Author: Holly Peterson
Type of book: 2017, summer, New York, Hamptons, new money, old money, secrets, wealth, satire, local residents, legal dealings, single motherhood, flirting, romance, teenagers, children, scandals
Year it was published: 2017
In the Hamptons, the everyday people are as complicated and fascinating as the millionaires...
When Katie Doyle moves across the country to the Hamptons, she is hoping for summer employment, new friends for her young son, and a chance to explore a new love affair with a dazzling investor. What she finds is a strange cocktail of classes, where society’s one-percenters vacation alongside local, hard-working people who’ve lived in the Hamptons for generations. Though she’s looking forward to their move, Katie is wary about mingling with her boyfriends’ East Coast elite circles. She soon discovers Southampton isn’t all that it seems to be on the surface—and neither are the people who live there.
As George takes Katie on a whirlwind tour of country clubs, haute couture, and lavish events, she is amazed to witness sudden whims become dire needs, extra-marital affairs blossoming right and left, and people purchase friends and loyalties like a pair of shoes. Even the middle-class townspeople maintain a determined façade while maneuvering like sharks among the wealthy summer invaders.
The more Katie becomes immersed, the more she learns the secrets of both the upstairs and downstairs, the upper crust and middle of the road. The combustion between the classes becomes explosive as the summer tears on. Betrayals, a sexual predator, and a missing person lost in murky waves drive the reader on a racing Learjet ride through impossible twists and turns until landing at the shocking conclusion. When she meets Luke, a local surfer and middle school teacher, he makes her question what it is she really wants as she understands the life she’s begun for herself is built on shifting Hamptons’ dunes.
There are quite a lot of characters, thus I will go over a few main ones: one is Katie Doyle, a single mother of 29 who has recently lost her mother and who also has a son named Huck. She is asked by her "boyfriend" George to move to Hamptons for a little bit. George Porter, in beginning, is best seem as sort of a dream come true for Katie, but there is something off that prevents Katie from liking him. He also treats Katie by being hot and cold with little to no explanation. Luke Forester is a surfing instructor who also happens to be a year round resident of the Hamptons. He is knowledgeable, good with children, and extremely likable. Jake Chase is the new money who loves flaunting the wealth he has earned. He is generous, big hearted, extremely busy and has a short attention span. His wife Julie likes to play with fire and is obsessed with decorating and working out. Alexa is the only daughter, a sixteen year old girl who thinks she has everything figured out. Kona is Luke's friend, half Hawaiian half Norweigian who loves women and who is not afraid of playing with fire.
It's possible to find things that can unite everyone
The story is written in third person narrative from an omniscient point of view. There is very little warning to when the point of view changes, but its a minor issue because the characters and their personalities are bound to leave a mark as one finishes reading. I do think that some minor plotlines are not solved, such as at one point, one of the married women sleeps with a mysterious stranger yet I am not sure how that relates to the larger story arc. The novel's strong points include the characters, the lifestyle and clashing between the three classes, and I also enjoyed the satire of how women from wealth were painted.
(From the book)
Holly Peterson is the authro of The Idea of Him and the New York TImes and international bestseller THe Manny. She was a contributing editor for Newsweek and editor-at-large for Talk Magazine. Prior to those positions, she was an Emmy Award-winning producer for ABC news where, for more than a decade, she covered everything from foreign coups to domestic trials of the century. her writing has been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, Town and Country, Vogue, Departures, and other publications.
The novel is a compulsively readable narrative of mystery, light summer fun, and the lifestyles of new money, old money and the year round residents of the Hamptons, and it kept me guessing at where it will take a turn. Some of the characters are both quirky and screwed up. For me it was difficult to make up my mind on whether or not I should like them because at one point they are likable and are trying hard, yet on the other hand they seem to lack understanding on how the other half lives, and I speak to both the haves and the have-nots. I also am curious if the picture of how the wealthy kids live is an accurate one. I also sense that the author tried to make it a satire, especially of the established elite and the newly elite because some of the characters from these classes are drawn in an exaggerated fashion. I do think that a few minor plot points aren't resolved as well, and I do think that Katie's struggles as a single mother aren't drawn as accurately as I had hoped, but its something I'm willing to overlook. For a modern day Edith Wharton, don't miss out this read!
This was given to me for an honest review
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)