A candidate for this year’s big beach read—the period story of a derailed love affair seen through a sequence of summers spent at Seaview, R.I.
It’s not “Whodunit?” that drives Williams’ (Overseas, 2012) latest but “What went wrong?” between Lily Dane and good-looking-but-Jewish Nick Greenwald, whose love for each other seemed unstoppable. How, seven years on, can Nick be married to Lily’s BFF Budgie Byrne while Lily herself is single and accompanied by her 6-year-old sister, Kiki? The answer is teased out at length via parallel narratives set in 1931 and 1938, both voiced by Lily. In 1931, she meets dashing Nick at a football game when they are both college students. Their passion is mutual, but Lily’s father disapproves. Undeterred, the couple elopes. But, in 1938, they are not together. Instead, Lily is confronted by Budgie’s apparently idyllic marriage to an oddly distracted Nick. Another old college pal, Graham Pendleton, previously Budgie’s lover, tries to woo Lily, but their engagement falls apart. Just when the reader’s exasperation with Nick, Lily and the missing link reaches its limit, explanations for their non-togetherness are delivered. And then the weather at Seaview turns distinctly stormy.
An elegant if somewhat old-fashioned delayed-gratification seaside romance with a flavor of Daphne du Maurier.