The Beach at Summerly: A Novel (Hardcover)

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It is 1946 on Winthrop Island (a fictional island off the coast of CT) and the war is finally over. Emilia Winthrop's family are locals, caring for the wealthy families' summer houses and serving them when they come for the summer season. She is especially close with the Peabody family, and her father is caretaker of their house called Summerly. The Peabody family is back for the summer with sons Amory and Shep, and Aunt Olive and her three young children, who move into the guest cottage, and Emilia becomes their nanny for the summer. Emilia, Amory, and Shep grew up together and spent every summer running around the island, but now Shep has grown up and is a war hero, and the attraction between Emilia and Shep is growing. It is also the start of the Cold War, and Emilia is approached by an FBI agent undercover and asked to help capture a Russian sleeper agent transmitting secret information from the island. Told in alternating timelines between 1954 and 1946, the book follows Emilia's story as she remembers the eventful summer of 1946 and grapples with the fallout she still deals with in 1954. 

— Aerie


"There are few more skilled practitioners of the craft of summer fiction than Beatriz Williams." The New York Times Book Review

A ravishing summer read from New York Times bestseller Beatriz Williams, sweeping readers back to a mid-century New England rich with secrets and Cold War intrigue.

June 1946. As the residents of Winthrop Island prepare for the first summer season after the sacrifice of war, a glamorous new figure moves into the guest cottage at Summerly, the idyllic seaside estate of the wealthy Peabody family. To Emilia Winthrop, daughter of Summerly’s year-round caretaker and a descendant of the island’s settlers, Olive Rainsford opens a window into a world of shining possibility. While Emilia spent the war years caring for her incapacitated mother, Olive traveled the world, married fascinating men, and involved herself in political causes. She’s also the beloved aunt of the two surviving Peabody sons, Amory and Shep, with whom Emilia has a tangled romantic history.

As the summer wears on, Emilia develops a deep rapport with Olive, who urges her to leave the island for a life of adventure, while romance blossoms with the sturdy and honorable Shep. But the heady promise of Peabody patronage is blown apart by the arrival of Sumner Fox, an FBI agent who demands Emilia’s help to capture a Soviet agent who’s transmitting vital intelligence on the West’s atomic weapon program from somewhere inside the Summerly estate.

April 1954. Eight years later, Summerly is boarded up and Emilia has rebuilt her shattered life as a professor at Wellesley College, when shocking news arrives from Washington—the traitor she helped convict is about to be swapped for an American spy imprisoned in the Soviet Union, but with a mysterious condition only Emilia can fulfill. A reluctant Emilia is summoned to CIA headquarters, where she’s forced to confront the harrowing consequences of her actions that fateful summer, and a choice that could destroy the Peabody family—and Emilia’s chance for redemption—all over again.

"Grand and gripping...shot through with suspense, romance, and glorious, beach-laden locales. I could not put it down."--Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling author of The Mitford Affair

About the Author

Beatriz Williams is the bestselling author of thirteen novels, including Her Last Flight, The Summer Wives, and The Golden Hour, as well as All the Ways We Said Goodbye, cowritten with Lauren Willig and Karen White. A native of Seattle, she graduated from Stanford University and earned an MBA in finance from Columbia University. She lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore, where she divides her time between writing and laundry.

Praise For…

"There are few more skilled practitioners of the craft of summer fiction than Beatriz Williams." — New York Times Book Review

"Grand and gripping...shot through with suspense, romance, and glorious, beach-laden locales. I could not put it down." — Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling author of The Mitford Affair

"Readers will be hooked from the first page.” Publishers Weekly

“Full of evocative, whip-sharp dialogue… [T]he author’s deft exploration of many thought-provoking issues, from social class to personal responsibility and regret, make this one a winner. A well-researched exploration of love and redemption against the backdrop of post-World War II New England.” Kirkus Reviews

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

“Williams has crafted a kaleidoscope of a novel—a mystery, a romance, and an utterly beguiling examination of the cost of secrets . . . The Summer Wives is a startling portrait of the courage it requires to make your own second chances.” — Entertainment Weekly

"Beatriz Williams's vivid historical novel alternates with measured suspense between present and past." — Booklist

“[A] satisfying simmer of a read.” — USA Today on The Summer Wives

“Engrossing and gripping, you will finish this book in one sitting.” — St. Louis Post Dispatch on The Summer Wives

“Satisfyingly tempestuous—and eminently beachworthy.” — Kirkus (starred review) on The Summer Wives

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063020849
ISBN-10: 006302084X
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: June 27th, 2023
Pages: 368
Language: English