of herself in lovely Heddy. Gig takes her under her wings and tries to give her a hand. The wife that she works for also volunteers to help steer her in the right direction as well. Heddy spends time with the family, the children and winds up meeting many people from the island and the rich and famous people staying there for the summer.

Heddy also meets two men who draw her to them in different ways, but they are radically different in their lifestyles and philosophies. It is interesting to see how these romances play out.

What I loved:
Setting. Martha's Vineyard in the 1960's is wonderful and enticing, full of mystery and sophistication... with the perfect background. The character development was good at least in Heddy. She moves from innocence to scheming like those around her. Her desperate need for a better life for herself and her mother is one of her primary motivations, but will the lifestyles and lack of morals lead her down a dark path?

What annoyed me:

The Characters!!! Have you ever sat down to watch a show and the characters just annoy you so much that you are mouthing off and giving them a piece of your mind? The characters in Summer Darlings seriously got on my last nerve. Not sure that they are likable at all, it seems author Brooke Lea Foster truly portrayed their weaknesses with spot on accuracy and that had me cringing! (The writing was good, the characters were self absorbed, insecure, ambitious and often cruel).

Thank you to NetGalley, author Brooke Lea Foster, and Gallery Books for this temporary, digital advance review copy for me to read and enjoy. As always, my opinions are my own.

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Summer Darlings whisks the reader away to Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 1962. Heddy just finished her junior year at Wellesley College. She grew up in Brooklyn as the daughter of a working class single mother constantly struggling to make ends meet. Heddy yearns to better her station in life. She takes a job for the summer as a live in nanny for a wealthy young couple on Martha’s Vineyard. Heddy’s goals for the summer are to figure out how to pay for her last year of college and also to snag an upper crust boyfriend who would help her have a more comfortable life. She is hopeful that rubbing elbows with the rich and famous all summer will help her achieve those goals.

Heddy is an ambitious young woman hoping for a career as a screenwriter even though at every turn people try to discourage her saying that it’s not a career for women.

This was a fun read and really made me miss Martha’s Vineyard. The author created a great sense of place. This would be an excellent beach read and was also a nice way to take my mind off the current pandemic situation.

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I loved this book! The setting of the 1960s on Martha's Vineyard was just divine. Definitely a great beach read and I would recommend it to my library patrons.

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It was the summer that changed everything. Heddy is nannying for a family in the Hamptons. After making a costly mistake she needs the money. As she enters the world of the elite and famous she quickly learns that being rich isn’t all its cracked up to be. As the summer progresses and family secrets come to a head, Heddy must make some very hard decisions of her own, but will she make the right ones? All of your questions will be answered by the time you reach the end of that summer.

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Brooke Lea Foster’s Summer Darlings is a trip down memory lane for baby boomers. This historical fiction is set in 1962, and it has all the trappings of that decade of change.

Heddy’s backstory is sad, and it could be very easy to see her as sympathetic. However, when she chose the more glamorous summer job with the hopes of introduction to better society/connections or even a high-society suitor, I knew trouble was brewing. I found her efforts to fit in as an equal instead of quietly accepting her role as the summer babysitter uncomfortable. With every new insight into this character, she seemed more and more of a schemer.

But Heddy has nothing on the wealthy summer inhabitants of Martha’s Vineyard. Apparently, with privilege comes secrets, scandals and an incredible amount of gossip. It’s all about appearances, dahlings.

I didn’t find any of the characters likable, but they were all intriguing. Between trying too hard and making one bad choice after another, Heddy’s coming-of-age story is very entertaining. It wasn’t the fairytale ending she had hoped for, but she probably learned more about people that summer than she did in her years at university.

The plot is a bit slow at the start as the characters are introduced and the scene is set, and then the plot is somewhat of a whirlwind at the end. From zenith to denouement, the plot points become pretty far-fetched. Overall, it was an entertaining read with great fashion, music and culture references to the 1950s and 1960s. The story provides a nighttime-TV-drama-like escape filled with rich drama queens and conniving betrayals.

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Somehow this book reminds me of Anita Hughes’ vacation novels, The Great Gatsby, and a Frankie Avalon movie all wrapped up in one. Mostly, it’s about seeing yourself and others as y’all really are, even while growing into who you want to become. And about the fact that money can buy you a nanny, a fancy education, a big summer house, and the servitude of those around you, but it definitely DEFINITELY cannot buy you class.

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Loved this book!!!

The story is sent on Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 1962. A summer nanny job for a Wellesley student has many twists and turns.

Heddy shows up at the ferry landing to meet the family she will be employed by for the summer. Excited to be staying on the Vineyard for the summer, things will turn out much different then she expects.

I loved the time period and all the gossip and secrets that the wealthy families are keeping. Having been to the Vineyard myself a few summers, this reminded me me of all the places I want to revisit.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. This was a 5 star for me.

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Summer Darlings would be a good choice for a summer beach read. A young college girl takes a job as a babysitter with a wealthy couple on Martha's Vineyard. The culture of the wealthy residents of the island during the sixties is well portrayed. Some of the characters are stereotyped, but there's some interesting plot twists in the book. The party scenes are particularly fun.

The lives of these characters are messy, but so is real life. This book captured that messiness and made for a fun read. Put Summer Darlings on your beach read list.

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This is a tricky one for me to review. I honestly really liked the premise of the story - innocent and poor Heddy takes a summer job as a nanny on Martha's vineyard working for Ted and Jean-Rose, her view of a golden couple. She hopes to learn from them and perhaps even husband hunt, wanting to see if there is a way to scrape herself up the social ladder. There is the additional conflict that she has failed a class in her previous semester at Wellesley, meaning she has lost her scholarship for the fall. Heddy is soon to learn that things are not what they seem on the Martha's Vineyard - not with anyone she meets. I struggle with my issue with the book - I think it is that there is just far too much story development and not enough story movement. It seems to stall in several different places. There are many things that happen that didn't seem fully explained. It just doesn't flow freely. I will say that the character development was good for the most part and that I didn't see the end coming - although it seemed really out of character for Heddy, even if she had changed over the summer?

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A story that starts with you thinking a sweet little girl would have a wonderful summer on Martha's vineyard. She eventually becomes disillusioned with the rich and their ways and all the while trying to be like them. A little twisted . I got bogged down with detail and dialogue about half way and had to make myself muddle through some of what seemed like unnecessary babble. Historically,the lifestyle and people seemed about right and contained a lot of detail, it was just difficult to like the main character because she was so 'wishy washy.'. The ending didn't really match with her inner character that had been portrayed throughout the book. Maybe I just didn't get it. Its an okay read, just not one I'd add to a 'must read list' for the summer. Perfect for one you want to pick up and put down often between swimming laps and naps at the pool
I received this book as a complimentary copy under no obligation to review this book.. The opinions expressed are my own.

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Summer Darlings is a great summer read. Stuck in a bit of a bad spot, Heddy takes a summer nanny job at Martha's Vineyard for a couple that seems to have it all. As she gets closer to the couple she works for, she learns that money doesn't fix everything. This was a fun read, and I definitely didn't see the twist at the end. Foster did a great job of describing Martha's Vineyard in the 60s and bringing strong, three-dimensional characters whose issues went well beyond the expected.

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I love a book set in Martha’s Vineyard and this book was no exception! Summer Darlings is a book about a young college girl who gets a job on the island for the summer. She has hopes and dreams of finding a rich man that she can settle down with but what she finds instead is herself. Over the course of the summer, as she is taking care of two young kids, she makes new friends and finds a couple of love interests. She evaluates her life through a splattering of summer events and by the end of summer, she finds true love but also so much more – she finds herself. The story is much more developed than my brief summary. It includes excellent characters that are totally relatable, an incredible setting, love, family, drama and friendship. I enjoyed this one and hope you will too!

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When I first started reading this book I thought I was really going to like it. The setting, Martha's Vineyard, is a place I know well and it was easy to visualize the beach and the surrounding area. It began as a young woman trying to find herself and manage a bad situation, and that held true for most of the book. And then the end happened. And the story became a muddled mess. I thought that Heddy was going to somehow figure out her situation and solve it on her own, but instead it ended up being a shoot 'em up ending (although no shots were actually fired) and instead of working her way out of her mess herself, she ended up with a con man and a thief and no one grew wiser or was changed by the action. The book was rather two-sided, telling the story of a poor girl in a rarefied world and then there was abuse, scandal, and blackmail. It was a good description of a time and place, but I think the author should have come up with a better ending.

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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. I truly enjoyed this book! It was a nice, read by the pool book then it just twisted and turned and suddenly it was a sit up in bed with a flashlight book! I enjoyed the entire story. I love when you think you know where its headed and then you get thrown completely. The high society, nose-in-the-air descriptions were spot on! KUDOS

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Martha's Vineyard, 1962, Heddy is all set for a luxurious summer working as a nanny for one of the wealthiest families on the island. From a poor, single parent household in Brooklyn, Heddy is determined to chart a different course for her life, first as Wellesley girl; then ultimately she hopes to endear herself into the social circles of the privileged families whom she works around.

Her quest to be somebody places her squarely between two young men on the island - the mysterious surfer down the beach, or the well-established student heir to a publishing fortune. She is torn between her head and her heart, all the while finding that the glitz and glamour of life on Martha's Vineyard is not what it seems under the surface.

I really enjoyed this book and found it to be a very impressive debut novel. Not only did I like the story, but the setting in 1960s Martha's Vineyard was ideal, The author was able to contrast the lives of the haves and have nots quite well, while also creating a little bit of mystery and intrigue. This novel is reminiscent of Elin Hildebrand's writing to me, which is a huge complement.

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Such a perfect summer novel! This story was so rich and beautifully told, it made a perfect escapist read during these crazy times, I can't wait to share it.

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Brenda V <>

9:39 PM (9 minutes ago)

to me

Rich in its descriptions and character development. I could hear the sax, the jazzy blues. I could smell the salt air and feel the breeze in my hair, the sun on my skin. I could taste the metalic pineapple juice drunk straight out of the triangular shaped opening in the can and I was humming the American Band Stand theme song. I was transported back to being a young child in the sixties. In Summer Darlings You can sense the wonder, the excitement, the awe, the fear, the betrayal, the understanding, the power, and finally, the power shift. This book was rich and powerful! Summer darlings is the perfect darling summer book!

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I love a book set in the summer in Martha’s Vineyard. In the early 1960s the Kennedy glamour is a factor and this book provides an inside look at the very public and private lives of a young wealthy couple. It definitely gave me Summer of 69 vibes and had me itching to peek at the last page to see who/how Heddy ended up.

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