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    An interesting perspective

    “Beatrice, don’t you see what I’m saying? He needs people like me to come in and save him so he doesn’t go under completely. We’re going to help him. And you, my darling, by staying out here for the summer and getting to know Montauk, you’ll be an asset to me. We could be spending a lot of time here in the future; it’s important to me that you like it.” He took my face in his hands and he kissed me. “I want you to be with me on this, Beatrice, in every way; can you do that for me?” These days , we look back at 1938 and laugh sometimes. In a world where women were still eye candy and were perceived as they didn’t have the brains to do much of anything, Beatrice questions why Harry wants her to stay at the seaside Montauk Manor all summer while he commutes back to New York City. They can’t afford to stay there; can they? Sure it’s really nice, but Beatrice doesn’t come from the “monied set”. Will she “fit in?”. Beatrice is bored. She and Harry have tried for years to have a baby. Maybe this summer idle will resolve that. However, Harry’s spending more time in the City than with her. Not impressed wth “the girls around the pool” she makes friends with Elizabeth, who works as a laundress at the Manor. Through her she finds the workers on the Island much more to her liking. This “summer read,”romance novel” draws us into the sociology of the world of the thirties dressed in the wildness of Montauk, which certainly becomes a character in and of itself. Nicole Harrison certainly writes a compelling book. It is quite readable and descriptive...at times uncomfortable, but entertaining. Recommended 4/5 [ I received this book from NetGalley and chose to review it]
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    Beautiful setting and atmosphere

    Nicola Harrison does an amazing job of bringing Montauk, Long Island in 1938 to life. Although I would have liked to see more descriptions of the beach and the view from the lighthouse, the setting and atmosphere of Montauk and the Montauk Manor are lush, elegant and glamourous and make it seem the perfect place to spend the summer. The looming development of Montauk and what it will do to the locals is a fascinating story. Harrison also captures the not-so-perfect restrictions, prejudices, class distinctions, anti-Semitism and male/female rules, restrictions and expectations and social mores of the time. Some of the behavior and attitudes of so-called professionals were eye-opening to say the least. While I loved the historical aspect of Montauk, I was not as pleased with the character development and romance. Beatrice Bordeaux is naïve, immature, innocent, deeply hurt by Harry. She has never really fit in with the society life and its expectations she’s been thrust into, and now rather than the opportunity to rekindle the romance with her husband, she is faced with 12 weeks with women she doesn’t know or feel comfortable with. She may never have married Harry in the first place had she not withdrawn so much after her brother Charlie’s death. But this is the life she chose, and she comes off as careless and irresponsible in her forced interaction with the locals. She may feel more naturally at home with them, but she is not of their world anymore and she puts their livelihood at risk. She insists on becoming a part of Elizabeth’s life, and she’s playing with fire with Thomas, putting not only her own reputation and way of life at risk but those of so many others, especially Elizabeth and her family and Thomas. Beatrice is also putting herself at risk with her newspaper articles, not just because she is doing something independent, anonymous and a little radical, keeping it secret, but because she continues to associate with a Jew after being told not to. It’s kind of hard to wrap your mind around how restrictive and confining by today’s standards the lives of these wealthy privileged pampered women were, and how narrow-minded and casually cruel everyone could be, and Beatrice seems justified in making her own choices, especially when she is welcomed into the local world. But actions have consequences and she is heedless of them. I found the first half of the book excellent. Montauk was beautiful and the characters were turning out to be very, very interesting. But then the story began to lose momentum and feel rushed. In three short months Beatrice gets herself into a predicament from which there is no easy escape. Someone is going to be hurt, someone’s reputation is going to suffer, and there may be real physical danger. Again, I was pleased with her independence but couldn’t help feeling that even though this is not the life she imagined it is the life she chose and she needed a well-thought out way to extricate herself. At some point it started to feel like a thriller, as I was waiting for her to get caught. It was a bit unbelievable that she continued to sneak around without anyone seeing her and confronting her until nearly the end of the book. Even if Montauk Manor is large, she is part of a small group and it seems like someone would have been asking about or looking for her more often. Because of the secrets she kept and the corner she backed herself into, there were only so many ways the story could end. Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Montauk was an enjoyable read and a good beginning for a debut author.
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    Beautiful, empowering and thoughful

    If you need to read at least one book this year, let it be this one. Its extreamly empowering and beautiful in its own right and era. A sensational read.
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    Montauk

    Montauk is the debut novel of Nicola Harrison. For me Montauk started rather slow, but by 20% into the story I was "into" our heroine, Beatrice. Ms Harrison gives us the story of Beatrice and Montauk in 1938 and shows us how some of the rich lived in those times. Fair warning, there may be a few tears along the way. I was given an early copy to review.
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    Historical Fiction 1938 New York

    Montauk by Nicola Harrison is a stunning first book. Montauk is historical fiction that reminds us how different life was in 1938 America. I liked the depictions of the life of wealthy, middle and lower class New Yorkers, the struggles of life and death, how our actions affect so many. It’s a realistic story of each characters plans, but how little power they have to implement them because of circumstances they can’t control. Nicola Harrison has been added to my favorites list. . I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I appreciate the opportunity and thank the author and publisher for allowing me to read, enjoy and review this book.
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