Book Review: Montauk

Take a touch of Gatsby, mix in some Downton Abbey, add a little historical fiction and a lot of romance, and you have the making of a great novel. MONTAUK was all of that and more.

MONTAUK, a debut novel by author Nicola Harrison, comes out June 4th, just in time to start off your summer reading. So many good books come out during the summer months–for good reason–and you won’t want to miss this one. An easy read with drama, suspense, romance and plenty of glitz and glamour, it will be the perfect book to take along wherever you are headed this summer–even if it’s only to a lawn chair in your own back yard.


Set in Montauk, New York during the summer of 1938, we are introduced to Beatrice Bordeaux. Montauk is the new hot spot to summer for Manhattan’s elite which Beatrice is a part of. Bea, recently marrying into wealth and privilege, is struggling to find her place, torn between the locals she quickly makes friends with and the summer guests she is expected to socialize with. Her life takes a drastic turn when she discovers that her marriage isn’t what she thought it was. After a couple of chance encounters with Thomas, the lighthouse operator, she realizes that her life will never be the same.


People are imperfect and so are book characters. One of the reasons that MONTAUK is so good is because it is filled with plenty of characters to love and plenty to hate. I can’t deny there were several times that I found myself frustrated with Bea, her naivete, immaturity, and the choices she was making. However, those choices proved important to Bea’s character development. I had to remind myself that it was 1938 and her reactions, emotions, and hesitations however frustrating they may be to me in 2019 were very appropriate for the time. The last 30 pages were packed with excitement, and the ending came as quite a surprise. (I love it when I don’t see what’s coming!)

This will be a book that should be on everyone’s reading list this summer. Not because it is some phenomenal piece of literature, but because it is a gripping story filled with plot lines and characters that keep you from wanting to put the book down. I am not usually a fan of novels driven by love and romance, but Harrison has created a story that more than your typical romance. Fertility, infidelity, grief, sexism, wealth and elitism are just a few of the issues that Harrison tackles throughout the book and tackles them in appropriate ways. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to Harrison’s future work.

Thank you to BookSparks, St. Martin’s Press, and the author for the advanced copy!


MONTAUK by Nicola Harrison
Published by St. Martin’s Press, June 4, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction/Contemporary Fiction
Where I read: In my cozy reading chair on a rainy day
Stephenie’s Goodreads Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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