I was depressed and grieving. But there is a happy ending.
What could have been a romance story, instead is written as a tragedy. The book starts (the first 14 pages) with Nick married to Budgie in 1938. They are spending the summer next door to Lily. Then through flashbacks we see how Lily and Nick met seven years earlier and fell in love. It was a wonderful love story, but we know they will break up, and Lily is alone and grieving and still loves Nick in 1938. So for 85% of the book I am grieving. I am depressed. And the main mystery and suspense is WHY did they split? I can’t enjoy a developing relationship when I know a bad end is coming - like the Titanic. By the way, readers who liked the Titanic love story will probably like this - readers who have a desire for tears. If it were turned around and written as a romance, it could have been wonderful - for me. The couple meets, falls in love, has a separation, and gets together at the end. But this is the story of WHY did the disaster happen, instead of love, hope, and anticipation about a relationship.
Another problem is the flashback method. The author kept jumping back and forth - with cliffhangers. It was artificial suspense - stopping in the middle of scenes. I would have enjoyed this so much more if it were done in chronological order. The flashbacks and jumping around continued for 85% of the book. A cliffhanger example, page 11: Nick is playing football, is injured and on the ground. We don’t know if he’s dead or alive or what happened, and the scene switches to seven years later.
The reasons for the break up and why Nick married Budgie were kind of stupid. This is one of those “if they would have had a conversation there would have been no break up.” They made assumptions and didn’t talk to each other. They were truly in love which meant they should have cared how the other was feeling and at least attempted a conversation, but they did not.
There was also a plot hole (for me) regarding Lily’s parents. I wanted to see the mother more fleshed out - her motivations, actions, and words. There was a lot going on between the parents and between the parents and Lily that I wanted to see.
Lily was a self-sacrificing helper, naive, clueless, and a little stupid in the sense of putting herself in danger or sacrificing her own needs because she believed someone needed her help - which wasn’t really that helpful or necessary. She needed a friend to say “Come on Lily you need to do this” or “Lily don’t do that.” I’m ok with heroines who are not smart, but I was getting a little tired of her worries about and saying “he/she needs me.”
My favorite part was in the epilogue - what Nick did and why during World War II. I had tears of admiration for him.
The narrator Kathleen McInerney was ok, but I did not like her voice for Graham - oddly hard and forced.
Genre: womens fiction
I'd place it about a third-of-the way down the reading list.
Some of the protagonists needed a forgivable flaw or too, perhaps.
Probably the end, of course.
No, but I am somewhat immovable when it comes to listening to books. It has to be a whopper of a story line to get me to really dive into being moved.
This is a good enough read.... maybe a beach or rainy day read.
The story bounces between 1931 and 1938, and a lot has happened in those years. I found myself guessing and making conclusions all along the way. It was unexpected and intriguing.
A Hundred Summers is Beatriz Williams’ second novel, the first being Overseas. A Hundred Summers is a story of friendships, betrayals, old families and guarded secrets. The audiobook was an easy listen and thought Kathleen McInerney did a fine job narrating.
The story alternates between 1931/1932 and 1938. In 1931 we meet up with the main characters Lily Dane and Budgie Byrne where they are attending college football game to watch Budgie's boyfriend, Graham Pendleton play. Here Lily meets Nicholsen Greenwald at a game, and fall instantly in love with each other but with Nick being Jewish they become star cross lovers. Fast forward to 1938 to Seaview, RI where Lily has arrived at her family’s summer home with her Mother, Aunt and 6 year old sister, Kiki. And who shows up, her former best friend Budgie with former fiancé, now recently married Nicholsen Greenwald. Seeing that Lily is still single Budgie tries to match up her old boyfriend Graham Pendleton – who just happens to be a relief pitcher for the Yankees. But there is a storm brewing, the ties between Lily and Nick are too strong, the Budgie/Nick marriage is not all that it looks to be and Graham is not very trustful – threw in the Hurricane of 1938 for added.
The characters are where I had my issues. I could not find one redeeming thing about Budgie and I think the author realized that as well as she throws you a little curve ball towards the end. I had no empathy for Lily, I could understand Lily being naïve in 1931 but to stay naive for 7 years was a bit too much. Her relationship with her little sister (or was it her sister), Kiki was a bit over the top.
I really would have liked to have given this book 4 stars for I felt it was well written but I found the story very predictable and several of the main characters quite annoying – so 3 ½ stars.
I wasn't expecting great literature, just a fun and interesting read, a bit of escape literature. But this book is not that. The narration is annoying- breathless, overly-emotional in tone and childlike in pitch. And then she does the male voices...yikes. Just awful. But the writing is infinitely worse. I can't imagine how this book could have so many glowing reviews (which led me to think this might be a fun summer read) when it is so predictable and dull.
The characters are really flat, 2-dimensional. The dialog is just cliched. But more disappointing is that there is absolutely no sense of the time period. The story is supposedly taking place in the 1930's- but really it could be happening at any time, anywhere. It lacks any sense that the Depression has been going on for almost a decade, that WWII is looming in Europe, that there's a culture of music, fashion, art, even nightlife, that was distinct to Depression-era NYC. There's not even a believably conveyed sense of summertime life in the beautiful, wealthy beachside communities along the Atlantic where much of the story takes place. It's all very generic.
Irritation mixed with exasperation and boredom. I actually found myself making sarcastic comments out loud as a way to maintain my sense of humor as the book droned on. But I pride myself on finishing what I start and I did make it through the all-too predictable ending of the book. No surprises there...
I don't usually write reviews- I figure everyone has their own taste. But this really is the worst book I've downloaded from Audible.