I don’t know about you, but I love a good Elin Hilderbrand book!!! When I hear she had a new book coming out AND it was getting great reviews, I naturally had to have it!!! In addition, I am part of book club, The Bee Hive Book Club, where each member is part of a 12 member team. Each member picks a book for their team and then journals their thoughts in a notebook while reading the book. At the end of the month, the member mails the book and the journal they have to the next member of the group. When 12 months is up, I will get my book back and the journal back with thoughts from 12 different people!!!! Naturally I chose Summer of ’69 for this exchange!!! There is so much packed into this book, and I can wait to see the journal responses from others around the United States! I am so excited!!!
This book, based in 1969, is about the Levin family and what the Summer of 1969 has in store for them. Each summer, the Levin family travels to Nantucket to spend the summer at their grandmother’s, Exalta aka Nonny to the grandchildren, home “All’s Fair.” This summer, however, is nothing like the previous summers that the Levin family has experienced.
Blair, the oldest of the children, is stuck in Boston. Blair is pregnant with twins and her husband, Angus, who is an astrophysicist and is helping NASA with the moon launch, is not home much of the time due to the upcoming mission. Plus, Blair is sure that her husband is having an affair with a woman named Trixie.
Kirby, a student at Simmons College, wants nothing more than her independence. She is all about the civil rights movement and has participated in several protests, some of which have gotten her arrested. This summer however, she wants her freedom and talks her mother and father into letting her take a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard.
Tiger has recently been called up to serve has a soldier had as been deployed to war in Vietnam. Tiger is the light of his mother, Kate’s, eyes and she is devitated when her only son is deployed.
Jessie, the youngest of the family at age 13, is suddenly an “only child” and is forced to go to Nantucket with her mother, Kate, and grandmother, Exalta. She want desperatly to stay home with her father, David, who will come to Nantucket on weekends, but Kate and Nonny will not hear of it.
This story takes a look at each of the siblings lives as well as Kate’s and Nonny’s. Each life is filled with secrets that are spilling over at the brim. Each person wants to keep their secrets to themselves, but at the same time so desperately wants to not be alone in the vast world. Are they willing to spill their secrets to become more cohesive as a family or will they ride out the summer, separate and alone?
This is this first historical novel written by Elin Hilderbrand.
I am generally not one to read historical fiction…it usually is just not my cup of tea. However, as I said I absolutely love Elin Hilderbrand as an author and once again she did not disappoint. This book captivated me from page one. I have to admit that I don’t know a lot about 1969, other than the basics that we are taught in school. However, this book captured me and took me to a place where I could see the events unfolding – it was like I was there, experiencing it with the characters. I felt myself longing with the family that Tiger would come home from the war. I felt myself remembering what is was like to be a 13 year old girl. I reflected on how all we want when we are little is to grow up and be independent in the world. I thought of the secrets that we all have and how we go through an internal struggle as to whether to let those secrets out or to keep them hidden deep down. This book was fantastic in so many ways, from the description of the times and of the characters to the raw emotions that were written about in the book and felt by the reader. I can’t say enough good things about this book. Everyone should have it on their TBR (To Be Read) List!!! I have never been disappointed by an Elin Hilderbrand book, and this one showed me again what an amazing author and storyteller Elin is!!!