If you are looking for a great Summer read with a plot twist you didn’t see coming… The Lost Summers of Newport by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig & Karen White is exactly what you need to pick up.
This Summer we are making a point of visiting the library once a week for the Summer reading program. Generally, I focus on just downloading books on my kindle but it was nice to pick up a “real-life book” for a change. The Lost Summers of Newport caught my eye in the new fiction section, so I decided to give it a try.
The three w’s (as I’ve come to find them called) took us through through time with three generations of women who were involved with Sprague Hall. Ellen, Lucky & Andie each had a different contribution to the story but their lives intersect in ways I didn’t see coming.
Synopsis of The Lost Summers of Newport
Ellen (1899) is a music teacher for Maybelle Sprague, the heiress to Sprague Hall. She brings a past with her but is looking for a fresh start under a new name and profession. While her job is to help Maybelle learn to sing for a prince from Italy, she becomes more than a teacher for Maybelle. The two form a friendship that leaves Maybelle confiding a huge secret to Ellen.
Lucky (1957) returned to Sprauge Hall from Italy with her Nonna during WWII. She married Stu Sprague and had their daughter Joanie. While she is trying to care for her Nonna, who is not in the greatest mental state, Lucky is also working to help coordinate the Tiffany Ball and sort out the future of her marriage to Stu. We also meet Lucky in the present day 2019 version as she remains at Sprague Hall.
Andie (2019) is the host of the show Makeover Mansion. She is tasked with making over three rooms of Sprague Hall. Her boss, Marc, is fighting between showing the history of architecture of Sprague Hall and dealing with the network’s request for more gossip on the family. Andie finally makes her way in with the family as all of the secrets get ready to come out.
At first, I had a hard time connecting the dots. It was a lot to figure out how everyone in their own stories was related. There were moments I felt like I needed a family tree. However, around the time I hit chapter 5 I was hooked on the storyline. Honestly, I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.
It’s a good thing I didn’t try and map out a family tree. As the story continued to evolve and we learned more about each character, I began to see how they were related but did NOT expect the ending of the book.
Williams, Willig & White did a great job with the details. I could picture myself just hanging out at a falling-apart Sprauge Hall with Andie. Yet, I also could see the beauty of a brand new Sprague Hall with Ellen 120 years earlier.
Typically when going for a Summer beach read, I grab a romance novel that doesn’t require much thinking. Even though it required some thinking, The Lost Summers of Newport was a nice mixture of Mystery and Romance that kept you turning the pages for more.
Without giving anything away…I will say I screeched with excitement when two characters spent the night “watching the moon” together. There was a lot of romance to balance out the mystery. Then again, with the stories of Sprauge Hall romance was a must.
I’m Still Shocked…
It wouldn’t be a Mystery novel if you knew all of the pieces at the start of the novel. Either I don’t read enough Mystery (quite possible) or The Lost Summers of Newport was in for the shock factor as the final truth about Nonna’s mental state and the boathouse came together.
HELLO PLOT TWIST! I had to put the book down and walk away for a few minutes to soak it all in.
Take It To The Beach or On Vacation This Summer
The Lost Summers of Newport is just shy of 400 pages, the perfect length for a summer vacation. There was enough drama and mystery to keep you hooked but easy to pick up and put down as needed. It was not what I expected from the book, but so much more than just a mindless read.
Have you read it?! What are you reading right now?