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Montauk: A Novel by Nicola Harrison

Montauk: A Novel

by Nicola Harrison

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7116257,719 (3.78)2
"Montauk, Long Island, 1938. For three months, this humble fishing village will serve as the playground for New York City's wealthy elite. Beatrice Bordeaux was looking forward to a summer of reigniting the passion between her and her husband, Harry. Instead, tasked with furthering his investment interest in Montauk as a resort destination, she learns she'll be spending twelve weeks sequestered with the high society wives at The Montauk Manor--a two-hundred room seaside hotel--while Harry pursues other interests in the city. College educated, but raised a modest country girl in Pennsylvania, Bea has never felt fully comfortable among these privileged women, whose days are devoted not to their children but to leisure activities and charities that seemingly benefit no one but themselves. She longs to be a mother herself, as well as a loving wife, but after five years of marriage she remains childless while Harry is increasingly remote and distracted. Despite lavish parties at the Manor and the Yacht Club, Bea is lost and lonely and befriends the manor's laundress whose work ethic and family life stir memories of who she once was. As she drifts further from the society women and their preoccupations and closer toward Montauk's natural beauty and community spirit, Bea finds herself drawn to a man nothing like her husband -stoic, plain spoken and enigmatic. Inspiring a strength and courage she had almost forgotten, his presence forces her to face a haunting tragedy of her past and question her future. Desperate to embrace moments of happiness, no matter how fleeting, she soon discovers that such moments may be all she has, when fates conspire to tear her world apart..."--… (more)



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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)

A great debut historical novel, easy and enjoyable to read


Beatrice Bordeaux grew up in rural area of Pennsylvania. She’s never felt comfortable among the privileged women summering on Montauk, Long Island. It’s 1938, and New York City’s wealthy elite are staying at the Montauk Manor. Beatrice was hoping this vacation on Montauk would strengthen her five-year marriage with her husband Harry, and possibly result in a baby. But Harry, after depositing Beatrice on Montauk with the other wives, is spending the summer in the city pursuing other interest.

The more Beatrice learns about how the women of New York spend their time on Long Island, the more isolated she feels. She has nothing in common with these women, and doesn’t fit in. Instead she make friends with Elizabeth, the hotel’s laundress who reminds her of her Pennsylvania roots. Beatrice is particularly drawn to the Montauk lighthouse and it’s keeper who shows her the natural beauty and the community spirit of the island. She is torn between the life she has and the life she wants to have.

“No matter how perfect all these lives seemed from a distance, so full of possibilities and promise, we all wanted more.”

Make sure you have plenty of tissues close by when you read this, because it’s a tear-jerker of a story. Author Nicola Harrison has written a beautiful debut novel, a story of love, loss and friendship. Montauk is a well written story in a historical period that allows you to feel and see the social norms of the time. The setting is so beautifully descriptive that I would love to visit to see what the Montauk Manor and the lighthouse are like today.

Beatrice’s makes the perfect character for the story. She is vulnerable and pushes herself to find the strength to do what’s right. She stands up for for herself as well as for the town people. I also liked Beatrice’s best friend, Dolly, who was a smart and intelligent business woman, well ahead of her time. Overall, Montauk is a light, easy and enjoyable read. Great for a day at the beach.

“As we drove up the tight and winding road, tree branches reached overhead toward each other like lovers’ hands desperate to connect...”

Publisher St. Martin’s Press
Published June 4, 2019
Review www.bluestockingreviews.com ( )
  LisaSHarvey | Oct 12, 2019 |
This is one of those moving, beautiful stories that was able to whisk me away to another time, another place, and yet has its footholds firmly in a reality that might have been. It shows us something in which we can really get to know the characters, their lives, and what may or may not be happening behind the scenes, but still instilled humor, hardship, and heart with every page. As the story progress, suspicions about some thing proved true several times over, my initial love of the locals was tampered when they couldn't take Bea at face value, and connections from the past were finally revealed. By book's end, I was totally wrecked! It was just THAT GOOD! A most unexpected twist happens towards book's end, well technically a few twists, but I was SO on the edge of my seat as I was swept away by the beauty, the drama, the tragedy, and magnificence that was this story.

**copy received for review; opinions are my own ( )
  GRgenius | Sep 15, 2019 |
This book has it all. A little romance, a little history of 1938, a little glimpse of wealthy and poor and definitely a glimpse at obnoxious, arrogant and mean-spirited women that I wanted to flat out smack. I felt I was there. I could 'see' Montauk and all its beauty. I've known these people and I am Bea. Good reading.

ARC thanks to St. Martin's Press. Review my own. ( )
  deb.d | Jun 13, 2019 |
I love the era between the Great Depression and World War II. Watching our country rise up out of the ashes and gain the strength to fight another world war never ceases to amaze me. It was during this time that the divide between social classes deepened and became crystal clear as the wealthy continued to live their lavish lifestyles while the lower classes struggled to survive. It is this divide that is the foundation of Montauk.

Montauk is a small costal town on Long Island that has become a glamorous summer retreat, with a stunning manor that many Manhattanites flocked to the summer of 1938. Beatrice Bordeaux is one of the privledged wives who found herself enjoying the beauty of Montauk that summer, but Beatrice feels discontented with her life, this displeasure deepening as the days of summer flutter by.

Beatrice's fight for empowerment, to find her true self, to break social barriers and fight for women's rights in this male-dominated society was by far my favorite part of this novel. I loved watching Beatrice blossom into a strong woman with a voice all her own, breaking away from her shy, people-pleasing ways, and standing up for herself and what she believed in.

Reading about the beautiful details of Montauk, the writing capturing my imagination, was also pleasurable, but the novel does have a slow start, some of the characters weren't well developed, and much of the plot and language was highly offensive to me since I prefer cleaner reads. It was these faults that had me torn, wanting to like this debut novel but the flaws overpowered it for me personally. If things like language, affairs, and steamy romances do not bother you I believe you will enjoy Montauk. ( )
  cflores0420 | Jun 7, 2019 |
Nicola Harrison

What it's all about...

Beatrice finds herself in Montauk at an amazing hotel for the summer. Wealth, privilege and a husband are all that is required. Unfortunately she finds out that during the week...when her husband is supposed to be working in the city...he is entertaining women at their NYC apartment. Beatrice also discovers that she has more of a bond with the townspeople than she does with the wealthy ladies she is supposed to be spending her time with. This is the era of the 30’s and during the week at this hotel there are only women, children and their nannies. Beatrice is childless and this also puts her at loose ends. That is until she develops a friendship with Elizabeth...the laundry lady and Thomas...the lighthouse keeper. Beatrice is an admirable person...much different from the other idle women. She also writes and through a friendship with a newspaper writer submits a weekly column about life in Montauk. This is published anonymously.

My thoughts after reading this book...

I really enjoyed the early history of Montauk. The writing was fluid and clear. I loved reading about this period of time in our country’s history.

What I loved best...

I couldn’t help but love Beatrice and her baby steps into a real life. She stood up for what she believed in.

What potential readers might want to know...

This is a long slow simmering story. It’s an incredible look into the lives of the wealthy and the not so wealthy during this period of time. Readers who love this king of book should truly enjoy this one.

I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley. It was my choice to read and review it. ( )
  PattyLouise | Jun 6, 2019 |
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