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The Summer Wives

A Novel
Written by: Beatriz Williams
Narrated by: Kristin Kalbli
Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Beatriz Williams brings us the blockbuster novel of the season - an electrifying postwar fable of love, class, power, and redemption set among the inhabitants of an island off the New England coast....

In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island as a schoolgirl from the margins of high society, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda’s catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools. Isobel Fisher, Miranda’s new stepsister - all long legs and world-weary bravado, engaged to a wealthy Island scion - is eager to draw Miranda into the arcane customs of Winthrop society.

But beneath the island’s patrician surface, there are really two clans: the summer families with their steadfast ways and quiet obsessions, and the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic workers who earn their living on the water and in the laundries of the summer houses. Uneasy among Isobel’s privileged friends, Miranda finds herself drawn to Joseph Vargas, whose father keeps the lighthouse with his mysterious wife. In summer, Joseph helps his father in the lobster boats, but in the autumn he returns to Brown University, where he’s determined to make something of himself. Since childhood, Joseph’s enjoyed an intense, complex friendship with Isobel Fisher, and as the summer winds to its end, Miranda’s caught in a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop’s hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the island for nearly two decades.

Now, in the landmark summer of 1969, Miranda returns at last, as a renowned Shakespearean actress hiding a terrible heartbreak. On its surface, the Island remains the same - determined to keep the outside world from its shores, fiercely loyal to those who belong. But the formerly powerful Fisher family is a shadow of itself, and Joseph Vargas has recently escaped the prison where he was incarcerated for the murder of Miranda’s stepfather 18 years earlier. What’s more, Miranda herself is no longer a naïve teenager, and she begins a fierce, inexorable quest for justice for the man she once loved...even if it means uncovering every last one of the secrets that bind together the families of Winthrop Island.

©2018 Beatriz Williams (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent summer read!

Very much a Telenovela with a cheeky Gatsby feel.
The story was intriguing and kept my attention.
recommended for book club.
the performance was exceptional! The narrator was able to successfully execute many unique voices and I enjoyed listening to her. I listened at 1.10 speed and it was absolutely fine.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

This was my first book by this author and I really enjoyed it. Will be reading more from her. The narration was very good.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ruth M. Penson
  • 2018-07-26

Oh hum!

Chick-Lit mystery. Narrator was good until she got into using accents. Instead of New Enland or upper crust accents, they sound more like "Brooklyneese" ...so annoying!!

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • H. Hallmark
  • 2018-07-19

Good read

The story is romantic and intriguing even if a little obvious. But the romanticism was beautiful without being overly cheesy. I enjoyed the listen and would recommend.

The reader’s voice was not exactly to my taste. Her pronunciation at times felt stretched and somewhat annoying. But she did a wonderful job discerning character voices.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jennifer
  • 2018-07-19

Disappointing

I love all of Beatriz Williams books (a Hundred Summers being my favorite), but this one was not to the level of the others.
It was ok, but I won't read (listen) to it again.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dianne Warner
  • 2018-07-13

Mystery, lyrical prose and fascinating setting

Finally a novel worth recommending on its literary merit and enjoyment level. The characters struggle with social position or lack of, distilled on a small island, the hypocrisy of the times, and of money-always money-and the tension eventually expressed in murder... plus a destined romance, make this an enthralling “listen” or read. I only wish the author could refrain from occasionally confiding to the reader with “You know?”

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Lorie O'Connor
  • 2018-08-19

voice for all the male characters was awful.

like scratching on a chalkboard. couldn’t stand the narrator ( a woman) trying to sound like a man. made al the men unattractive because their voices were so whimpy.
not a great story either. sorry.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan
  • Rock Hill, SC, United States
  • 2018-08-16

A little better than most beach reads

I found the story interesting although I got a little confused with the going back and forth with the time span. I enjoyed the 1950’s setting because it reminded me of my grandparents.

The story had a decent plot that I enjoyed more than your average women’s issues/beach read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Lisa J. Shultz
  • Breckenridge, CO
  • 2019-09-19

Too much for me

This "beach read" was well structured and written but I just wanted to gag with the drama. One sexual infidelity after another just made my eyes roll over and over. I read the book because it was a book club pick. It just wasn't my thing but if you are headed to the beach or a vacation and want to get caught up in a soap opera in book form, go for it!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Terry
  • 2019-08-16

Excellent story if you love history.

Love all of her books.! Great choices for narrators also. The voice of narrator so important.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2019-06-28

excellent

This was such an amazing story! Plus, the performance just made it come to life!

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  • ConnorCrew
  • 2019-06-25

Music to my ears.

Fantastic book. I actually love the interwoven lines, that seem to have driven some reviewers mad. Full of every beautiful detail I crave when listening to a story.

And Kristin Kalbli, gah, what a talented voice. The characters seemed to flow so effortlessly from her.

This is my 1st Beatriz Williams book, but I'll be picking my next right away.