Book Review: Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand

Book Review: Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand is an epic historical fiction novel that will sweep its readers off their feet. Set in Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, the book explores family relationships and an eventful time in U.S. history. It is a classic Hilderbrand summer novel with an exciting historical twist.

Book Review: Summer of ’69 by Elin HilderbrandTitle: Summer of '69
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Publication Date: June 18, 2019

five-stars
Summary (from Goodreads):

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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❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Book Review: Summer of ’69

I have read a few of Hilderbrand’s novels before, but this one is my absolute favourite to date. This summer read has all of the classic elements that her works entail, such as drama and family relationships. However, the time period of Summer of ’69 really sets the tone for an intriguing plot. It is quite amazing how the history of 1969 blends perfectly into the narrative and its characters.

❀ Incredible Setting

The setting is one that always makes me yearn for a trip to Nantucket. Hildrebrand outdoes herself with this particular novel, however. Many of the popular shops and places of interest that are described in the book are truly a step back in time. Also, adding Martha’s Vineyard to the story adds a really interesting element as the characters deal with racism and segregation.

❀ Compelling Characters

The story is told in multiple points of view, which works well for this novel. The women in the Levin family are all given a voice and it is compelling to read about each generation’s struggles and achievements in a time where women are really starting to take a stand for their rights. I especially loved Jessie’s point of view, as she is the youngest and really comes of age during the course of the novel.

Fans of Hilderbrand’s other novels set on Nantucket will not be disappointed with Summer of ’69. This epic historical fiction explores the time period and many of the social, political, and news-worthy moments of that summer. The characters are ones that readers will instantly relate to, making it a perfect summer read.

About Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket, which has been the setting for her five previous novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.

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