New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams brings us the blockbuster novel of the season—a spellbinding novel of romance, murder, class, power, and dark secrets set in the 1950s and ’60s among the rarified world of a resort island in the Long Island Sound . . .
In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island in Long Island Sound as a naive eighteen year old, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. Although a graduate of the exclusive Foxcroft Academy in Virginia, Miranda has always lived on the margins of high society. When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda is 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 has enjoyed an intense, complex friendship with Isobel Fisher, and has a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop’s hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the Island for nearly two decades.
Now, in the 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 naive teenager, and she begins a fierce, inexorable quest for justice to the man she once loved . . . even if it means uncovering every last one of the secrets that bind together the families of Winthrop Island
Miranda returns to Winthrop Island after a terrible accident. She may have returned under tragic circumstances but she had also left years earlier in a cloud of suspicion.
There are a good many characters in this story so, as a reader, you have to pay attention or it can get confusing. I enjoyed Miranda. She is tough, tougher than she looks. Plus, she has a big heart. There is Isobel. She is sort of a wild child. There is Hugh. He is Miranda’s brother, who is named after her step father, Hugh Fisher. Hugh Fisher allegedly (key word here) gets murdered by Joseph Vargas. These are just a few characters needed to tell this story.
I enjoyed the mystery of this read. What happened to Hugh? Who did it? Did Joseph really do it? If not then who did? The mystery is really what keeps this tale alive and kicking. And Isobel…she is the best character out of the whole book she beats to her own drum with some heartbreaks along the way.
This story is typical Beatriz Williams. Different narrators, different stories, different time periods all melding into a great tale. No one weaves a story through different generations quite like this author. I have read and loved all of her books. But, I did feel this story dragged a good bit. I wanted a little more action. It is a wonderful tale just a bit slow in places.
I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.