Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

Probably my hands down favorite novel of 2013 was A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams. I read this novel in under twenty four hours, and if that is not the mark of a good book, I don't know what is.

I read Williams' first novel, "Overseas" when it was released, and while it had merit, and was riveting enough to keep me turning the page, it also had many flaws. The author apparently learned from her mistakes because "A Hundred Summers" grabbed me from the opening paragraphs and did not let go.

I loved the protagonist Lily. It is rare that a character is so nuanced; she is both innocent and jaded, a mixture of traits that could easily be eye-rollingly impossible to believe, but Lily manages to pull it off. She has a big heart and loves deeply, but yet possesses a few base characteristics (jealousy, for one) that make her a stunningly real character. Nick, her former love interest, is at times too perfect (a problem, if I remember correctly, with the male protagonist in "Overseas" as well), but he is sufficiently tempered with "bad" traits as well. The whole cast of characters were interesting and well drawn. Even Budgie, the girl everyone loves to hate, has a few redeeming qualities.

What got me was the stunning secret revealed towards the end of the novel. The author had me convinced (as was all of New York society) that a particular situation detailed in the book had gone down one way, and so I was shocked when the truth was revealed. Slow clap for Ms. Williams for I am rarely stunned by a big secret in a novel.

I'll wrap this up with a hearty recommendation to read "A Hundred Summers". You won't be sorry.

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