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Summer of '69

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Follow New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand back in time and join a Nantucket family as they experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of a 1960s summer. Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century! It's 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at the Follow New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand back in time and join a Nantucket family as they experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of a 1960s summer. Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century! It's 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother's historic home in downtown Nantucket: but this year Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, a nursing student, is caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests, a passion which takes her to Martha's Vineyard with her best friend, Mary Jo Kopechne. Only son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother who is hiding some secrets of her own. As the summer heats up, Teddy Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, a man flies to the moon, and Jessie experiences some sinking and flying herself, as she grows into her own body and mind. In her first "historical novel," rich with the details of an era that shaped both a country and an island thirty miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again proves her title as queen of the summer novel.


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Follow New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand back in time and join a Nantucket family as they experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of a 1960s summer. Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century! It's 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at the Follow New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand back in time and join a Nantucket family as they experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of a 1960s summer. Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century! It's 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother's historic home in downtown Nantucket: but this year Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, a nursing student, is caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests, a passion which takes her to Martha's Vineyard with her best friend, Mary Jo Kopechne. Only son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother who is hiding some secrets of her own. As the summer heats up, Teddy Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, a man flies to the moon, and Jessie experiences some sinking and flying herself, as she grows into her own body and mind. In her first "historical novel," rich with the details of an era that shaped both a country and an island thirty miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again proves her title as queen of the summer novel.

30 review for Summer of '69

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    “People are people.” More than anything else, it’s the people Elin Hilderbrand brings to life among her pages that have me chomping at the bit for her annual (June and now October!) releases. And while many authors contribute to this genre space, for me it is Hilderbrand’s smart and often relatable approach to the “beach read” that has become synonymous with summer. Her work eliciting an eager reader ready to jump on a ferry to Nantucket for a dose of scenery, local eats, and unparalleled people. “People are people.” More than anything else, it’s the people Elin Hilderbrand brings to life among her pages that have me chomping at the bit for her annual (June and now October!) releases. And while many authors contribute to this genre space, for me it is Hilderbrand’s smart and often relatable approach to the “beach read” that has become synonymous with summer. Her work eliciting an eager reader ready to jump on a ferry to Nantucket for a dose of scenery, local eats, and unparalleled people. People who bare their hearts and truths as if we’ve always been the closest of friends. As if we’re all local Nantucketers. Last year, Hilderbrand pulled off quite the feat with the delivery of her first suspense novel, The Perfect Couple. A book that not only proved to be one of her strongest yet, but earned a coveted spot among my very favorites. And this year, continuing that trend of branching out, Hilderbrand takes a stab at historical fiction, transporting readers to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard during the pivotal summer of 1969. A time that’s near and dear to the author's family—the very summer she and her twin brother said hello to the world—providing the inspiration. Summer of '69 brings readers into the lives of the Levin/Foley family for what is poised to be a defining time. Not only for the family but for the nation as a whole. The story opens with a jarring prologue, which sets the tone for the summer months ahead. Tiger, the only Levin son, has been called to war and deployed to the front lines of Vietnam. Tiger in an infantry uniform, Blair—the oldest sister—in Brookline expecting her first child and Kirby—the middle sister—determined to experience life on Martha’s Vineyard, means thirteen-year-old Jessie—the youngest sister—is on her own. Left to spend the summer with her distracted mother, Kate, and overbearing grandmother, Exalta, in the family’s Nantucket summer home, All’s Fair. Just about everyone is on the precipice of change as told through alternating chapters. Kate and each of her three daughters take turns examining their views on life, exposing their deepest secrets to the light of day and plucking the strings of the complicated dynamics of the relationships at their fingertips. The culmination of their stories and life lessons hit home with the notion, “people are people". This intriguing piece of fiction, set amongst actual events—the Vietnam War, Nixon’s tumultuous tenure, Apollo 11, and the Chappaquiddick incident—surprisingly enough, offered this 80’s born woman a bit of a history lesson. And while I wouldn’t say this reads as tried and true historical fiction, it still has a very contemporary feel, Hilderbrand is successful in turning back the hands of time while remaining true to her brand. New and longtime fans are sure to enjoy this summer escape to Nantucket. *Thanks to Mitchell’s Book Corner and Elin Hilderbrand for making it possible for me to add a personalized copy to my collection. ♥

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    4 full, family drama, sisterhood, entertaining, amazing journey to the end of sixties while listening Man on the moon and singing “those were the best days of my life” as like Bryan Adams sang stars! You don’t have to be Marty McFly by driving a special car is invented by your Dr. Brown for time travelling. Elin Hilderbrand already takes us back to the end of sixties, a remarkable, memorable time for American and also human history: 1969 This is the time of Beatles’ Abbey Road album releasing, Time 4 full, family drama, sisterhood, entertaining, amazing journey to the end of sixties while listening Man on the moon and singing “those were the best days of my life” as like Bryan Adams sang stars! You don’t have to be Marty McFly by driving a special car is invented by your Dr. Brown for time travelling. Elin Hilderbrand already takes us back to the end of sixties, a remarkable, memorable time for American and also human history: 1969 This is the time of Beatles’ Abbey Road album releasing, Time of the most memorable Woodstock performances with the attendance of more than 35 singers including Janis Joplin, The Who, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Joe Cocker, and Jimi Hendrix. ( Yes more than 350 thousand rock n roll fans had their time of my their lives) Time of Chappaquiddick Affair , yes Senator Kennedy drove into ta pound and Mary Joe Kopechne is dead! Time of MOON LANDING! Yesss! Because of Mr. Chazelle, I can only imagine Gosling’s one small step, one giant leap for mankind! (If you believed they put a man on the moon lyrics capture your mind! Thanks to R.E.M. and Andy Kauffman ) Time of ponchos, moccasins, love beads, peace signs, medallion necklaces, chain belts, polka dot-printed fabrics, and long, puffed "bubble" sleeves ! Time of watching “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid”, “Midnight Cowboy”, “Easy Rider” on big screen ! Time of student protests, rising inflation, Stonewall Riot and draft lottery to determine drafts into US forces of Vietnam War! So the author cannot choose any better time frame for telling her dysfunctional family story. As you lie down on our blanket at the seaside ( Because this is a great summer reading when you’re feeling the sea breeze on your skin, watching the kids play on the sand, surfers struggle against the powerful waves) and start turning the pages, you can actually hear some favorite Crosby, Stills and Nash, Rolling Stones. Steppenwolf songs keep playing on your head. This book gives these vibes and incredible feelings. A conservative, compelling, dominant grandma who carries her own secret relationship, 48 years old mother of 4 children, Kate, suffering from past regrets, burden of a big secret and alcoholism, Older child of the family, Blair, married with an astronaut ( that’s her definition, her husband Angus is not an astronaut and his name a little irritated me), expecting twins, resigned from her teaching job, thinking her husband cheating on her with a prostitute named Trixy ( okay, I think these names are a little awkward!) For backfiring him she kisses her brother in law and her husband catches them on the action! Middle sister Kirby, a nursing student, feminist, civil rights protestor, having an interracial relationship but her lover’s mother doesn’t approve her because she knows her secret that she hides from everyone at the family. Tiger, is the only boy and favorite of Kate, follows the footsteps of his soldier father and fights at Nam, only connects with his little sister Jessie by letters and tells the ugly truths about war! And little Jessie, Kate’s youngest daughter from another man, struggling with her puberty problems and her first heartbreak. She is the secret glue of their family. She knows everyone’s secret and she’s a perfect listener and so mature for her age! I rooted for her maybe the resemblance of being the youngest at the family, having a better and more objective point of view about everyone’s problems and her close relationship with her brother as his confidante made me love her more! I love perfectly combined and developed characters’ stories and I enjoyed the spirit, sensation and smartly depicted parts of the era. It can be told a little shorter but still all the historical events matched impeccably with the family history. I think this is the best book of this author that I’ve ever read!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill

    Wow I just really loved this book, I certainly didn't want it to end. I rarely say that about a book as I am usually ready for it to wrap up, but not this one. I found myself completely immersed in their story and it felt so real. This is my first book I have read by Elin Hilderbrand and I was blown away. I love her style of writing and I truly felt like I wasn't reading, I got swept up and lost in the world of a summer in Nantucket. It probably does help that I love the whole idea of what it wou Wow I just really loved this book, I certainly didn't want it to end. I rarely say that about a book as I am usually ready for it to wrap up, but not this one. I found myself completely immersed in their story and it felt so real. This is my first book I have read by Elin Hilderbrand and I was blown away. I love her style of writing and I truly felt like I wasn't reading, I got swept up and lost in the world of a summer in Nantucket. It probably does help that I love the whole idea of what it would be like to live there and I claim if I could live anywhere that is where it would be. I also think 1969 would have been a fantastic time to be alive. The Levin family is a family that has been blessed to have a summer home in Nantucket and it is a family tradition to "summer" there and this summer is no different. Except everything is different this year. The summer of 1969 brings upon a huge amount of change in their personal life and the lives of everyone around them. There is the landing on the moon, Vietnam, Woodstock, Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick. The Levin/Nichols family is dealing with Kate's first grandchild being born, her son getting drafted, her daughter taking off to find herself and yet her youngest dealing with all the things that come with turning 13. This book was so enjoyable to read and I was literally swept up into their lives. I was so invested in each character. The author has created such relatable, well developed characters, I felt I was part of their lives. It was enjoyable to be swept into another era where there were no cellphones- you were lucky to have a phone in your home and a television. It was bizarre to hear of expectant mothers drinking and smoking to help them relax. Oh my you have come a long way baby! Only people of a certain age will get that reference! I was born in the 1970's so I can vaguely remember some of this. All the fine details really caught my attention- like the mention of Dr. Scholl's shoes, my how I loved clomping along in my mother's Dr. Scholls. I am sure this book will trigger fond memories for many people. Hands down a fabulous 5 stars for this book! Now I am going to just continue on my way while humming Summer of 69...as you all probably will find yourself doing too!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Norma * Traveling Sister

    Evocative, entrancing, & absorbing! I have been meaning to read one of ELIN HILDERBRAND books for quite a while now and I am so glad that I finally followed through and read my very first book by her. This is some fine storytelling here. I totally loved the dynamics between the characters, was full-heartedly entranced by the setting, enraptured by the premise, and had a deep fondness for the whole story in general. SUMMER OF ‘69 by ELIN HILDERBRAND is a nostalgic, fun, touching, moving, and b Evocative, entrancing, & absorbing! I have been meaning to read one of ELIN HILDERBRAND books for quite a while now and I am so glad that I finally followed through and read my very first book by her. This is some fine storytelling here. I totally loved the dynamics between the characters, was full-heartedly entranced by the setting, enraptured by the premise, and had a deep fondness for the whole story in general. SUMMER OF ‘69 by ELIN HILDERBRAND is a nostalgic, fun, touching, moving, and breezy domestic tale that totally enchanted me. I was immediately hooked and fully absorbed within this storyline. Being born in 1966, I absolutely loved being transported back to a place in time and era that totally came alive for me. It was extremely easy to visualize and experience place and time perfectly through the words expressed here. Loved that! ELIN HILDERBRAND delivers an intriguing, vivid, atmospheric, beautifully written and retrospective tale here that has woven together some historical moments perfectly into an easy-breezy summer read with heart. I really loved the tone and flow of this novel. It was like sitting down with a good friend on a relaxing summery day while they relayed to me their story. Norma’s Stats: Cover: A feel-good, happy, summery, and lively cover that depicts this time period and storyline perfectly. Title: Intriguing, appealing, emotive, relevant, and a simply beautiful representation to storyline. Writing/Prose: Compulsively readable, expressive, prolific, engaging, and dramatic. Plot: Dynamic, steadily-paced, fun, captivating, nostalgic, heartfelt, relevant, and entertaining. Ending: A beautiful and heartfelt ending that left me feeling totally satiated. Overall: I thought this was the perfect summer read and absolutely loved reading the authors note in the end where I found out where the inspiration behind the story came from. That just brought in an extra feeling of respect, meaning and warmth for the novel for me. Would highly recommend! This review along with Brenda's can also be found on our blog: https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com/2...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    To say I’ve been ecstatic to read Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical fiction book is an understatement. Last summer, she wrote her first murder mystery, and this summer she brings us Summer of ‘69. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Expect the stories the Nantucket stories we’ve known and loved from our beloved EH, but this time, with a historic backdrop. The Levin family spends its summers on Nantucket, and everyone looks forward to it. They stay at their grandmother’s stately, historic home. But this year, things ar To say I’ve been ecstatic to read Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical fiction book is an understatement. Last summer, she wrote her first murder mystery, and this summer she brings us Summer of ‘69. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Expect the stories the Nantucket stories we’ve known and loved from our beloved EH, but this time, with a historic backdrop. The Levin family spends its summers on Nantucket, and everyone looks forward to it. They stay at their grandmother’s stately, historic home. But this year, things are different for the Levins. Blair is pregnant and unable to travel. Kirby is devoted to civil rights protests. Tiger has been deployed to Vietnam. Jessie, the youngest at thirteen years old, is staying with her grandmother who is behind-the-times, but carrying secrets. The summer is filled with those historic events we’ve all heard about: the lunar landing, Chappaquiddick, and all the while, Jessie is growing up, too. Yeah, I gobbled this up! What a summer story with plenty of depth and insight, as I would expect from Hilderbrand. This particular summer was rife with events and drama in the world, and so it was for the Levins, too. I was both engrossed and enchanted with this story. I can only imagine what EH will dream up for us next summer?! And in the interim, I have her new winter series to keep me company late this fall! Always and forever a fan! I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brenda -Traveling Sister host of The Traveling Friends

    Summer of ‘69 is my first book I read by Elin Hilderbrand and I have to say it was the perfect one to start with. It’s already coming up to the end of summer and we haven’t had any summer weather and I really enjoyed being swept away to the sun in Nantucket. The cover alone took me to my happy summer place. Elin Hilderbrand weaves a historical fiction, family drama with a beach read that was the perfect summer read for me. She vividly creates the iconic American summer of ‘69 while capturing eac Summer of ‘69 is my first book I read by Elin Hilderbrand and I have to say it was the perfect one to start with. It’s already coming up to the end of summer and we haven’t had any summer weather and I really enjoyed being swept away to the sun in Nantucket. The cover alone took me to my happy summer place. Elin Hilderbrand weaves a historical fiction, family drama with a beach read that was the perfect summer read for me. She vividly creates the iconic American summer of ‘69 while capturing each of the characters’ own conflicts that represents a theme of that era. The writing flows so quietly as Hilderbrand explores a lot of themes here. I was immediately drawn into the family dynamics here with their misunderstanding, secrets, headache and worry. Their relationships are complicated however the dynamics between them is easy and light while still capturing their emotional depth and growth. I enjoyed every minute of this story and it all came together so well. I highly recommend! I look forward to diving into one of the many other books by Elin Hilderbrand I own!

  7. 5 out of 5

    NZLisaM

    Fun in the sun in the summer of '69. (Let's see how many times I mention summer during this review). This was the embodiment of the feel-good summer read, without being sappy or melodramatic. I've been waiting all year for its release and it was everything I imagined, and more. The story centres on one family – the blended Foley/Levin clan. Every June they leave the stifling city heat of Boston for three months, to vacation at their grandmother's summer house on Nantucket – and this summer of ’69 i Fun in the sun in the summer of '69. (Let's see how many times I mention summer during this review). This was the embodiment of the feel-good summer read, without being sappy or melodramatic. I've been waiting all year for its release and it was everything I imagined, and more. The story centres on one family – the blended Foley/Levin clan. Every June they leave the stifling city heat of Boston for three months, to vacation at their grandmother's summer house on Nantucket – and this summer of ’69 is no exception. Kate – Mother to four – three from her first marriage, and a daughter with her current husband, David. Her only son, Tiger, was recently drafted to Vietnam, and Kate spends her summer on Nantucket struggling to cope, anxiously waiting to hear from him, desperately hoping he'll come home safe. Blair (24) – Kate's eldest daughter. Married to a workaholic, and heavily pregnant with her first child, she's stuck in Boston for the summer, bored to tears. Kirby (20) – Kate's middle daughter. Informs her family she will be spending her summer break from college working on Martha's Vineyard. Jessie (13) – Kate's youngest daughter. She's dreading spending her entire summer with just her mother and grandmother, Exalta, for company. Shares a close bond with Tiger, and writes diary-like letters to him. Soak in the sun with this vivid, captivating, engrossing novel, incorporating both a seasonal and historical feel. Or, same as I did last year with The Perfect Couple, burrow under the duvet with your electric blanket on high. Prominent themes are belonging and acceptance, finding your place in the world, family secrets, first love and coming-of-age. Deals with some serious issues and topics, some pertinent to the 1960’s, others just as relevant today. There's a huge focus on familial relationships, particularly mothers and daughters, but also grandmother and grandchildren, sisters, marriages, new motherhood, and mother and son. Elin Hilderbrand’s beautiful and intricate descriptions of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard made me feel like I was actually there experiencing it all along with the characters – the houses, beaches, restaurants, food, country club, etc, all sounded wonderful. The lifestyle, pop culture, references, clothing, dialogue, and opinions came across as authentic to the time period, and I like that the author thought to include real events. Song titles as chapter headings really set the mood, and the handy spotify list that Elin Hilderbrand created allowed me listen while reading, making it feel even more like 1969. The perfect book to unwind and relax on the beach with.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Yun

    There’s a lot going on in Summer of '69. The three sisters in the Foley/Levin family are each embroiled in their own worries. The eldest sister is pregnant while her husband is emotionally unavailable and potentially unfaithful, the middle sister is striking out on her own but running into trouble, and the youngest is stuck in Nantucket with her unyieldingly conservative grandmother and her increasingly tipsy mother. Their brother is overseas fighting the war in Vietnam, and their mother is incr There’s a lot going on in Summer of '69. The three sisters in the Foley/Levin family are each embroiled in their own worries. The eldest sister is pregnant while her husband is emotionally unavailable and potentially unfaithful, the middle sister is striking out on her own but running into trouble, and the youngest is stuck in Nantucket with her unyieldingly conservative grandmother and her increasingly tipsy mother. Their brother is overseas fighting the war in Vietnam, and their mother is increasingly distraught over this, driving herself to oblivion with alcohol to ease the pain. But all these issues are treated rather superficially in the book. They feel somewhat contrived (and a tad boring, if I’m honest), and their resolutions are all standard stuff. One of the hooks for this book is that people are keeping secrets, but I didn’t feel any surprise or shock when those are revealed. They all feel rather pedestrian. For a book about females during the feminist revolution, I had hoped that there would be strong female characters for me to cheer for, but that was disappointing too. All the women in here mostly just took what life and men handed to them. Sure, that probably is true to the times of the 1960s, but it didn’t make for a very compelling read (at least to me). One of Elin Hilderbrand’s strength is her writing, and in that respect, she remains in top form. This story is easy to get into and I found myself flipping the pages even though the story itself wasn’t as riveting. I went into Summer of ‘69 thinking it would be the perfect beachy blend of family drama and secrets, summertime in Nantucket, and growing up during the awakening of the feminist movement. But coming out of the book, I feel only lukewarm about it. While it wasn’t a bad story, it just wasn’t as exciting or as insightful as I wanted it to be.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie (Stephanie's Novel Fiction~on hiatus))

    It's not officially summer for me until I've read an Elin Hilderbrand book by the pool or sitting on the beach so luckily for me, I was able to read this one Memorial Day weekend, poolside, with a fruity beverage in hand. Hilderbrand's first historical novel was everything that I've come to expect from the queen of the summer novel and more.  In classic Hilderbrand style, Summer of '69 revolves around the lives of several members of the Foley-Levin family and of course, Nantucket is the main sett It's not officially summer for me until I've read an Elin Hilderbrand book by the pool or sitting on the beach so luckily for me, I was able to read this one Memorial Day weekend, poolside, with a fruity beverage in hand. Hilderbrand's first historical novel was everything that I've come to expect from the queen of the summer novel and more.  In classic Hilderbrand style, Summer of '69 revolves around the lives of several members of the Foley-Levin family and of course, Nantucket is the main setting although Martha's Vineyard gets some love in this book too. This is a summer of dramatic changes for the family as Tiger, 19, has just been drafted for Vietnam. His mother Kate is obviously overcome with worry and grief. Kate's daughters, Blair, 24, Kirby, 20, and Jesse, who just turned 13 (and is the daughter of her second husband David) also face their own considerable life changes this summer as each of their stories intertwine in some way. It's through these sister's voices, Kate's, and letters exchanged by Tiger and Jesse this story is told. Every character is so real, wholly persuasive, and each of their issues becomes ones I cared about no matter how big or small.  Blair is pregnant with twins and miserable as she smokes cigarettes and drinks to get rid of morning sickness (really how are any of us '70s babies alive?). Her husband Angus is a brilliant astrophysicist working  24/7 on the Apollo 11 moon landing, leaving her lonely and alone.  Kirby, the family rebel known for her political protesting, forgoes the summer stay on Nantucket for a job at a hotel on Martha's Vineyard where she meets the rich and famous, people like Teddy Kennedy, who crashes his car off Chappaquiddick Island that fateful summer. Then her romantic troubles keep causing her difficulties.  Jesse is closest to Tiger and besides wanting to grow up faster, she most looks forward to his letters from Vietnam. He's the one she shares her secrets with as she finds first love over the summer. Yet, she's not completely happy, thanks to Exalta, her tough as nails grandmother who casts a judgemental gaze on everything and everyone.   Kate is the voice I most identified with: the mother, the one worried her son wouldn't come back from war while also worried about her other kids. She's a compelling character who showed the realism of being a mom―strength and weakness but always love for her children. Hilderbrand has woven together the historical moments from that summer using her trademark style that has never let me down as a reader (make sure you read the author's notes about the inspiration for the story!), and it's just a perfect read.  Summer of '69 is nostalgic, poignant, retrospective, and packed with details that made the novel feel vivid and alive for me, a time I've heard, watched movies, and read about but was almost a decade before I was born! I laughed and oh, did I cry while reading this. It's out on 6/18th and if you haven't already pre-ordered it, then you need to. It's the definitive summer of 2019 read! **Thank you Little, Brown, and Company for the gifted copy. All opinions are my own.**

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maxwell

    I can't stand books that don't respect the reader. If you have to explicitly state things or hint so strongly at something you're going to end up telling me about in five pages, why bother? Every twist and turn in this novel is so predictable. (view spoiler)[Angus's "affair" with Trixie (TRIXIE?!?) turning out to be his psychiatrist? Gasp! Pick's biological father being Kate's first, now dead, husband? Go figure! The alleged gun accident actually being a suicide? No way! (hide spoiler)] On top of th I can't stand books that don't respect the reader. If you have to explicitly state things or hint so strongly at something you're going to end up telling me about in five pages, why bother? Every twist and turn in this novel is so predictable. (view spoiler)[Angus's "affair" with Trixie (TRIXIE?!?) turning out to be his psychiatrist? Gasp! Pick's biological father being Kate's first, now dead, husband? Go figure! The alleged gun accident actually being a suicide? No way! (hide spoiler)] On top of that, character's feelings are completely contradicted by their actions, or vice versa, because Hilderbrand never shows us anything. She decides to tell us everything, and it's written in the 3rd person present tense which really doesn't work for a historical novel (and I use the term 'historical' loosely because this book has a lot of revisionist history). We see things through the eyes of each character but are told, not shown, how others act through the other characters' POVs. So when we get to one of the other character's POVs and they shockingly (lol) think differently than we were led to believe, it holds no weight because we are going off of the flimsy account of someone who clearly doesn't know them well. Additionally, a lot of these characters are pretty horrible people, or make pretty horrible choices that they never adequately address or face consequences for. They also use other characters' pain to learn lessons and grow as human beings while not facing any of the pain themselves! Or if they do face temporary pain, it all pretty much works out in the end and they are left with no lasting damage. Cause life sure is peachy when you're a white, upperclass family on Nantucket! I didn't realize when I picked this up that it would be so schmaltzy. I was expecting something more along the lines of Anne Tyler where not only is the writing good—I don't even have time to get into the sentence-level writing of this novel—but the characters would also be multi-faceted and be the lens through which we examine history, specifically the summer of '69! But no, it's essentially a soap opera with lots of cultural references that do nothing but act as limp set pieces for an even limper plot.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ Maybe, just maybe, this summer will end up being one that people write songs about. ^^^^That’s what comes to mind for 99.9999% of you, right? It may have taken 370 pages, but at least the pink elephant in the room was finally addressed ; ) Elin Hilderbrand don’t need homegirl’s help selling her books so why don’t we just get to the giffing???? The story here is exactly what the title says – about the summer of 1969. The cover is a bit Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ Maybe, just maybe, this summer will end up being one that people write songs about. ^^^^That’s what comes to mind for 99.9999% of you, right? It may have taken 370 pages, but at least the pink elephant in the room was finally addressed ; ) Elin Hilderbrand don’t need homegirl’s help selling her books so why don’t we just get to the giffing???? The story here is exactly what the title says – about the summer of 1969. The cover is a bit misleading, however, because the focus isn’t on . . . . But rather on various family members as they make their annual pilgrimage to Nantucket for the summer. We congregate at matriarch Exalta’s home. Oh Exalta. She’s just so awful that you know she’ll end up with an epic redemption arc and you’re going to fall in love with her before it’s all over . . . . Then we have the Levines. There’s momma Kate, who spends most of her time . . . . (Can I just take a second to say this is my favorite gif of all time. She’s my spirit animal.) Ever since only son Tiger had to go do this . . . . Oldest daughter Blair is having a bit of a rough summer . . . . . While her husband is getting ready to fake the for the moon landing down in Texas with these guys . . . . . Middle daughter Kirby has opted to spend her break down the way at the Vineyard in order to spread her wings a bit away from the family and perhaps practice what she preaches when it comes to equal rights . . . . And then there’s the youngest, Jessica. Her 13th summer will be one she doesn’t forget . . . . There’s even a cameo by Teddy Kennedy. Y’all remember what he did that summer, right???? This was another poolside read. I actually went home burned after realizing there was not enough sunblock in the universe to save my pasty ass, but there was zero chance I was going to let real life interrupt my time in 1969. And to think I was actually annoyed when I heard about the release of this book too because I was wanting a sequel (who am I, even????) for Winter In Paradise. I was about to get all angrified that Summer of ‘69 was coming out instead. But I sucked it up, put away Shelby’s Trademarked Butthurt Form and went ahead and got on the library wait list. I haven’t had a summer this chicky in as long as I can remember. First with these books and then . . . . As Martha Stewart would say . . . . Wait, that’s Martha 2.0. I’m talking about original Martha . . . . My apologies to anyone without an unlimited data plan. Good thing the month is almost over, right????

  12. 4 out of 5

    Renee (itsbooktalk)

    Well I’m an outlier again with this review. I've found that Elin Hilderbrand is a hit or miss author for me over the years. I've loved a few of her books...Barefoot, The Rumor, The Blue Bistro, and A Summer Affair but not loved many others as well. This one, unfortunately, falls into the latter category. ⠀⠀ The set up was enticing to start off. We hear about Tiger, favorite son of Kate and brother of Jessie (youngest), Kirby (middle) and Blair (oldest) who's been drafted to Vietnam. Kate is devas Well I’m an outlier again with this review. I've found that Elin Hilderbrand is a hit or miss author for me over the years. I've loved a few of her books...Barefoot, The Rumor, The Blue Bistro, and A Summer Affair but not loved many others as well. This one, unfortunately, falls into the latter category. ⠀⠀ The set up was enticing to start off. We hear about Tiger, favorite son of Kate and brother of Jessie (youngest), Kirby (middle) and Blair (oldest) who's been drafted to Vietnam. Kate is devastated and consequently spends most of the book drinking her worries away and being a negligent mother. I didn't like her in the beginning and I still didn't like her in the end. Kirby and Blair are each dealing with their own life challenges, so we get alternating chapters from their perspectives as well. ⠀⠀ While we do get occasional setting details, I was surprised by the lack of beach/scenery/summertime details that we really come to expect from EH's stories. There's quite a lot of food and meal details which I know many love but I skimmed these parts. I found the chapters to be long but when I looked back, the long chapters didn't really help me get to know any of the characters beyond what I felt was surface level. If I had to pick, I'd say I felt like we got the most in depth look into Jessie's character but I felt like there could've been more. I would've liked to have felt more invested in this family but I just didn't. I stuck with it for Kirby and Jessie but in the end, this was an underwhelming read for me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    3.5 stars Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review. Elin Hilderbrand states that her twin brother has always encouraged her to explore the summer they were born in one of her novels. Summer of 69 is that novel and sweeps readers back to Nixon, Vietnam, Senator Ted Kennedy and the Chappaquiddick scandal, women's issues, Woodstock, racial equality, class differences, the Moon landing and summertime in Nantucket. The Foley/Levin famil 3.5 stars Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review. Elin Hilderbrand states that her twin brother has always encouraged her to explore the summer they were born in one of her novels. Summer of 69 is that novel and sweeps readers back to Nixon, Vietnam, Senator Ted Kennedy and the Chappaquiddick scandal, women's issues, Woodstock, racial equality, class differences, the Moon landing and summertime in Nantucket. The Foley/Levin family knows that this summer will be a different one. The recent deployment of only son, Tiger to Vietnam sees their mother, Kate, distant and losing herself to the bottle. Stepfather, David stays in the city and consumes himself with legal work. Oldest daughter Blair confronts the fact that marriage is not exactly what she dreamed. Wild child Kirby wants to prove her adulthood by heading to Martha's Vineyard instead of spending summer with the family. Youngest daughter Jessie is on the brink of adolescence and experiences her first twinges of young love. And finally, matriarch Exalta is trying what she can to keep all of her family together while also keeping secrets of her own. Just like their country, the summer of 69 is one that this family will never forget. What I thought: I thought this book was definitely good. It took me awhile before I really felt in the mood to read but eventually I hit my stride. There's a good mix of nostalgia and history that made it easy to transport myself to the Summer of 69. Of course, having "visited " Nantucket so many times with EH in her contemporary novels it certainly made it an easy fit. Despite the different time period, family and all the issues that arise are always brilliantly handled by Hilderbrand. For me, Summer of 69 was all about the fictional characters that take turns in telling the story. The character of Jessie made me think about Reese Witherspoon's Dani Trant( The Man in the Moon 1991) or Anna Chlumsky's Vada Sultenfuss( My Girl ,1991) and she was quite possibly my favorite character despite having "met" her character before. Kirby and Blair were both women of their generation, but in saying that I felt there was nothing new to explore as it's already been stated in so many ways by authors and screenwriters. Mother Kate had my empathy but also my frustration which makes me tip my hat to EH. But Grandmother Exalta(who is not a narrator but has a larger than life personality )was such a riddle that I found her the most fascinating. Her relationships with Jessie and Kirby were the highlights of the novel for me. Also the prologue and "Fortunate Son" (Reprise) were the two places in the book where I ugly cried. Also how cool were the chapter titles(Both Sides Now, Born to Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride, Piece of My Heart etc) ? Although I cannot emphatically say that this was one of my favorites, it's a great summer read. Goodreads Review 26/06/19 Publication Date. 18/06/19

  14. 4 out of 5

    Meredith B. (readingwithmere)

    4 stars! And maybe, just maybe, this summer will end up being one that people write songs about. Is it really summer if you don't read an Elin Hilderbrand book? I truly look forward to her books every single summer and this one did not disappoint! It's 1969 and the Levin family is ready to go to Nantucket where they go every summer. Before that though, their worst nightmare happened - their son, Tiger, was drafted and sent to the Vietnam war and there's nothing they can do to stop it. The three s 4 stars! And maybe, just maybe, this summer will end up being one that people write songs about. Is it really summer if you don't read an Elin Hilderbrand book? I truly look forward to her books every single summer and this one did not disappoint! It's 1969 and the Levin family is ready to go to Nantucket where they go every summer. Before that though, their worst nightmare happened - their son, Tiger, was drafted and sent to the Vietnam war and there's nothing they can do to stop it. The three siblings back in Nantucket are on their own. Blair is pregnant, Kirby is trying to make the world a better place and work through civil right struggles and Jessie is a thirteen year old just trying to figure out where her place is in the world. The story dives into each of the siblings stories as well as their struggling mother and their grandmother who has secrets of her own! Each of the Levin family members is trying to get through life their own way. Each person goes through their own personal struggle as well as the struggles that men and women both went through during the 1969 time period. One thing is for sure even when this family is apart, they always come together. I'm not typically a fan of historical fiction but I really enjoyed this book. You look at the cover and you think this is going to be a light beach read, right? Wrong. This story has so much depth and so much content. Let me just say I am SO happy I was not a woman in 1969 as they were not treated that well however I am thankful for the struggles they went through in order to get women to where we are today. And to all your war heroes (including some of my own family members) hats of to you. From what I know the Vietnam war was a tough one and to anyone who fights to defend mine and the USA's freedom is a true hero as well as their families. Definitely pick this one up if the 60's/70's interest you and you want to read about all the different struggles a seemingly normal family went through behind the scenes. Plus, Elin Hilderbrand is just a great writer!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Literary Soirée

    INTOXICATING! “Summer does something to the brain. It’s intoxicating. Everything shimmers." So says a character in Summer People, a previous novel by Hilderbrand, which captures the essence of her entire oeuvre. ENGAGING BACKSTORY I’ve devoured every book she’s written, so taken with her addictive stories set on Nantucket. Her own backstory is engaging, including how she came to the island, her education at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, her world travels, her survival of breast cancer and a post-sur INTOXICATING! “Summer does something to the brain. It’s intoxicating. Everything shimmers." So says a character in Summer People, a previous novel by Hilderbrand, which captures the essence of her entire oeuvre. ENGAGING BACKSTORY I’ve devoured every book she’s written, so taken with her addictive stories set on Nantucket. Her own backstory is engaging, including how she came to the island, her education at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, her world travels, her survival of breast cancer and a post-surgical infection that nearly killed her. Her joie de vivre informs both her writing and her life and is as intoxicating as the summers she describes in her novels. KENNEDY, MOON, WOODSTOCK SUMMER OF ‘69 is her newest and her first historical novel. It’s a compelling slice of Americana, with the war in ‘Nam in full force. Senator Ted Kennedy’s fateful accident July 18, in which he drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick killing passenger Mary Jo Kopechne. Two days later the first moon landing. Woodstock making musical history the following month. TIGER IN ‘NAM All are enfolded into the absorbing plot, which focuses on four siblings in a wealthy Massachusetts family including Tiger, their only son drafted and sent off to fight in ‘Nam. SMELL THE GANJA I heard the author’s energetic CBS interview this week in which she explained that she and her twin brother were born that July, so the book is especially personal. It’s evident in the way Hilderbrand masterfully weaves together narrative, characters and dialogue. I care about these kids, smell the ganja in the air, hear “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” on the radio, feel the terror the family feels every time there’s a knock on the door that might mean they’ve lost Tiger. A captivating read! 5/5 Pub Date 18 Jun 2019. Available on Amazon. #Summerof’69 #ElinHilderbrand

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand is a historical fiction novel that follows the Levin family during the summer of 1969. Of course with the book focusing on the various family members in this family the point of view does change between them. For years the Levin family has spent summers in Nantucket visiting their grandmother’s historic home. This year however the family is being pulled apart in their own directions. Tiger, the only son, has been drafted into the military and will be sent to the Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand is a historical fiction novel that follows the Levin family during the summer of 1969. Of course with the book focusing on the various family members in this family the point of view does change between them. For years the Levin family has spent summers in Nantucket visiting their grandmother’s historic home. This year however the family is being pulled apart in their own directions. Tiger, the only son, has been drafted into the military and will be sent to the war in Vietnam and this has affected each of the rest in various ways. Blair, the oldest Levin has gotten married to a man who works with NASA and is spending her summer home alone as he works on putting a man on the moon. Kirby is the middle daughter who is a young free spirit known to protest the latest cause. Instead of heading to Nantucket Kirby has found a summer job in Martha’s Vineyard. And Jessie, the youngest and a half sibling to the older children, is turning thirteen and not looking forward to a summer alone with her mother and grandmother. Looking back at the history books 1969 was really a very busy year and somewhat a turning point on a lot of issues. Elin Hilderbrand did a wonderful job centering this fictional family right in the middle of so many events that it brought the era to life wonderfully. It was also nice to see the differences in personalities and how they handled what was going on at any given time. Definitely a great read I am rating at 4 1/2 stars. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/

  17. 4 out of 5

    Book of the Month

    Why I love it Siobhan Jones We pick the books a few months in advance here at BOTM, so all the reading for June occurs sometime in mid-March. Maybe that was why I warmed to Summer of ‘69 so readily—this beachy, feel-good story with ample family drama and purple haze-era feels had me practically smelling the sunscreen. Then again, maybe I just liked this book so much because it was another satisfying winner from an author who always delivers the goods. Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical novel plops Why I love it Siobhan Jones We pick the books a few months in advance here at BOTM, so all the reading for June occurs sometime in mid-March. Maybe that was why I warmed to Summer of ‘69 so readily—this beachy, feel-good story with ample family drama and purple haze-era feels had me practically smelling the sunscreen. Then again, maybe I just liked this book so much because it was another satisfying winner from an author who always delivers the goods. Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical novel plops us right into the flower power milieu of the ‘60s with a Vietnam draft notice. From then on, as we are introduced to the different members of the Levin family—the smart and stubborn Blair; the irascible Kirby; only-son Tiger; and the youngest, the quietly observant Jessie—these cultural easter eggs abound. Civil rights protests animate the news cycle while the Space Race captures the country’s imagination. Yet even as our protagonists navigate this rapidly changing world, their own trials and tribulations—finding young love, questioning authority, and even investigating long-buried family secrets—remain at the forefront of this completely charming read set over the course of one summer in Nantucket. Anyone familiar with Hilderbrand’s books (BOTM has featured The Identicals and Winter in Paradise ) is aware of her effortless ability to craft nuanced, heartfelt stories set in cozy, aspirational places, and this new one is just that: a light read set in a beach town that you’ll devour in one poolside sitting. Readers looking for a breezy escape need look no further—make Summer of ‘69 your June pick! Read more at: https://bookofthemonth.com/summer-of-...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Monika Sadowski

    I wasn’t sure if I should give 3 or 4 stars. The book started good but then I got bored but then I wanted to know how it finished. I guess it’s just a light, summer reading :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    Summer reading at its best!! I enjoy reading her novels and this little historic charmer, her first, was absolutely amazing! ❤ Summer reading at its best!! I enjoy reading her novels and this little historic charmer, her first, was absolutely amazing! ❤️

  20. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    The year ‘Nineteen hundred sixty-nine,’ 1969, was a busy year for the United States of America; and as such, was no different for the combined families of Nichols, Foley, Levin and Whalen, all under the matriarchal umbrella of Exalta Nichols. Since Exalta was such a stickler for tradition the family prepares to pack up and move out to Nantucket for the summer, regardless that the 3rd Monday of June is Jessie’s 13th birthday, or that Kate is sick with worry about Tiger, her 19 year old son who wa The year ‘Nineteen hundred sixty-nine,’ 1969, was a busy year for the United States of America; and as such, was no different for the combined families of Nichols, Foley, Levin and Whalen, all under the matriarchal umbrella of Exalta Nichols. Since Exalta was such a stickler for tradition the family prepares to pack up and move out to Nantucket for the summer, regardless that the 3rd Monday of June is Jessie’s 13th birthday, or that Kate is sick with worry about Tiger, her 19 year old son who was drafted to fight in Vietnam just this past April, and Blair her 24 year old daughter is pregnant in Boston and virtually alone since her astrophysicist husband practically works 24/7 on the upcoming Apollo 11 moon mission. Then, don't even get Kate started on her 20-year-old daughter, Kirby who's decided to assert her independence and work at a hotel on Martha’s Vineyard this summer as a chambermaid! Sure, Martha’s Vineyard is technically 11 miles from Nantucket, as the crow flies, but for a human to get there it would take more than 24 hours. Lastly her husband David can only come out on weekends because he has a law office to run. When they finally arrive at Exalta's house on Fair St. named All's Fair (yes, houses in town are named) with the smaller annex called Little Fair, everything is bright and fresh thanks to Long time caretaker Bill Crimmins. He takes Exalta's hand as she exits the car and welcomes her home to Nantucket. Observant Jessie doesn't miss anything. As others unload the car, she runs through the house and out the side kitchen door, across the courtyard and up the stairs in Little Fair to where she'll be staying this year for the first time. This used to be the purvey of her three older siblings, but now it's her turn. As Jessie climbs the stairs, she hears whistling in the little kitchen. As she walks in, she sees a young teenage boy with blonde hair, tan, cute, and making a sandwich. “Whoa, who are you?” she says. “Oh hi, you must be Jessie, he says with calm assurance. My name is Pick and my grandfather Bill and I are staying here this summer; wanna sandwich?” This is Jessie's introduction to Bill Crimmins grandson and his daughter Lorraine's (now lavender) 16-year-old son. Lots more about her later. Jessie does know that Lorraine used to help her mother Kate baby sit her older siblings when they were very young before their biological father, Wilder Foley died. She also knows that Lorraine ran away to California when she was about 19 years old and never came back. Interesting. She'd be more upset about Pick and Mr. Crimmins living in Little Fair if Pick wasn't so cute. Jessie really wishes her older siblings we're here now. The summer takes on much drama as Jessie placates her grandmother Exalta by taking tennis lessons at her staunch conservative Country Club the Field and Oar. The Nichols family have been members since the 1920s, so tennis whites and tradition are de rigueur. Kate has grown up with her mother Exalta's strict social rules and although she may not agree with all of them, she knows how to work around Exalta so as not to upset nor embarrass her. She succeeds on small battles like convincing her mother they need a TV in All's Fair so Kate can watch Walter Cronkite's evening report and keep up on the Vietnam news. This both comforts and distresses Kate simultaneously which leads to her drinking more then she should. The last time she and David went to dinner she drank way too much and could barely walk out of the restaurant. So, when she took David to the ferry on Sunday, he was calm and polite but told her firmly she needs to cut back. She went home and cried about that and her son Tiger still in Vietnam. She's a mother, damn it! Meanwhile back in Boston, Blair continues to miss her husband who's constantly working. While she's barely able to move around the apartment since her belly and breast have grown so large. Angus is supposed to go with her to her next appointment with the obstetrician since it’s possible she's having twins. Kirby has gone off to Martha's Vineyard not telling her parents that she doesn't have the job at the Shiretown Inn in Edgartown. She just read the ad for the job and is going to apply when she gets there. Luckily, she does have a place to stay, thank goodness. When she does finally get to the Inn, she finds out all the chambermaid jobs are taken mostly by the Irish girls that came to Martha's Vineyard in May. Kirby tells the woman interviewing her that she wanted to come early but she was finishing her exams at Simmons College to complete her sophomore year. Fortunately, the word college and Kirby's demeanor impress Mrs. Bennie enough to offer her the front desk job, but the hours are 11:00 PM to 7 AM. Kirby doesn't hesitate, “I'll take it.” So, all parts of the combined family are off on one of the most historic years America has known, 1969. Just in that summer alone, man walks on the moon, the largest, outdoor, rock ‘n roll concert takes place: Woodstock; and a Senator from Massachusetts walks away from an accident on a small island called Chappaquiddick near Martha's Vineyard. The Vietnam War continues. For those of us who lived through these events, young or old, they'll never be forgotten. Events will change in the characters’ lives in small and large ways mostly for good for they are the fortunate ones. Tiger is still in Vietnam as the book closes. Thank you NetGalley, Little, Brown and Co., and Elin Hilderbrand Note: Please be sure to read the Author’s Notes and Acknowledgements. Elin mentions Ken Burns’ documentary on the Vietnam War; if you don’t have much knowledge about this war, as many Americans might not, I encourage you to watch it. It won’t be easy, but it’s our history. Thank you.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

    What is summer without a novel from Elin Hilderbrand and a trip to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard? The Summer of '69 fit snugly in my beach bag. '69 was a tumultuous time for our nation and it was a tumultuous time for the Levin/Foley family. A family of five, Kate the mother, three girls and one son. Told in alternating voices from each of the characters gives the reader a personal glimpse into each of their lives. I loved all the characters and they were very relatable. Hilderbrand hits all of What is summer without a novel from Elin Hilderbrand and a trip to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard? The Summer of '69 fit snugly in my beach bag. '69 was a tumultuous time for our nation and it was a tumultuous time for the Levin/Foley family. A family of five, Kate the mother, three girls and one son. Told in alternating voices from each of the characters gives the reader a personal glimpse into each of their lives. I loved all the characters and they were very relatable. Hilderbrand hits all of the historical markers of '69 to give a feeling of a place in time. It was of particular interest how close to real life this novel was to Hilderbrand's own life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    It just isn't summer without a new Elin Hilderbrand book! Summer of '69 was a wonderful departure from her normal contemporary/women's fiction genre. I loved that this story was set against the backdrop of so many important issues and events from that summer. I highly recommend!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Myrna

    Another wonderful story from Elin Hilderbrand! With interesting characters, a great storyline, and historical events, you feel as though you’ve been transported back to ‘69. This is a great book to read by the pool but it does have more serious issues of politics, race, family, and secrets. Elin has a great connection to the summer of ‘69 that inspired the book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    Relevant, vivid, and absorbing! Summer of ’69 is a nostalgic, domestic tale that takes us back to the idyllic island of Nantucket during a year when Vietnam was still raging, and Apollo 11 was finally going to put men on the moon, and into the lives of the blended Foley-Levin family as they navigate a summer of revelations, change, and new additions. The writing is expressive and polished. The characters are genuine, troubled, and sympathetic. And the spirited plot is a delightful mix of summer fu Relevant, vivid, and absorbing! Summer of ’69 is a nostalgic, domestic tale that takes us back to the idyllic island of Nantucket during a year when Vietnam was still raging, and Apollo 11 was finally going to put men on the moon, and into the lives of the blended Foley-Levin family as they navigate a summer of revelations, change, and new additions. The writing is expressive and polished. The characters are genuine, troubled, and sympathetic. And the spirited plot is a delightful mix of summer fun, heartbreak, coming-of-age, secrets, wartime worries, adultery, racial segregation, women’s rights, and fresh starts. Overall, Summer of ’69 is once again a beguiling, heartfelt, must-read summer tale by Hilderbrand that highlights the power of family and reminds us that even though we’ve come so far, in some respects we still have a long way to go. Thank you to Little, Brown and Company for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader

    I have not read a book by Hilderbrand that I did not fall in love with. This was a great summer read and the characters were so real. I loved the way everyone's situations turned out. I recommend this 4 star read and I want to thank my best friend for sharing it with me. Book Of The Month books are so worth it. They never have a bad book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laurene

    3.5 stars. A great beachy summer read. "People are people."

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    It’s officially summer now that I’ve read the new EH book! Seriously, it truly doesn’t feel like summertime for me until I get my hands on her latest book and I did consider waiting to read this until my actual summer vacation, but who am I kidding, I have no willpower when it comes to her books. I’m so glad I didn’t make myself wait either because this was exactly the right book to get me into a summer vacation state of mind. I was just a tiny bit apprehensive when I read the blurb of this and s It’s officially summer now that I’ve read the new EH book! Seriously, it truly doesn’t feel like summertime for me until I get my hands on her latest book and I did consider waiting to read this until my actual summer vacation, but who am I kidding, I have no willpower when it comes to her books. I’m so glad I didn’t make myself wait either because this was exactly the right book to get me into a summer vacation state of mind. I was just a tiny bit apprehensive when I read the blurb of this and saw it was set back in 1969, I don’t mind historical fiction but I did wonder if this would have the same magic as her usual summer books. I trust the queen of the beach read though and figured she knew what she was doing and she does. Obviously she does, this was book twenty something after all, and I was just as into this one as all of her previous books. It was really cool to see a simpler kind of life actually, no cell phones, Instagram, etc that so dominates our daily lives now, but there was no shortage of drama back then either. So many of the rampant issues back then are still sadly relevant today too, racism, women’s rights issues, etc. that despite being set fifty years ago it still felt surprisingly relevant. No one features an ensemble cast better than EH, she manages to create casts of characters that you feel invested in and also relate to on some level. There’s a little something for everyone here, mom Kate trying to cope with her only son Tiger, being shipped off to Vietnam, daughters Kirby, Blair and Jessie who range from early twenties to just turned teenager and so many supporting characters that give the whole thing vibrancy and life. A must read for summer, make sure you read the authors note for the inspiration behind the story, it was super cool! Summer of 69 in three words: Breezy, Spirited and Delightful

  28. 5 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    2.5 STARS Amid the war in Vietnam, the summer of 1969 brought the moon landing, Chappaquiddick and Woodstock. With a son Tiger fighting in Nam, college age Kirby working on Martha’s Vineyard, eldest daughter Blair pregnant with twins back in Boston, Kate only has thirteen-year-old Jessie with her at her mom’s Nantucket summer home. SUMMER OF ‘69 isn’t one of my favorite Elin Hilderbrand novels. Her first historical fiction novel felt more modern than fifty years ago. Hilderbrand throws in an occas 2.5 STARS Amid the war in Vietnam, the summer of 1969 brought the moon landing, Chappaquiddick and Woodstock. With a son Tiger fighting in Nam, college age Kirby working on Martha’s Vineyard, eldest daughter Blair pregnant with twins back in Boston, Kate only has thirteen-year-old Jessie with her at her mom’s Nantucket summer home. SUMMER OF ‘69 isn’t one of my favorite Elin Hilderbrand novels. Her first historical fiction novel felt more modern than fifty years ago. Hilderbrand throws in an occasional “far out”, party-line phone service to remind readers we’re reading the 1960s, but also slips up with modern language like “the N word” which only came into use about fifteen years ago. Jessie uses the term “molested” and immediately realizes her tennis teacher’s behavior is in appropriate, which didn’t happen often in 1979, let alone 1969. I’m the type of reader who’s distracted by such lapses. Hilderbrand does drop in the sexism, racism, anti-Semitism and other cultural phenomena. The sexism worked, the racism felt staged, as if the black characters existed to illustrate racism. The black family had married a doctor and judge. I liked the complications of interracial dating and that Kirby had interacted with Dr Frazier back in Boston, which was the only time we saw the characters, except for Kirby’s maybe boyfriend, doing anything but being black. ***Minor spoilers*** Jessie, Kate, Blair and Kirby each had their stories told in third person alternating chapters, but SUMMER OF ‘69 felt more character than plot driven. The ending was too Pollyanna for me. I enjoyed reading SUMMER OF ‘69, but not as much as most of Hilderbrand’s books.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kristy

    Every year Kate Levin and her family spend the summer on Nantucket with Kate's mother, Exalta. But this summer is different. Kate's eldest, Blair, 24, is now married to a MIT professor named Angus Whalen and they're expecting their first baby in August. As such, Blair won't be on Nantucket this summer. Middle sister, Kirby, is a junior in college and spending the summer on Martha's Vineyard. Her only son, Tiger, recently deployed to Vietnam, which has left Kate feeling completely panicked and lo Every year Kate Levin and her family spend the summer on Nantucket with Kate's mother, Exalta. But this summer is different. Kate's eldest, Blair, 24, is now married to a MIT professor named Angus Whalen and they're expecting their first baby in August. As such, Blair won't be on Nantucket this summer. Middle sister, Kirby, is a junior in college and spending the summer on Martha's Vineyard. Her only son, Tiger, recently deployed to Vietnam, which has left Kate feeling completely panicked and lost. Only her youngest, thirteen-year-old, Jessie, makes the trip. But without her siblings, Jessie feels overlooked and ignored. It's the historic summer of '69--and Levin family will have some memorable experiences of their own, too. I just love Elin Hilderbrand's books and this was a really fun one. It didn't feel that much like "historical fiction," despite the 1969 setting, but it was fascinating to get a glimpse of how the late 1960s affected the family and their decisions--especially the females. The time period affects each woman, even Jessie, in their own way. Mom Kate was a tough one to love, at times, ignoring her poor daughter and moaning about Tiger and her own past. But, man, Hilderbrand just comes up with the best family dynamics. She sets an amazing scene, aided by her beloved Nantucket, and before you know it, you are there with her characters, immersed in their drama and daily lives. For me, the star of this one was young Jessie. I loved how much of the book revolved around her--the points of view vary, but we hear from her a lot, and I couldn't help but love the kid. Nothing like growing up with a slightly absent mom, domineering grandmother, and a bunch of way older siblings, one of whom is at war. She was a breath of fresh air, and of course, Hilderbrand wrote from a teenage point of view perfectly. She gives all Kate's daughters their own unique voice, and it's amazing how each character stands out easily as distinct from one another. This is not "simply" a tale of a family over a summer, it's captivating and engaging look at a family shaped by historical and domestic circumstances. I certainly enjoyed this novel and would definitely recommend it. I usually shy away from historical fiction, but I found it quite interesting--great characters and family dynamics as always from our summer novel queen. 4 stars. Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laura G (lauralovestoread)

    “𝙰𝚗𝚍 𝚖𝚊𝚢𝚋𝚎, 𝚓𝚞𝚜𝚝 𝚖𝚊𝚢𝚋𝚎, 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚜𝚞𝚖𝚖𝚎𝚛 𝚠𝚒𝚕𝚕 𝚎𝚗𝚍 𝚞𝚙 𝚋𝚎𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚘𝚗𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚙𝚎𝚘𝚙𝚕𝚎 𝚠𝚛𝚒𝚝𝚎 𝚜𝚘𝚗𝚐𝚜 𝚊𝚋𝚘𝚞𝚝.” — 𝙴𝚕𝚒𝚗 𝙷𝚒𝚕𝚍𝚎𝚛𝚋𝚛𝚊𝚗𝚍, 𝚂𝚞𝚖𝚖𝚎𝚛 𝚘𝚏 '𝟼𝟿 Another summer favorite of 2019! I fell in love with Elin Hilderbrand when I read The Identicals and I was so happy to read her first novel branching out into historical fiction. This book was a slow paced read for me, but I loved it! I loved that it had so many layers of the world in true current events from the year 1969. As we see from one sibling to the next, taking shap “𝙰𝚗𝚍 𝚖𝚊𝚢𝚋𝚎, 𝚓𝚞𝚜𝚝 𝚖𝚊𝚢𝚋𝚎, 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚜𝚞𝚖𝚖𝚎𝚛 𝚠𝚒𝚕𝚕 𝚎𝚗𝚍 𝚞𝚙 𝚋𝚎𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚘𝚗𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚙𝚎𝚘𝚙𝚕𝚎 𝚠𝚛𝚒𝚝𝚎 𝚜𝚘𝚗𝚐𝚜 𝚊𝚋𝚘𝚞𝚝.” — 𝙴𝚕𝚒𝚗 𝙷𝚒𝚕𝚍𝚎𝚛𝚋𝚛𝚊𝚗𝚍, 𝚂𝚞𝚖𝚖𝚎𝚛 𝚘𝚏 '𝟼𝟿 Another summer favorite of 2019! I fell in love with Elin Hilderbrand when I read The Identicals and I was so happy to read her first novel branching out into historical fiction. This book was a slow paced read for me, but I loved it! I loved that it had so many layers of the world in true current events from the year 1969. As we see from one sibling to the next, taking shape through the Vietnam war draft, racial prejudice, women’s rights, alcoholism, drugs, and abortion just to name a few. I also loved that Hilderbrand used a few of her own life stories to sprinkle in with this storyline. Definitely a light summer read that packs a big punch! *Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for my free copy in exchange for review.

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