The Summer Wives - Beatriz Williams

The Summer Wives

By Beatriz Williams

  • Release Date: 2018-07-10
  • Genre: Historical
Score: 4
From 582 Ratings


“The Summer Wives is an exquisitely rendered novel that tackles two of my favorite topics: love and money. The glorious setting and drama are enriched by Williams’s signature vintage touch. It’s at the top of my picks for the beach this summer.”

—Elin Hilderbrand, author of The Perfect Couple

New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams brings us the blockbuster novel of the season—an electrifying postwar fable of love, class, power, and redemption set among the inhabitants of an island off the New England coast . . .

In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island as a schoolgirl from the margins of high society, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda’s catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools. Isobel Fisher, Miranda’s new stepsister—all long legs and world-weary bravado, engaged to a wealthy Island scion—is eager to draw Miranda into the arcane customs of Winthrop society.

But beneath the island’s patrician surface, there are really two clans: the summer families with their steadfast ways and quiet obsessions, and the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic workers who earn their living on the water and in the laundries of the summer houses. Uneasy among Isobel’s privileged friends, Miranda finds herself drawn to Joseph Vargas, whose father keeps the lighthouse with his mysterious wife. In summer, Joseph helps his father in the lobster boats, but in the autumn he returns to Brown University, where he’s determined to make something of himself. Since childhood, Joseph’s enjoyed an intense, complex friendship with Isobel Fisher, and as the summer winds to its end, Miranda’s caught in a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop’s hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the island for nearly two decades.

Now, in the landmark summer of 1969, Miranda returns at last, as a renowned Shakespearean actress hiding a terrible heartbreak. On its surface, the Island remains the same—determined to keep the outside world from its shores, fiercely loyal to those who belong. But the formerly powerful Fisher family is a shadow of itself, and Joseph Vargas has recently escaped the prison where he was incarcerated for the murder of Miranda’s stepfather eighteen years earlier. What’s more, Miranda herself is no longer a naïve teenager, and she begins a fierce, inexorable quest for justice for the man she once loved . . . even if it means uncovering every last one of the secrets that bind together the families of Winthrop Island.


  • Immersive and Compelling

    By SwiftBoyzFan4Eva
    I’ve read at least thirty books this quarantine, and this is going to be the one I recommend to everyone. I read it in about a day...I just could not put this boo, down! The storytelling is beautiful, and the characters are complex and fleshed out. I loved that it was set in multiple time periods, so that I could see character growth and change. I also loved the historical setting, and how that shaped the story.
  • Summer Wives

    By No No Nannette
    I really like this author. This book was true to her style, but there was something missing. I think it was the lack of happiness.
  • MommyLovesBooks

    By HRM1223
  • Love the Author

    By texasfan2011
    The Summer Wives is another intricate, interesting tale by Beatriz Williams. I definitely recommend it!
  • I couldn’t finish it

    I have read other books of hers and enjoyed them very much. But this one I found slow and I kept falling asleep after a few pages. So I am moved no on.
  • Fascinating!

    By pegg12
    The Summer Wives is a rich, compelling novel, crafted with intriguing characters, realistic dialogue and a complex, mysterious plot, involving love, betrayal, and murder. Miranda moved for the summer to a well-hidden Island off the Long Island coast, called Winthrop Island. Miranda’s mother was marrying the handsome Hugh Fisher; a man of great wealth, power, and charm. To the Portuguese Islanders; however, especially, Francisca and Bianca Vargas; Hugh was a conniving devil, a trickster, a man who used his influence to entice and hurt. There are several superbly written, sub-stories in this novel, all interwoven between the pages, and ranging from the 1930s to the 1970s. There is so much going on in this novel, that I read the book twice, to make sure that I didn’t miss any of the intricate pieces that made up this fascinating tale. The author brings the reader deep into the hearts and minds of Bianca Vargas, Miranda Schuyler, Joseph Vargas and Isobel Fisher. My favorite character was Miranda. She was a woman of integrity who by no fault of her own, was caught up in a world of deceit. Joseph touched my heart. He was also a favorite character of mine. He was a good and honest man who suffered unjustly. Isobel, Miranda stepsister was someone I couldn’t warm up to. She was wild, entitled and cunning. Joseph didn’t think of Miranda Schuyler as a person who was part of the Island’s Families, even though, technically she was. Miranda didn’t carry herself like the aloof, elite, wealthy families who summered on the Island. A lot happened that summer of 1951, some things exceedingly joyful, and some so horrific that lives were changed forever. When Miranda left the Island that fall, she didn’t return for eighteen years. Her relationship with her mother and stepsister was almost nonexistent. And her relationship with Joseph, was just so, so sad. Miranda returned, however, eighteen years later to see justice done and to heal from her brokenness. She was not a teen anymore, but an established married woman, a movie star, even. Although, I found the book utterly fascinating and absorbing; I had to backtrack a few times to figure out exactly what was going on. This is the first book that I have read by this talented author, but it won’t be my last. The Summer Wives is a complex novel, well-written and one that I’ll read again. Thank you, William Morrow Publishing and Edelweiss, for my advanced review copy. I loved it!