Sunday, April 5, 2020

Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand

Title: Summer of '69
Author: Elin Hilderbrand 
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: June 18, 2019

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 was a good way to forget what is going on around the world.

The story centers in one family: The Levins/Nichols (Although, Kate was a Foley at some point. She was married to Wilder Foley).

Kate Levin is the mother. Kate is devastated that her only son, Tiger has been drafted to Vietnam. She's terrified he is going to die during this terrible war. She believes this is life paying her back for a secret she has been carrying for a long time. Kate knows she's drinking too much while her marriage and her relationship with her daughters are deteriorating.

The oldest daughter, Blair is married and pregnant. She is unhappy with her husband, Angus who's a physicist who doesn't want her to pursue her career. Instead, he wants her to stay at home barefoot and pregnant which is terribly lonely since he doesn't get home until very late every day. Furthermore, her husband also has some spells were he doesn't want to go out of the house at all and wants to seclude himself instead.

Kirby is the middle sister. She is all about fighting for civil rights, love not war, getting high and living free. Although, recently after she got in trouble with a man, she wants to heal and spend the summer at Martha's Vineyard. She's offered a job working the graveyard shift which she takes. She wants to prove she can be self-sufficient. In regards to her heart, She's not ready to date again until she meets Darren.

Lastly, there is Jessie, the half-sister. She just turned thirteen and the last thing she wants to do is to stay with her mother Kate and her grandmother, Exalta in Nantucket for the summer. It's implicit that she would need to start taking tennis lessons even though it is not a sport she wants to learn. It doesn't help that her first class in nothing but a nightmare.


Going back to Nantucket through Elin Hilderbrand's vision is always fun.  But this time, it was not only Nantucket that was relevant but instead she decided to transport us to 1969. A year which was important for America and the world for so many reasons. Some awe-inspiring moments but also some terrible tragedies occurred during this time.

Summer of '69 had relatable characters. I liked them all except maybe I never really warm up to the Exalta.

I can't wait for Mrs. Hilderbrand's next Nantucket beach read.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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