A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
(Putnam Adult, 2013, 368 pages)
In 1931, Lily and Nick fell in love quickly and without much thought of the scandal that would come because of their relationship. Nick is half Jewish and the prejudice against Jews is high and Lily’s family is among those quick to turn their backs against them. Lily and Nick’s relationship quickly dissolves and seven years later Lily must face Nick and his new bride, Budgie. Budgie was Lily’s best friend growing up and in college and one of the many people who couldn’t see past the fact that Nick was Jewish, trying to convince Lily that it wouldn’t work. Now Lily is stuck in Seaview for the summer amidst swirling rumors and family expectations that she is still unwilling to meet.
The setup for this book is interesting as it goes back and forth from Nick and Lily’s story in 1931, beginning with how they met, to when Nick and Budgie show up at Seaview in 1938. I enjoyed how the reader doesn’t get Lily and Nick’s full backstory at first so you don’t know which rumors to believe. For the majority of the book, the reader is kept in the dark about what came between Nick and Lily but it’s clear they still have feelings for one another. As their story is slowly revealed, it also becomes clear that Lily had the clues on why her life changed so dramatically but she had just been too heartbroken to put everything together.