Summer of '69by Published 18 Jun 2019
|Summer of '69.pdf|
|Publisher||Little, Brown and Company|
Follow New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand back in time and join a Nantucket family as they experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of a 1960s summer.
Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century! It's 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother's historic home in downtown Nantucket: but this year Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, a nursing student, is caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests, a passion which takes her to Martha's Vineyard with her best friend, Mary Jo Kopechne. Only son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother who is hiding some secrets of her own. As the summer heats up, Teddy Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, a man flies to the moon, and Jessie experiences some sinking and flying herself, as she grows into her own body and mind.
In her first "historical novel," rich with the details of an era that shaped both a country and an island thirty miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again proves her title as queen of the summer novel.
Summer of '69 Reviews
Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review.
Elin Hilderbrand states that her twin brother has always encouraged her to explore the summer they were born in one of her novels. Summer of 69 is that novel and sweeps readers back to Nixon, Vietnam, Senator Ted Kennedy and the Chappaquiddick scandal, women's issues, Woodstock, racial equality, class differences, the Moon landing and summertime in Nantucket.
The Foley/Levin family knows that this summer will be a different one. The recent deployment of only son, Tiger to Vietnam sees their mother, Kate, distant and losing herself to the bottle. Stepfather, David stays in the city and consumes himself with legal work. Oldest daughter Blair confronts the fact that marriage is not exactly what she dreamed. Wild child Kirby wants to prove her adulthood by heading to Martha's Vineyard instead of spending summer with the family. Youngest daughter Jessie is on the brink of adolescence and experiences her first twinges of young love. And finally, matriarch Exalta is trying what she can to keep all of her family together while also keeping secrets of her own. Just like their country, the summer of 69 is one that this family will never forget.
What I thought:
I thought this book was definitely good. It took me awhile before I really felt in the mood to read but eventually I hit my stride. There's a good mix of nostalgia and history that made it easy to transport myself to the Summer of 69. Of course, having "visited " Nantucket so many times with EH in her contemporary novels it certainly made it an easy fit. Despite the different time period, family and all the issues that arise are always brilliantly handled by Hilderbrand.
For me, Summer of 69 was all about the fictional characters that take turns in telling the story. The character of Jessie made me think about Reese Witherspoon's Dani Trant( The Man in the Moon 1991) or Anna Chlumsky's Vada Sultenfuss( My Girl ,1991) and she was quite possibly my favorite character despite having "met" her character before. Kirby and Blair were both women of their generation, but in saying that I felt there was nothing new to explore as it's already been stated in so many ways by authors and screenwriters. Mother Kate had my empathy but also my frustration which makes me tip my hat to EH. But Grandmother Exalta(who is not a narrator but has a larger than life personality )was such a riddle that I found her the most fascinating. Her relationships with Jessie and Kirby were the highlights of the novel for me. Also the prologue and "Fortunate Son" (Reprise) were the two places in the book where I ugly cried.
Also how cool were the chapter titles(Both Sides Now, Born to Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride, Piece of My Heart etc) ?
Although I cannot emphatically say that this was one of my favorites, it's a great summer read.
Goodreads Review 26/06/19
Publication Date. 18/06/19
“Summer does something to the brain. It’s intoxicating. Everything shimmers." So says a character in Summer People, a previous novel by Hilderbrand, which captures the essence of her entire oeuvre.
I’ve devoured every book she’s written, so taken with her addictive stories set on Nantucket. Her own backstory is engaging, including how she came to the island, her education at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, her world travels, her survival of breast cancer and a post-surgical infection that nearly killed her. Her joie de vivre informs both her writing and her life and is as intoxicating as the summers she describes in her novels.
KENNEDY, MOON, WOODSTOCK
SUMMER OF ‘69 is her newest and her first historical novel. It’s a compelling slice of Americana, with the war in ‘Nam in full force. Senator Ted Kennedy’s fateful accident July 18, in which he drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick killing passenger Mary Jo Kopechne. Two days later the first moon landing. Woodstock making musical history the following month.
TIGER IN ‘NAM
All are enfolded into the absorbing plot, which focuses on four siblings in a wealthy Massachusetts family including Tiger, their only son drafted and sent off to fight in ‘Nam.
SMELL THE GANJA
I heard the author’s energetic CBS interview this week in which she explained that she and her twin brother were born that July, so the book is especially personal. It’s evident in the way Hilderbrand masterfully weaves together narrative, characters and dialogue. I care about these kids, smell the ganja in the air, hear “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” on the radio, feel the terror the family feels every time there’s a knock on the door that might mean they’ve lost Tiger. A captivating read! 5/5
Pub Date 18 Jun 2019. Available on Amazon.
Why I love it
We pick the books a few months in advance here at BOTM, so all the reading for June occurs sometime in mid-March. Maybe that was why I warmed to Summer of ‘69 so readily—this beachy, feel-good story with ample family drama and purple haze-era feels had me practically smelling the sunscreen. Then again, maybe I just liked this book so much because it was another satisfying winner from an author who always delivers the goods.
Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical novel plops us right into the flower power milieu of the ‘60s with a Vietnam draft notice. From then on, as we are introduced to the different members of the Levin family—the smart and stubborn Blair; the irascible Kirby; only-son Tiger; and the youngest, the quietly observant Jessie—these cultural easter eggs abound. Civil rights protests animate the news cycle while the Space Race captures the country’s imagination. Yet even as our protagonists navigate this rapidly changing world, their own trials and tribulations—finding young love, questioning authority, and even investigating long-buried family secrets—remain at the forefront of this completely charming read set over the course of one summer in Nantucket.
Anyone familiar with Hilderbrand’s books (BOTM has featured The Identicals and Winter in Paradise ) is aware of her effortless ability to craft nuanced, heartfelt stories set in cozy, aspirational places, and this new one is just that: a light read set in a beach town that you’ll devour in one poolside sitting. Readers looking for a breezy escape need look no further—make Summer of ‘69 your June pick!
Read more at: https://bookofthemonth.com/summer-of-...
“People are people.”
More than anything else, it’s the people Elin Hilderbrand brings to life among her pages that have me chomping at the bit for her annual June (and now October!) releases. And while many authors contribute to this genre space, for me it is Hilderbrand’s smart and often relatable approach to the “beach read” that has become synonymous with summer. Her work eliciting an eager reader ready to jump on a ferry to Nantucket for a dose of scenery, local eats, and unparalleled people. People who bare their hearts and truths as if we’ve always been the closest of friends. As if we’re all local Nantucketers.
Last year, Hilderbrand pulled off quite the feat with the delivery of her first suspense novel, The Perfect Couple. A book that not only proved to be one of her strongest yet, but earned a coveted spot among my very favorites. And this year, continuing that trend of branching out, Hilderbrand takes a stab at historical fiction, transporting readers to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard during the pivotal summer of 1969. A time that’s near and dear to Hilderbrand’s family; the very summer she and her twin brother said hello to the world providing inspiration.
Summer of '69 brings readers into the lives of the Levin/Foley family for what is poised to be a defining time. Not only for the family but for the nation as a whole.
The story opens with a jarring prologue, which sets the tone for the summer months ahead. Tiger, the only Levin son, has been called to war and deployed to the front lines of Vietnam. Tiger in an infantry uniform, Blair—the oldest sister—in Brookline expecting her first child and Kirby—the middle sister—determined to experience life on Martha’s Vineyard, means thirteen-year-old Jessie—the youngest sister—is on her own. Left to spend the summer with her distracted mother, Kate, and overbearing grandmother, Exalta, in the family’s Nantucket summer home, All’s Fair.
Just about everyone is on the precipice of change as told through alternating chapters. Kate and each of her three daughters take turns examining their views on life, exposing their deepest secrets to the light of day and plucking the strings of the complicated dynamics of the relationships at their fingertips. The culmination of their stories and life lessons hit home with the notion, “people are people".
This intriguing piece of fiction, set amongst actual events—the Vietnam War, Nixon’s tumultuous tenure, Apollo 11, and the Chappaquiddick incident—surprisingly enough, offered this 80’s born woman a bit of a history lesson. And while I wouldn’t say this reads as tried and true historical fiction, it still has a very contemporary feel, Hilderbrand is successful in turning back the hands of time while remaining true to her brand. New and longtime fans are sure to enjoy this summer escape to Nantucket.
*Thanks to Mitchell’s Book Corner and Elin Hilderbrand for making it possible for me to add a personalized copy to my collection. ♥
To say I’ve been ecstatic to read Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical fiction book is an understatement. Last summer, she wrote her first murder mystery, and this summer she brings us Summer of ‘69. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Expect the stories the Nantucket stories we’ve known and loved from our beloved EH, but this time, with a historic backdrop.
The Levin family spends its summers on Nantucket, and everyone looks forward to it. They stay at their grandmother’s stately, historic home. But this year, things are different for the Levins.
Blair is pregnant and unable to travel. Kirby is devoted to civil rights protests. Tiger has been deployed to Vietnam. Jessie, the youngest at thirteen years old, is staying with her grandmother who is behind-the-times, but carrying secrets.
The summer is filled with those historic events we’ve all heard about: the lunar landing, Chappaquiddick, and all the while, Jessie is growing up, too.
Yeah, I gobbled this up! What a summer story with plenty of depth and insight, as I would expect from Hilderbrand. This particular summer was rife with events and drama in the world, and so it was for the Levins, too. I was both engrossed and enchanted with this story. I can only imagine what EH will dream up for us next summer?! And in the interim, I have her new winter series to keep me company late this fall! Always and forever a fan!
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com