Publish Date : 5/22/18
Author: Judy Blundell
Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️
I received an advanced copy of The High Season from Netgalley, Random House Publishing, and author Judy Blundell in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by those mentioned above.
Summary from Goodreads:
In a beach town overrun with vacationers and newly colonized by socialites, one woman goes to extreme lengths when the life she loves is upended. The ultimate summer read, this novel of money, class, and family is perfect for fans of Meg Wolitzer, Curtis Sittenfeld, and Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest.
No matter what the world throws her way, at least Ruthie Beamish has the house. Lovingly renovated, located by the sea in a quiet village two ferry rides from the glitzier Hamptons, the house is Ruthie’s nest egg—the retirement account shared with her ex-husband, Mike, and the college fund for their teenage daughter, Jem. The catch? To afford the house, Ruthie must let it go during the best part of the year.
It’s Memorial Day weekend and Ruthie has packed up their belongings for what Jem calls “the summer bummer”: the family’s annual exodus to make way for renters. This year, the Hamptons set has arrived. Adeline Clay is elegant, connected, and accompanied by a “gorgeous satellite” stepson.
The widow of a blue-chip artist, in a world defined by luxury and ease, Adeline demonstrates an uncanny ability to help herself to Ruthie’s life. Is Adeline just being her fabulous self, or is she out to take what she wants?
When an eccentric billionaire, his wayward daughter, a coterie of social climbers, and Ruthie’s old flame are thrown into the mix, the entire town finds itself on the verge of tumultuous change. But as Ruthie loses her grasp on her job, her home, and her family, she discovers a new talent for pushing back. By the end of one unhinged, unforgettable summer, nothing will be the same—least of all Ruthie.
In a novel packed with indelible characters, crackling wit, and upstairs/downstairs drama, Judy Blundell emerges as a voice for all seasons—a wry and original storyteller who knows how the most disruptive events in our lives can twist endings into new beginnings.
“Sharply observed and beautifully written, The High Season is like a cold martini on a hot summer night: Refreshing and intoxicating at the same time.”—Janelle Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Watch Me Disappear
“Judy Blundell’s debut novel The High Season will hit the summer like a blazing comet of wit, poignancy, and lines that make one stop and sizzle with awe. I’m a fan of Judy Blundell for life!”—Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author of Beach House Reunion
I wish I could have finished this faster but work got so busy this week. The book is being compared to The Nest but I luckily don’t see much of the comparison other than the theme. This book had a few more likable characters , thankfully for me who did not enjoy The Nest as much as others.
It took a while for things to start coming together for me though. Although every character’s subplots were interesting, I was getting sick of reading about them without understanding how and if they connected. This is another reason I didn’t finish as quickly. I felt like I was putting the book down much faster than other stories I have read.
Overall, I liked the read. I was interested in the plot and subplots. Many of the characters were likable in their own way, and the ones that were not had very specific reasons to the book (no spoilers here).
There’s a quick reference of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” which I adored. There also many other literary references (Alice in Wonderland, Macbeth) . These little connections to the story kept me intrigued and reading because the lack of a major plot had me stalled until it became more obvious halfway through the book. I was only reading about 20 pages at a time.
I think this will be a big hit for others. I was wanting more of a beach setting. The cover and description is kind of deceiving. It’s much more of a book about art that is set at the beach (but nothing else to distinguish the beach). It could have taken place anywhere else and worked. To me it was just okay. I think I am beginning to realize I don’t enjoy gossipy women’s fiction so much. Then again, I loved Big Little Lies. The review was so hard for me to write. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it, but I don’t have much to say. I’ll have to ponder on this one a bit more.