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Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak.
That is, until Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview.
Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily's past: her former best friend and her former fiancee, now recently married - an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie's arrival to restore her family's old house puts her once more in the center of the community's social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily's friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction... and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations.
Under the scorching summer sun, the unexpected truth of Budgie and Nick's marriage bubbles to the surface, and as a cataclysmic hurricane barrels unseen up the Atlantic and into New England, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional cyclone of their own, which will change their worlds forever.
This book was an easy listen. It had juicy drama that unfolded throughout the book. I appreciated this somewhat soap opera, light beach read. I didn't read it on the beach though, but it was perfect for a long plane ride in which I was somewhat exhausted and didn't have the concentration for a more complicated book. The 1930's New England setting was a nice backdrop for this story. At a time when life appeared to be more conservative, many risque events were taking place. The book is about best friends and love interests and family and the skeletons in their closets. I found myself gasping out loud more than once at what was taking place. The narrator does a fine job with the female voices, but I thought she was pretty mediocre with the male voices. Also, I didn't "love" Nick, the main character, Lily's, love interest. He was too much of a goody-two-shoes and somewhat boring, although he did sound very good-looking. This book is what some might call "chick-lit" and will probably appeal more to women than to men. This genre isn't usually my thing, but I found myself wanting to listen when I wasn't listening to get to the bottom of the story. On a side note, they must have lit up at least 2000 cigarettes in this book. At a certain point, I felt that it was a little bit unnecessary and it started to bug me. All in all, I would recommend this to others, mainly women, and I think it would be a good book club read/discussion.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
This was a feel good listen for the beach with an enjoyable, somewhat predictable plot. It's great to come across a really good, easy read for those wonderful mindless summer days. Heads up for some five alarm, steamy love/lust scenes that may require headphones in mixed company.
Somewhat tortured characters who's complex personalities are intertwined from 1931 to 1938. The time period is depicted beautifully and Seaview, RI almost becomes a character in itself. Heartsick lovers Nick and Lily are separated because of tragic events, secrets and guilt. Time, revelation, confessions and true love may be just enough to bring them back into each others arms and lives. Or......, will they just be blown away?
Kathleen Mclnerney did an excellent job bringing all the different characters to life. Her pace and timing definitely added to the story, especially the turbulent ending. I am looking forward to listening to her narration of, "The Nine Lives of Christmas", in December.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I love perfect narration. Narration that gives life to the story and the characters and doesn't get in the way. Narration is portrayal in that way. This is a wonderful long intricate story that might have ruined by the wrong narrator. If you like stories from the era this placed in there is no reason why you wouldn't love this one. A story to savor.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
"Nick!" <br/>"Lilly!"<br/>"Oh, Nick!"<br/>"Oh, Lilly!"<br/>Oh for goodness' sake just shoot me. Two dimensional characters, predictable story. And how many cigarettes get smoked in this melodramatic piece of drivel??? LOTS. They're clearly the author's favorite prop. Hair, lipstick, booze, cigarettes, Nick and Lilly. For goodness' sake.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful
This book was really hard to stop listening to...I recommend having a couple of hours uninterrupted to listen to the final third of the book. The story had everything I love in a light read, romance, mystery, and likeable characters and I loved learning more about pre-war America...not a time period I have read much about. I highly recommend this one...it had me thinking about it while I was away from my ipod!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I really enjoyed this book. The story was captivating and the narrator was excellent. This book really came to life for me and began to feel as if I really knew the characters.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Where does A Hundred Summers rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
It ranks at the top of the list. First, the story was very well written, and Kathleen was exceptional! I could listen to her in the wee hours of the morning. I look forward to reading more from this author and hope to hear more from Kathleen.
What other book might you compare A Hundred Summers to and why?
The Great Gatsby. Due to similar eras of time (women love to smoke and drink) and they are encouraged to marry well and mostly there are secrets of past generations and affairs of sort. Loved them both! Would love to see a movie based on A Hundred Summers.
Have you listened to any of Kathleen McInerney’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
No, have not, as would love it! Would encourage authors to use her as she is outstanding!
If you could rename A Hundred Summers, what would you call it?
Not sure, would have to think about it.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes. It is a wonderful, languid beach read. A lovely period piece, very descriptive and entertaining. I didn't want the story to end.
What was one of the most memorable moments of A Hundred Summers?
There are many memorable moments of A Hundred Summers - the great storm, how Nick ended up with Budgie, the moment Lily discovers what society really thinks of her... it's all delicious!
Which character – as performed by Kathleen McInerney – was your favorite?
I liked the voice of Lily and Budgie. Kathleen McInerney was able to voice all of the characters in a way that I was able to tell who was who every single time.
Who was the most memorable character of A Hundred Summers and why?
Lily, of course. It is her story and it is a good story. A Hundred Summers is a great escape and a beautiful love story.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I haven't read a lot of fiction based on life in the thirties. Literary requirements of college and high school, while great literature, aren't exactly uplifting. I didn't finish "The Grapes of Wrath" and long to read more about those exciting 1930's! Okay, so I shouldn't throw that title around with light Summer reading.
This story is about a group of privileged New Englanders, who with a couple of exceptions, experienced the financial crises of those times only in abstract way. They still summered in picturesque, elite New England seaside communities; mostly ignored prohibition, and attended elite Northeastern universities. The characters were realistic and well developed. Despite their privileged life, they still managed to screw this up royally, as people will. This was NOT the 1930's my stalwart Midwestern grandparents told me about. The writer's descriptions of the idyllic, and ridiculously idle life of summer in an affluent Rhode Island seaside community drew me in completely. The writer skillfully reminds us of the absence of modern day technology (an extremely wealthy man at the mercy of the timer on a payphone because he's out of change....a payphone? I forgot about those) or the heroine's references to an article she just read in Time about this stuff called 'adrenaline'. #1, Time was already around, providing continuity with today and #2 adrenaline was a new discovery, oh how far science has come.
I learned a lesson in selecting this title. I tend to be lazy when choosing my next listen. I have had a rule not to choose titles with less than a 4,0 reader rating. Since this book was new and had only one rating, I clicked on the author's name to see how other titles were rated and was reminded that Ms. Williams also wrote "Overseas", another of my favorites. In doing so, I was very surprised to see that book only carried a 3.something rating now. In looking at the reviews, I see many of the less charitable reviews related to the genre classification (science fiction as well as romance) and the comparison somewhere to "Outlander" (not at all a fair comparison) rather than the story itself.
So, from now on, if a book looks interesting, I'll take the time to see what the negatives are before I disregard it. What other interesting authors have I carelessly overlooked with my silly rule?
I highly recommend this book, this author and this narrator.
8 of 11 people found this review helpful
Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer...the barrage of "Best Summer/Beach Books* lists have hit; two of my favorite words in the English language" "Beach" & "Books" -- and giddy with the prospect of glorious summer, I decided to accept a challenge and tackle every one of them. It seemed doable time-wise, and it's always good to adventure outside of your zone, so I downloaded those that were available now, and headed off for a weekend at the lake. After about an hour with the one about the Camperdowns, and thinking I'd rather stick needles in my eyes than go on, I realized my biggest challenge would be subject matter...which brings me to A Hundred Summers.
Rather than throw in the beach towel, so to speak, I decided to have a 50page/1hr. audio rule for my summer challenge (unless there is some big sign of promise). I'm not generally a fan of chick-lit, but the cover of A Hundred Summers reminded me of Tigers in Red Weather, a book I enjoyed very much during the summer of 2012. So I began book #2 with my fingers crossed, and Belief, Reality, and Logic suspended deep in my beach bag. Happy to report that after an hour I was still listening -- not a needle in sight -- thoroughly enjoying myself as I listened and baked.
Another languid summer at the beach house in Seaview, RI, where the setting is swell, the sun is scorching, the ocean deep breezy blue, the drinks are icy and loaded with gin. Everyone is rich, the girls are sassy, the guys are dreamy, the romance is swoony, the sex is risqué, and the family secrets jooooooosie. But not everything is as fabulous as it seems under those glittery sheaths and searsucker suits. It is 1938 and the gossip in town carries the rumors of war, both in the world and in Seaview. Lily's old friend, the beautiful and scandalous Budgie, has returned to her family beach house after years away, bringing along her new husband, Lily's former boyfriend Nick Greenwald. As the summer heats up so does the social atmosphere; it is the eve of WWII (did I mention Nick was Jewish?) and there is a *hundred-year hurricane* in the forecast, threatening to blow the roof off more than just the seaside cottages.
I was content to spend the entire day (and a few evening hours) finishing this book, and think it really might be the perfect beach read for the ladies. It is predictable, mindless, the characters are figments of every woman's imagination, the ending was a little schmarmy, but I liked it--sue me! As books go - 3 *'s; but as beach reads go - 5 bottles of sunscreen. McInerney does a nice job with the narration, and makes the back and forth transition of years, and different characters, effortlessly. I've heard it compared to some of author Daphne du Maurier's books and agree (she wrote during the same time period in which this novel is placed). With all the elements of those great beach reads from my past: romance, intrigue, drama -- the only thing missing here was the warning from the Surgeon General...(seriously)...the suitable subtitle would be "smoke 'em if you've got 'em" and not because of the hot sex (although that too was smoking). Great fun, loved it, I'm 1 for 2, and on to my next beach read. Hope you enjoy this, and your summer.
32 of 46 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to A Hundred Summers the most enjoyable?
It was easy to listen to this book. I loved the way the reader made the characters come to life.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
The book was pleasantly taking me through the story, and revealing itself through the jumps from past to present.
Any additional comments?
It was a well researched period book. The story was easy to get into and pleasant to follow.it didn't feel forced.