Cover Image: Summer Darlings

Summer Darlings

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Member Reviews

I have been enjoying historical fiction a lot more lately and this book is one of my current favorites. Heddy loses her scholarship to Wellesley in the the 1960s, so she takes a job as a nanny for a wealthy couple on Martha's Vineyard. She soon realizes that people are not what they seem. This is a great character driven read, as I enjoyed watching Heddy's personal journey.

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I was given a copy of Summer Darlings in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

🌟🌟🌟🌟 4 stars from me!

I finished this one a while back and forgot to write my review so...better late than never.

I really enjoyed this one set in the 60s at Martha’s Vineyard. I loved so much about this book. The setting and time period are divine as are the deceptive and thoughtful characters.

Just a sweetish book to me - but it was a bit slow which is why it only got 4 stars from me: although the writing is beautiful which is why it still got 4 stars from me!

Starts as sort of a coming of age story and grows from there to much more!

This isn’t my normal genre at all - but I was pleasantly surprised!

Thanks to all involved -

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This was a good summer story! It was a slow start but picked up at the end. The twist was great at the end and I didn't see it coming!

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It’s the early 60s, and Heddy has landed a job on Martha’s Vineyard babysitting for one of the hottest (and wealthiest!) couples on the island. While Heddy yearns for the rich and beautiful lifestyle of her employers, she knows it will only grow further out of her reach if she’s unable to keep her scholarship for her coming year as a senior at Wellesley College. While Heddy starts to see the real lives behind the perfect facades, she also starts to learn what she truly wants to get out of her life, and how to make it happen. I absolutely loved this book! I could hear the music, see the outfits, and feel the ocean breeze as I read it. Great characters, with a believable storyline that still runs in my mind days after finishing the book. For a good summer read, grab this!

Note: Special thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read this copy in exchange for an honest review.

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"Summer Darlings" evokes the life of the rich and famous on Martha's Vineyard. Set in the 1960's, the novel describes the events of one summer in the lives of two young women who work in the household of one of these wealthy families. The setting is described in detail, enabling the reader to experience the sights and sounds of the island. The characters are well-drawn and the plot provides a gradual build up to the dramatic ending. Are there secrets and hidden agendas? Oh yes, for sure there are those! This is a great beach read in many ways.

I received this book from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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When I started this book I didn't know what to expect but quickly I fell completely into this world and this time period. I really liked these characters and the romance in this book was really great as well. ut besides that this book also has a great friendship in here, that I might even like more than the romance. One of my favourite tropes in fiction is when we follow the rich and powerful, especially if the main character is new to that world and this book did that so well. I really liked how we saw the fronts how this world fall apart slowly as we get through this book coming in a great climax towards the end. Talking about the ending though I think it just got a bit too conveluded. It was just a tiny bit too much over the top and I had a hard time fully buying it.

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Martha's Vineyard, 1960's. This is a story told through the eyes of a college student who is a nanny to a wealthy family. The author wrote this novel with the accuracy of the times and what it was like to live among the wealthy. My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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The story is so addicting because of the fact the author captures the young innocence so perfectly. The awe-inspiring homes and grounds, the beaches and sun, glitz and glamour, even crushes and young love.

But we soon see behind the scenes and how the affluent people are not what they seem. Beautifully developed and highly detailed, this story will suck you in and not let go. Plus, the ending caught me off guard and surprised me. A startling development that completely changed the story but yet gives us hope.

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Summer Darlings is a historical novel set on Martha's Vineyard in 1962. Heddy Winsome, who is originally from a working class family in Brooklyn, has lost her Wellesley scholarship and is working over the summer as a nanny for a wealthy family. She longs to fit in ... but quickly discovers all is not as it seems on the island.

I wanted to read this novel because I was interested in the 1960's setting -- one of my favorite historical periods to read about.

This is an interesting book. It starts out as a coming of age novel and a well-crafted period piece about the haves and the have nots in early 1960's society. Toward the end of the book there is a giant twist and it becomes a mystery and the story of an elaborate swindle.

I really enjoyed the first part of the book - the beautifully captured early 1960's period details, and the story of Heddy's struggle to find her place in the world. The family she works for is thoroughly detestable, but of course they are meant to be.

I read this book at a quick pace because I was interested in Heddy's story. When the book took a giant leap, it lost me a bit.

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I loved this book! Situated on Martha’s Vineyard where Heddy - a scholarship college student - goes to work as a nanny. Heddy is entranced by the lives of the wealthy people she encounters. She wants to be like them but, more importantly, she wants to find a way to have enough money to finish her college education as her scholarship had not been renewed. As the summer goes in. Heddy learns that things are not always as they appear and that money won’t necessarily buy you happiness. This is a great book that I couldn’t put down!

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Not everything is as it seems in the rarified air of Martha's Vineyard. The characters and story were well written and the breath of summer was just what I needed while physically distancing right now. Some parts of the book were a bit slow for me, otherwise it would have been 5 stars. I received a complimentary copy from NetGalley and the publisher and this is my honest opinion.

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Brooke Lea Foster's novel has a seductive setting and a compelling premise. I definitely was transported in time to the mid-60's and the allure of a "posh summer enclave."

The author created a protagonist that readers should be rooting for from page one. Who could resist a smart "gal" from an under-privileged background who tries to make it in the big leagues ? But, to my surprise, as much as I wanted everything to "go right" for our young heroine, I wasn't able to fall in love with her. She was written as a gamine-like ingenue, but her struggles were laid out in such detail that they restrained me from falling for her magic.

Everything about the premise of the book appealed to me, but the creative choices made by the author didn't work for me. I can easily enjoy a book without liking the characters, but our protagonist was someone the reader needed to root for--and, she was just a bit too down-trodden, and too calculating for me. And, the "society women" who were making her life difficult were such stereotypes that I couldn't even buy in to their evil. I needed more humanity in the book to balance out all the shallowness of the "summer scene."

NegGalley provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a candid review.

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4.5 rating

The year is 1962 and Heddy Winsome is on her way to Martha's Vineyard for a summer that will forever change her. Born and raised in Brooklyn by a single mom that struggles to pay each and every month's rent, she, Heddy, is striving for even more. At one point, everything was looking great, but she lost her scholarship to Wellesley, so her future looks to be in jeopardy. She's hoping that a summer working as a nanny for one of Martha's Vineyards wealthiest families can help alleviate some of that. Will being surrounded by the privileged help her get her foot in the door, and closer to a life she craves?

This is a well written book. It is totally filled with people who are just not what they seem. I love the author's ability to transport us to the sixties, the beautiful, wonderful homes, private beaches and the sophisticated 60s styles. Wonderful placement and references to the nostalgia of the people, places and music from that time. Excellently developed characters and plots. Bravo!

I would like to thank Brooke Lea Foster, Gallery Books and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book and exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Many thanks to NetGalley, Gallery Books, and Brooke Lea Foster for the opportunity to read and review her debut novel - 4.5 stars for a great escape to the past on Martha's Vineyard.

Heddy didn't have an easy time growing up, with her single mom working two jobs just to try and scrape by. When Heddy gets a scholarship to attend Wellesley, she finally feels like her mom's investment in her will pay off. Her roommate helps her get a job as a nanny for a wealthy family on Martha's Vineyard for the summer. When she finds out that her scholarship has been revoked, Heddy is desperate to come up with a plan to fix her life. Seeing how the rich live, she thinks maybe she could marry a wealthy man to solve all her issues. But no one is truly as they seem and money doesn't seem to buy happiness for anyone she meets.

This is a wonderfully-written coming-of-age novel that really transports you back in time to a summer spent on the island with the rich and famous. You can feel the ocean and taste the lobster rolls! A fabulous debut - can't wait to read more from this author!

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I wanted to love this book, I really did. The cover is gorgeous, the time and setting of this book is something a bit new (for me anyway) and the first couple of pages had me hooked.

But then came the dreaded love triangle. Of all the romance tropes in books, love triangles has to be one of my least favorites , unless it is done really really well. I don’t like love triangles for a few reasons:
1. I find the indecisiveness of the person choosing very frustrating and if it drags on, annoying. Eventually, I want to shake the chooser and say “make up your mind! Please! For my sanity!”
2. Most often the two love interests are underdeveloped and fall a bit flat for me. One is inevitably the person “wrong” for the chooser, and the other, the seemingly perfect match. The love interests in this book had their main couple of traits, and a bit of backstories, but I didn’t really connect with either of them. On top of which I found their motivation for their actions was shaking at best and did not seem like worthy reasons for doing what they did.

Besides the love triangle, the story got a bit boring. Nothing really <i>happened</i>, or so it felt like to me and the ending left me more confused than satisfied.

I think this is a good historical fiction for a different reader. I enjoyed a lot about this book: the setting, the main character being a nanny, the children and their shenanigans, the best friend, the “mentor”, unfortunately the love triangle just overpowered everything else for me. If love triangles are your thing, then definitely pick this book up.

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Thank you so much to Brooke Lea Foster, the publisher and NetGalley for an early read for an honest review.

Have you ever thought that all you need is some more money, and then you would be extremely happy? Totally opposite in this book...money doesn't buy happiness at all.

Not normally a huge fan of historical fiction, but the 1960's isn't truly historical fiction for me yet. However, I don't think it was a great read for me even though I was giving this genre another chance when reading this.

If you like reading about Martha's Vineyard, this one will hit the spot for you.

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I do love the cover of this book. As a teenager in the 60’s, I was looking forward to reading a historical fiction piece set on Martha’s Vineyard. The book started out with promise. Heddy, a Wellesley College student, has lost her scholarship over a stupid mistake of not being on time for a final. My main problem is that I really do not feel that this is a good example of historical fiction and it could have been. I would classify this as a summer read which just did not find its direction. There were good ideas but I don’t think the author strayed on too many paths with the plot. I almost gave up several times. Then, the ending was hurried, and I don’t think believable, My thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Historical Fiction set in 1962 in Martha’s Vineyard. Heddy has taken a job as a nanny to one of the wealthiest families. As a rising senior at Wellesley College, she has just found out that her scholarship has been revoked. Her mom is a hard working woman barely able to keep their apartment and she doesn’t know her father. Heddy thinks money makes you happy, solves every problem. Yes, even though it does make life easier, it doesn’t solve everything. As Heddy finds out, what looks perfect from the outside, isn’t always the true picture. She comes for the summer needing to find ways to get money to go back to school. She gets a different education for sure.

Enjoyable debut novel. A realistic look at the rich in their summer element. Lies, back stabbing, social status and bigotry, jealousy and most of all secrets! Characters are well developed and story line plays out nicely. Found this book well written and easy to lose yourself in. There is a lot going on in this book, but it’s easy to follow. I was slightly disappointed in parts of the ending. I do look forward to reading this Author’s next book.

Thanks to Ms. Foster, Gallery Books and NetGalley for this ARC. Opinion is mine alone.

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This is the perfect quarantine read. It is May, and I am dreaming of a summer on the Cape. My family has spent several vacations on Cape Cod, and I grabbed this book specifically for that personal connection.

It is a quick, easy, light read, and a GREAT debut novel for Brooke Lea Foster- Martha’s Vineyard is the setting, and it is one of my favorite parts of the novel. I could envision each of the locations, the shores, the winds blowing across town, the lighthouses. LOVE every bit of that.

Heddy Winsom, the main character has chosen to spend her summer on MV, nannying for a well-known family. She doesn’t come without her own personal struggles and back story though, from her humble beginnings, and her desires to reach above her current social standing- it's a great setting for “I wonder how this is going to work out!” Heddy is a great example of an innocent, young character, and I think this is why she’s a likable character from the beginning of the novel.

Two women on the island, her boss and Gigi, both offer her gobs of life advice, while I sat here as the reader going “umm don’t listen to that, oh no, don’t listen to THAT either!”

Of course there are some typical 1960s characters (both male and female), and Brooke Lea Foster did a GREAT job of highlighting those characters' true flaws. She’s masterfully craftful in that respect!

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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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