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Summer of '69

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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 with their grandmother in Nantucket: but this year Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, a nursing stu 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 with their grandmother in 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.


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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 with their grandmother in Nantucket: but this year Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, a nursing stu 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 with their grandmother in 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.

30 review for Summer of '69

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    “People are people.” More than anything else, it’s the people Elin Hilderbrand brings to life among her pages that have me chomping at the bit for her annual (June and now October!) releases. And while many authors contribute to this genre space, for me it is Hilderbrand’s smart and often relatable approach to the “beach read” that has become synonymous with summer. Her work eliciting an eager reader ready to jump on a ferry to Nantucket for a dose of scenery, local eats, and unparalleled people. “People are people.” More than anything else, it’s the people Elin Hilderbrand brings to life among her pages that have me chomping at the bit for her annual (June and now October!) releases. And while many authors contribute to this genre space, for me it is Hilderbrand’s smart and often relatable approach to the “beach read” that has become synonymous with summer. Her work eliciting an eager reader ready to jump on a ferry to Nantucket for a dose of scenery, local eats, and unparalleled people. People who bare their hearts and truths as if we’ve always been the closest of friends. As if we’re all local Nantucketers. Last year, Hilderbrand pulled off quite the feat with the delivery of her first suspense novel, The Perfect Couple. A book that not only proved to be one of her strongest yet, but earned a coveted spot among my very favorites. And this year, continuing that trend of branching out, Hilderbrand takes a stab at historical fiction, transporting readers to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard during the pivotal summer of 1969. A time that’s near and dear to the author's family—the very summer she and her twin brother said hello to the world—providing the inspiration. Summer of '69 brings readers into the lives of the Levin/Foley family for what is poised to be a defining time. Not only for the family but for the nation as a whole. The story opens with a jarring prologue, which sets the tone for the summer months ahead. Tiger, the only Levin son, has been called to war and deployed to the front lines of Vietnam. Tiger in an infantry uniform, Blair (the oldest sister) in Brookline expecting her first child, and Kirby (the middle sister) determined to experience life on Martha’s Vineyard, means thirteen-year-old Jessie (the youngest sister) is on her own. Left to spend the summer with her distracted mother, Kate, and overbearing grandmother, Exalta, in the family’s Nantucket summer home, All’s Fair. Just about everyone is on the precipice of change as told through alternating chapters. Kate and each of her three daughters take turns examining their views on life, exposing their deepest secrets to the light of day and plucking the strings of the complicated dynamics of the relationships at their fingertips. The culmination of their stories and life lessons hit home with the notion, “people are people". This intriguing piece of fiction, set amongst actual events—the Vietnam War, Nixon’s tumultuous tenure, Apollo 11, and the Chappaquiddick incident—surprisingly enough, offered this 80’s born woman a bit of a history lesson. And while I wouldn’t say this reads as tried and true historical fiction, it still has a very contemporary feel, Hilderbrand is successful in turning back the hands of time while remaining true to her brand. New and longtime fans are sure to enjoy this summer escape to Nantucket. *Thanks to Mitchell’s Book Corner and Elin Hilderbrand for making it possible for me to add a personalized copy to my collection. ♥

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ~ Bantering Books (On Reviewing Hiatus)

    Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews. I think I have a like-hate relationship with Elin Hilderbrand’s novels. To put it bluntly - I like Hilderbrand’s stories. But I don’t like Hilderbrand’s writing. A year ago, I read her Winter Street series and found the entire experience to be similar to that of watching a B movie – not that great, not totally satisfying, but just engaging enough to lead me to read all four books in the series. I cut Hilderbrand some slack, however, as Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews. I think I have a like-hate relationship with Elin Hilderbrand’s novels. To put it bluntly - I like Hilderbrand’s stories. But I don’t like Hilderbrand’s writing. A year ago, I read her Winter Street series and found the entire experience to be similar to that of watching a B movie – not that great, not totally satisfying, but just engaging enough to lead me to read all four books in the series. I cut Hilderbrand some slack, however, as I have often found that a holiday series is not necessarily an accurate depiction of an author’s true writing chops. I thought it best to give one of her summery novels a try before forming a definitive opinion about her work, seeing as those seem to be what her devoted readers love best. And it was with all this in mind, that I approached Summer of '69. I happily selected it as my next Hilderbrand novel, both mildly excited and optimistically hopeful that I would find it to be a substantially better read than the Winter Street series. Alas . . . Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. The novel follows the members of the Levin family, as they individually prepare for what is for them, a different type of summer. The year is 1969, one of the most politically charged, chaotic years in the history of the United States. The Levin children typically look forward to spending the summer together in Nantucket, living in their grandmother’s historic home. But their lives are in as much a state of upheaval as is the nation. In Boston is Blair, the eldest sister, pregnant with twins and unable to travel to Nantucket. Kirby, the middle sister and civil rights activist, accepts a summer job in Martha’s Vineyard to distance herself from the family. The only son, Tiger, is a soldier, away fighting in the Vietnam War. And thirteen-year-old Jessie is left facing a dismal summer alone in the house with her set-in-her-ways grandmother, Exalta, and anxious mother, Kate. No. Life is certainly not the same for the Levins – and little do they know the extent it will continue to change over the course of the summer of 1969. To swing back around to the opening line of my review, I will begin by saying that overall, I like Summer of ’69. Really. Truly. The story is compelling from the start. The characters are appealing. The historical backdrop of 1969 is intriguing and adds an extra layer of interest to the narrative. But. The novel is just so simplistic. So superficial. So light, and by this, I mean, without any sort of depth or weight to it. In no way does Hilderbrand dig deeply into the story – the narrative, the characters, the historical setting, and the political climate are all flat and touched only on the surface. History lovers – know that Summer of ‘69 is also, at best, lite historical fiction. At its core, the novel is more of a family drama, and the story is not at all beholden to the year 1969. Plus, it’s almost as if Hilderbrand attempts to up the historical authenticity factor by tossing into the narrative every single bit of research she uncovered, along with every single notable public event of 1969. The history feels forced and manipulated, rather than naturally threaded into the drama. And Hilderbrand’s writing is just . . . (gulp) . . . cringeworthy. (Excuse me while I duck and cover. Swinging baseball bats are incoming.) It’s nails-on-chalkboard awful. Her prose is pedestrian and clunky; her sentences are elementary and almost child-like in nature. She tells everything and shows the reader nothing. My biggest pet peeve? She uses the exclamation point almost as often as she uses the period. It’s mind-boggling! It must be her favorite form of punctuation! Please stop! Oh, how I wish she instead loved the period! Or the question mark! Heck, I would even settle for a semicolon now and then! (See what I did there?) (Too much?) All snarky criticism aside, Summer of ‘69 is enjoyable and makes for a great beach read. But if you’re looking for anything more than that, I recommend you look elsewhere. And don’t get me wrong. I still see many, many Hilderbrand novels in my future. Some things in life are so good . . . because they are so bad. Bantering Books Instagram Twitter Facebook

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    4 full, family drama, sisterhood, entertaining, amazing journey to the end of sixties while listening Man on the moon and singing “those were the best days of my life” as like Bryan Adams sang stars! You don’t have to be Marty McFly by driving a special car is invented by your Dr. Brown for time travelling. Elin Hilderbrand already takes us back to the end of sixties, a remarkable, memorable time for American and also human history: 1969 This is the time of Beatles’ Abbey Road album releasing, Time 4 full, family drama, sisterhood, entertaining, amazing journey to the end of sixties while listening Man on the moon and singing “those were the best days of my life” as like Bryan Adams sang stars! You don’t have to be Marty McFly by driving a special car is invented by your Dr. Brown for time travelling. Elin Hilderbrand already takes us back to the end of sixties, a remarkable, memorable time for American and also human history: 1969 This is the time of Beatles’ Abbey Road album releasing, Time of the most memorable Woodstock performances with the attendance of more than 35 singers including Janis Joplin, The Who, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Joe Cocker, and Jimi Hendrix. ( Yes more than 350 thousand rock n roll fans had their time of my their lives) Time of Chappaquiddick Affair , yes Senator Kennedy drove into ta pound and Mary Joe Kopechne is dead! Time of MOON LANDING! Yesss! Because of Mr. Chazelle, I can only imagine Gosling’s one small step, one giant leap for mankind! (If you believed they put a man on the moon lyrics capture your mind! Thanks to R.E.M. and Andy Kauffman ) Time of ponchos, moccasins, love beads, peace signs, medallion necklaces, chain belts, polka dot-printed fabrics, and long, puffed "bubble" sleeves ! Time of watching “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid”, “Midnight Cowboy”, “Easy Rider” on big screen ! Time of student protests, rising inflation, Stonewall Riot and draft lottery to determine drafts into US forces of Vietnam War! So the author cannot choose any better time frame for telling her dysfunctional family story. As you lie down on our blanket at the seaside ( Because this is a great summer reading when you’re feeling the sea breeze on your skin, watching the kids play on the sand, surfers struggle against the powerful waves) and start turning the pages, you can actually hear some favorite Crosby, Stills and Nash, Rolling Stones. Steppenwolf songs keep playing on your head. This book gives these vibes and incredible feelings. A conservative, compelling, dominant grandma who carries her own secret relationship, 48 years old mother of 4 children, Kate, suffering from past regrets, burden of a big secret and alcoholism, Older child of the family, Blair, married with an astronaut ( that’s her definition, her husband Angus is not an astronaut and his name a little irritated me), expecting twins, resigned from her teaching job, thinking her husband cheating on her with a prostitute named Trixy ( okay, I think these names are a little awkward!) For backfiring him she kisses her brother in law and her husband catches them on the action! Middle sister Kirby, a nursing student, feminist, civil rights protestor, having an interracial relationship but her lover’s mother doesn’t approve her because she knows her secret that she hides from everyone at the family. Tiger, is the only boy and favorite of Kate, follows the footsteps of his soldier father and fights at Nam, only connects with his little sister Jessie by letters and tells the ugly truths about war! And little Jessie, Kate’s youngest daughter from another man, struggling with her puberty problems and her first heartbreak. She is the secret glue of their family. She knows everyone’s secret and she’s a perfect listener and so mature for her age! I rooted for her maybe the resemblance of being the youngest at the family, having a better and more objective point of view about everyone’s problems and her close relationship with her brother as his confidante made me love her more! I love perfectly combined and developed characters’ stories and I enjoyed the spirit, sensation and smartly depicted parts of the era. It can be told a little shorter but still all the historical events matched impeccably with the family history. I think this is the best book of this author that I’ve ever read! blog instagram facebook twitter

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill

    Wow I just really loved this book, I certainly didn't want it to end. I rarely say that about a book as I am usually ready for it to wrap up, but not this one. I found myself completely immersed in their story and it felt so real. This is my first book I have read by Elin Hilderbrand and I was blown away. I love her style of writing and I truly felt like I wasn't reading, I got swept up and lost in the world of a summer in Nantucket. It probably does help that I love the whole idea of what it wou Wow I just really loved this book, I certainly didn't want it to end. I rarely say that about a book as I am usually ready for it to wrap up, but not this one. I found myself completely immersed in their story and it felt so real. This is my first book I have read by Elin Hilderbrand and I was blown away. I love her style of writing and I truly felt like I wasn't reading, I got swept up and lost in the world of a summer in Nantucket. It probably does help that I love the whole idea of what it would be like to live there and I claim if I could live anywhere that is where it would be. I also think 1969 would have been a fantastic time to be alive. The Levin family is a family that has been blessed to have a summer home in Nantucket and it is a family tradition to "summer" there and this summer is no different. Except everything is different this year. The summer of 1969 brings upon a huge amount of change in their personal life and the lives of everyone around them. There is the landing on the moon, Vietnam, Woodstock, Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick. The Levin/Nichols family is dealing with Kate's first grandchild being born, her son getting drafted, her daughter taking off to find herself and yet her youngest dealing with all the things that come with turning 13. This book was so enjoyable to read and I was literally swept up into their lives. I was so invested in each character. The author has created such relatable, well developed characters, I felt I was part of their lives. It was enjoyable to be swept into another era where there were no cellphones- you were lucky to have a phone in your home and a television. It was bizarre to hear of expectant mothers drinking and smoking to help them relax. Oh my you have come a long way baby! Only people of a certain age will get that reference! I was born in the 1970's so I can vaguely remember some of this. All the fine details really caught my attention- like the mention of Dr. Scholl's shoes, my how I loved clomping along in my mother's Dr. Scholls. I am sure this book will trigger fond memories for many people. Hands down a fabulous 5 stars for this book! Now I am going to just continue on my way while humming Summer of 69...as you all probably will find yourself doing too!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Maxwell

    I can't stand books that don't respect the reader. If you have to explicitly state things or hint so strongly at something you're going to end up telling me about in five pages, why bother? Every twist and turn in this novel is so predictable. (view spoiler)[Angus's "affair" with Trixie (TRIXIE?!?) turning out to be his psychiatrist? Gasp! Pick's biological father being Kate's first, now dead, husband? Go figure! The alleged gun accident actually being a suicide? No way! (hide spoiler)] On top of th I can't stand books that don't respect the reader. If you have to explicitly state things or hint so strongly at something you're going to end up telling me about in five pages, why bother? Every twist and turn in this novel is so predictable. (view spoiler)[Angus's "affair" with Trixie (TRIXIE?!?) turning out to be his psychiatrist? Gasp! Pick's biological father being Kate's first, now dead, husband? Go figure! The alleged gun accident actually being a suicide? No way! (hide spoiler)] On top of that, character's feelings are completely contradicted by their actions, or vice versa, because Hilderbrand never shows us anything. She decides to tell us everything, and it's written in the 3rd person present tense which really doesn't work for a historical novel (and I use the term 'historical' loosely because this book has a lot of revisionist history). We see things through the eyes of each character but are told, not shown, how others act through the other characters' POVs. So when we get to one of the other character's POVs and they shockingly (lol) think differently than we were led to believe, it holds no weight because we are going off of the flimsy account of someone who clearly doesn't know them well. Additionally, a lot of these characters are pretty horrible people, or make pretty horrible choices that they never adequately address or face consequences for. They also use other characters' pain to learn lessons and grow as human beings while not facing any of the pain themselves! Or if they do face temporary pain, it all pretty much works out in the end and they are left with no lasting damage. Cause life sure is peachy when you're a white, upperclass family on Nantucket! I didn't realize when I picked this up that it would be so schmaltzy. I was expecting something more along the lines of Anne Tyler where not only is the writing good—I don't even have time to get into the sentence-level writing of this novel—but the characters would also be multi-faceted and be the lens through which we examine history, specifically the summer of '69! But no, it's essentially a soap opera with lots of cultural references that do nothing but act as limp set pieces for an even limper plot.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Norma

    Evocative, entrancing, & absorbing! I have been meaning to read one of ELIN HILDERBRAND books for quite a while now and I am so glad that I finally followed through and read my very first book by her. This is some fine storytelling here. I totally loved the dynamics between the characters, was full-heartedly entranced by the setting, enraptured by the premise, and had a deep fondness for the whole story in general. SUMMER OF ‘69 by ELIN HILDERBRAND is a nostalgic, fun, touching, moving, and breez Evocative, entrancing, & absorbing! I have been meaning to read one of ELIN HILDERBRAND books for quite a while now and I am so glad that I finally followed through and read my very first book by her. This is some fine storytelling here. I totally loved the dynamics between the characters, was full-heartedly entranced by the setting, enraptured by the premise, and had a deep fondness for the whole story in general. SUMMER OF ‘69 by ELIN HILDERBRAND is a nostalgic, fun, touching, moving, and breezy domestic tale that totally enchanted me. I was immediately hooked and fully absorbed within this storyline. Being born in 1966, I absolutely loved being transported back to a place in time and era that totally came alive for me. It was extremely easy to visualize and experience place and time perfectly through the words expressed here. Loved that! ELIN HILDERBRAND delivers an intriguing, vivid, atmospheric, beautifully written and retrospective tale here that has woven together some historical moments perfectly into an easy-breezy summer read with heart. I really loved the tone and flow of this novel. It was like sitting down with a good friend on a relaxing summery day while they relayed to me their story. Norma’s Stats: Cover: A feel-good, happy, summery, and lively cover that depicts this time period and storyline perfectly. Title: Intriguing, appealing, emotive, relevant, and a simply beautiful representation to storyline. Writing/Prose: Compulsively readable, expressive, prolific, engaging, and dramatic. Plot: Dynamic, steadily-paced, fun, captivating, nostalgic, heartfelt, relevant, and entertaining. Ending: A beautiful and heartfelt ending that left me feeling totally satiated. Overall: I thought this was the perfect summer read and absolutely loved reading the authors note in the end where I found out where the inspiration behind the story came from. That just brought in an extra feeling of respect, meaning and warmth for the novel for me. Would highly recommend! This review along with Brenda's can also be found on our blog: https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com/2...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    To say I’ve been ecstatic to read Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical fiction book is an understatement. Last summer, she wrote her first murder mystery, and this summer she brings us Summer of ‘69. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Expect the stories the Nantucket stories we’ve known and loved from our beloved EH, but this time, with a historic backdrop. The Levin family spends its summers on Nantucket, and everyone looks forward to it. They stay at their grandmother’s stately, historic home. But this year, thin To say I’ve been ecstatic to read Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical fiction book is an understatement. Last summer, she wrote her first murder mystery, and this summer she brings us Summer of ‘69. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Expect the stories the Nantucket stories we’ve known and loved from our beloved EH, but this time, with a historic backdrop. The Levin family spends its summers on Nantucket, and everyone looks forward to it. They stay at their grandmother’s stately, historic home. But this year, things are different for the Levins. Blair is pregnant and unable to travel. Kirby is devoted to civil rights protests. Tiger has been deployed to Vietnam. Jessie, the youngest at thirteen years old, is staying with her grandmother who is behind-the-times, but carrying secrets. The summer is filled with those historic events we’ve all heard about: the lunar landing, Chappaquiddick, and all the while, Jessie is growing up, too. Yeah, I gobbled this up! What a summer story with plenty of depth and insight, as I would expect from Hilderbrand. This particular summer was rife with events and drama in the world, and so it was for the Levins, too. I was both engrossed and enchanted with this story. I can only imagine what EH will dream up for us next summer?! And in the interim, I have her new winter series to keep me company late this fall! Always and forever a fan! I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    Summer of ‘69 is my first book I read by Elin Hilderbrand and I have to say it was the perfect one to start with. It’s already coming up to the end of summer and we haven’t had any summer weather and I really enjoyed being swept away to the sun in Nantucket. The cover alone took me to my happy summer place. Elin Hilderbrand weaves a historical fiction, family drama with a beach read that was the perfect summer read for me. She vividly creates the iconic American summer of ‘69 while capturing eac Summer of ‘69 is my first book I read by Elin Hilderbrand and I have to say it was the perfect one to start with. It’s already coming up to the end of summer and we haven’t had any summer weather and I really enjoyed being swept away to the sun in Nantucket. The cover alone took me to my happy summer place. Elin Hilderbrand weaves a historical fiction, family drama with a beach read that was the perfect summer read for me. She vividly creates the iconic American summer of ‘69 while capturing each of the characters’ own conflicts that represents a theme of that era. The writing flows so quietly as Hilderbrand explores a lot of themes here. I was immediately drawn into the family dynamics here with their misunderstanding, secrets, headache and worry. Their relationships are complicated however the dynamics between them is easy and light while still capturing their emotional depth and growth. I enjoyed every minute of this story and it all came together so well. I highly recommend! I look forward to diving into one of the many other books by Elin Hilderbrand I own!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Yun

    There’s a lot going on in Summer of '69. The three sisters in the Foley/Levin family are each embroiled in their own worries. The eldest sister is pregnant while her husband is emotionally unavailable and potentially unfaithful, the middle sister is striking out on her own but running into trouble, and the youngest is stuck in Nantucket with her unyieldingly conservative grandmother and her increasingly tipsy mother. Their brother is overseas fighting the war in Vietnam, and their mother is incr There’s a lot going on in Summer of '69. The three sisters in the Foley/Levin family are each embroiled in their own worries. The eldest sister is pregnant while her husband is emotionally unavailable and potentially unfaithful, the middle sister is striking out on her own but running into trouble, and the youngest is stuck in Nantucket with her unyieldingly conservative grandmother and her increasingly tipsy mother. Their brother is overseas fighting the war in Vietnam, and their mother is increasingly distraught over this, driving herself to oblivion with alcohol to ease the pain. But all these issues are treated rather superficially in the book. They feel somewhat contrived (and a tad boring, if I’m honest), and their resolutions are all standard stuff. One of the hooks for this book is that people are keeping secrets, but I didn’t feel any surprise or shock when those are revealed. They all feel rather pedestrian. For a book about females during the feminist revolution, I had hoped that there would be strong female characters for me to cheer for, but that was disappointing too. All the women in here mostly just took what life and men handed to them. Sure, that probably is true to the times of the 1960s, but it didn’t make for a very compelling read (at least to me). One of Elin Hilderbrand’s strength is her writing, and in that respect, she remains in top form. This story is easy to get into and I found myself flipping the pages even though the story itself wasn’t as riveting. I went into Summer of ‘69 thinking it would be the perfect beachy blend of family drama and secrets, summertime in Nantucket, and growing up during the awakening of the feminist movement. But coming out of the book, I feel only lukewarm about it. While it wasn’t a bad story, it just wasn’t as exciting or as insightful as I wanted it to be.

  10. 4 out of 5

    NZLisaM

    Fun in the sun in the summer of '69. (Let's see how many times I mention summer during this review). This was the embodiment of the feel-good summer read, without being sappy or melodramatic. I've been waiting all year for its release and it was everything I imagined, and more. The story centres on one family – the blended Foley/Levin clan. Every June they leave the stifling city heat of Boston for three months, to vacation at their grandmother's summer house on Nantucket – and this summer of ’69 i Fun in the sun in the summer of '69. (Let's see how many times I mention summer during this review). This was the embodiment of the feel-good summer read, without being sappy or melodramatic. I've been waiting all year for its release and it was everything I imagined, and more. The story centres on one family – the blended Foley/Levin clan. Every June they leave the stifling city heat of Boston for three months, to vacation at their grandmother's summer house on Nantucket – and this summer of ’69 is no exception. Kate – Mother to four – three from her first marriage, and a daughter with her current husband, David. Her only son, Tiger, was recently drafted to Vietnam, and Kate spends her summer on Nantucket struggling to cope, anxiously waiting to hear from him, desperately hoping he'll come home safe. Blair (24) – Kate's eldest daughter. Married to a workaholic, and heavily pregnant with her first child, she's stuck in Boston for the summer, bored to tears. Kirby (20) – Kate's middle daughter. Informs her family she will be spending her summer break from college working on Martha's Vineyard. Jessie (13) – Kate's youngest daughter. She's dreading spending her entire summer with just her mother and grandmother, Exalta, for company. Shares a close bond with Tiger, and writes diary-like letters to him. Soak in the sun with this vivid, captivating, engrossing novel, incorporating both a seasonal and historical feel. Or, same as I did last year with The Perfect Couple, burrow under the duvet with your electric blanket on high. Prominent themes are belonging and acceptance, finding your place in the world, family secrets, first love and coming-of-age. Deals with some serious issues and topics, some pertinent to the 1960’s, others just as relevant today. There's a huge focus on familial relationships, particularly mothers and daughters, but also grandmother and grandchildren, sisters, marriages, new motherhood, and mother and son. Elin Hilderbrand’s beautiful and intricate descriptions of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard made me feel like I was actually there experiencing it all along with the characters – the houses, beaches, restaurants, food, country club, etc, all sounded wonderful. The lifestyle, pop culture, references, clothing, dialogue, and opinions came across as authentic to the time period, and I like that the author thought to include real events. Song titles as chapter headings really set the mood, and the handy spotify list that Elin Hilderbrand created allowed me listen while reading, making it feel even more like 1969. The perfect book to unwind and relax on the beach with.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Renee (itsbooktalk)

    Well I’m an outlier again with this review. I've found that Elin Hilderbrand is a hit or miss author for me over the years. I've loved a few of her books...Barefoot, The Rumor, The Blue Bistro, and A Summer Affair but not loved many others as well. This one, unfortunately, falls into the latter category. ⠀⠀ The set up was enticing to start off. We hear about Tiger, favorite son of Kate and brother of Jessie (youngest), Kirby (middle) and Blair (oldest) who's been drafted to Vietnam. Kate is devas Well I’m an outlier again with this review. I've found that Elin Hilderbrand is a hit or miss author for me over the years. I've loved a few of her books...Barefoot, The Rumor, The Blue Bistro, and A Summer Affair but not loved many others as well. This one, unfortunately, falls into the latter category. ⠀⠀ The set up was enticing to start off. We hear about Tiger, favorite son of Kate and brother of Jessie (youngest), Kirby (middle) and Blair (oldest) who's been drafted to Vietnam. Kate is devastated and consequently spends most of the book drinking her worries away and being a negligent mother. I didn't like her in the beginning and I still didn't like her in the end. Kirby and Blair are each dealing with their own life challenges, so we get alternating chapters from their perspectives as well. ⠀⠀ While we do get occasional setting details, I was surprised by the lack of beach/scenery/summertime details that we really come to expect from EH's stories. There's quite a lot of food and meal details which I know many love but I skimmed these parts. I found the chapters to be long but when I looked back, the long chapters didn't really help me get to know any of the characters beyond what I felt was surface level. If I had to pick, I'd say I felt like we got the most in depth look into Jessie's character but I felt like there could've been more. I would've liked to have felt more invested in this family but I just didn't. I stuck with it for Kirby and Jessie but in the end, this was an underwhelming read for me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    It's not officially summer for me until I've read an Elin Hilderbrand book by the pool or sitting on the beach so luckily for me, I was able to read this one Memorial Day weekend, poolside, with a fruity beverage in hand. Hilderbrand's first historical novel was everything that I've come to expect from the queen of the summer novel and more.  In classic Hilderbrand style, Summer of '69 revolves around the lives of several members of the Foley-Levin family and of course, Nantucket is the main sett It's not officially summer for me until I've read an Elin Hilderbrand book by the pool or sitting on the beach so luckily for me, I was able to read this one Memorial Day weekend, poolside, with a fruity beverage in hand. Hilderbrand's first historical novel was everything that I've come to expect from the queen of the summer novel and more.  In classic Hilderbrand style, Summer of '69 revolves around the lives of several members of the Foley-Levin family and of course, Nantucket is the main setting although Martha's Vineyard gets some love in this book too. This is a summer of dramatic changes for the family as Tiger, 19, has just been drafted for Vietnam. His mother Kate is obviously overcome with worry and grief. Kate's daughters, Blair, 24, Kirby, 20, and Jesse, who just turned 13 (and is the daughter of her second husband David) also face their own considerable life changes this summer as each of their stories intertwine in some way. It's through these sister's voices, Kate's, and letters exchanged by Tiger and Jesse this story is told. Every character is so real, wholly persuasive, and each of their issues becomes ones I cared about no matter how big or small.  Blair is pregnant with twins and miserable as she smokes cigarettes and drinks to get rid of morning sickness (really how are any of us '70s babies alive?). Her husband Angus is a brilliant astrophysicist working  24/7 on the Apollo 11 moon landing, leaving her lonely and alone.  Kirby, the family rebel known for her political protesting, forgoes the summer stay on Nantucket for a job at a hotel on Martha's Vineyard where she meets the rich and famous, people like Teddy Kennedy, who crashes his car off Chappaquiddick Island that fateful summer. Then her romantic troubles keep causing her difficulties.  Jesse is closest to Tiger and besides wanting to grow up faster, she most looks forward to his letters from Vietnam. He's the one she shares her secrets with as she finds first love over the summer. Yet, she's not completely happy, thanks to Exalta, her tough as nails grandmother who casts a judgemental gaze on everything and everyone.   Kate is the voice I most identified with: the mother, the one worried her son wouldn't come back from war while also worried about her other kids. She's a compelling character who showed the realism of being a mom―strength and weakness but always love for her children. Hilderbrand has woven together the historical moments from that summer using her trademark style that has never let me down as a reader (make sure you read the author's notes about the inspiration for the story!), and it's just a perfect read.  Summer of '69 is nostalgic, poignant, retrospective, and packed with details that made the novel feel vivid and alive for me, a time I've heard, watched movies, and read about but was almost a decade before I was born! I laughed and oh, did I cry while reading this. It's out on 6/18th and if you haven't already pre-ordered it, then you need to. It's the definitive summer of 2019 read! **Thank you Little, Brown, and Company for the gifted copy. All opinions are my own.**

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    AWESOME SUMMER READ!And what a trip down memory lane! Hilderbrand certainly did her research to bring the late 1960's to life. I know bc I lived it.With song lyrics from the music we listened to (minus ELVIS), the clothing we wore, vehicles we drove, sitcoms we watched on TV and, of course, the APOLLO 11 moon launch. There are also numerous books of the time referenced, and oh, the Bobby Kennedy scandal is also worked into the storyline. Aside from the Vietnam War, it was a wonderful time to be AWESOME SUMMER READ!And what a trip down memory lane! Hilderbrand certainly did her research to bring the late 1960's to life. I know bc I lived it.With song lyrics from the music we listened to (minus ELVIS), the clothing we wore, vehicles we drove, sitcoms we watched on TV and, of course, the APOLLO 11 moon launch. There are also numerous books of the time referenced, and oh, the Bobby Kennedy scandal is also worked into the storyline. Aside from the Vietnam War, it was a wonderful time to be a teen (for me).The story intertwines three families during the Summer of '69, Nantucket; the main focus on the Nichols/Foley/Levin brood. There's a coming-of-age story with Jessie (my favorite), a mother with a complex secret from the past in emotional turmoil over her son's deployment to Vietnam, a marriage and relationships in disarray and a grandmother with deep pockets hiding a secret of her own.Entertaining work of historical fiction!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ Maybe, just maybe, this summer will end up being one that people write songs about. ^^^^That’s what comes to mind for 99.9999% of you, right? It may have taken 370 pages, but at least the pink elephant in the room was finally addressed ; ) Elin Hilderbrand don’t need homegirl’s help selling her books so why don’t we just get to the giffing???? The story here is exactly what the title says – about the summer of 1969. The cover is a Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ Maybe, just maybe, this summer will end up being one that people write songs about. ^^^^That’s what comes to mind for 99.9999% of you, right? It may have taken 370 pages, but at least the pink elephant in the room was finally addressed ; ) Elin Hilderbrand don’t need homegirl’s help selling her books so why don’t we just get to the giffing???? The story here is exactly what the title says – about the summer of 1969. The cover is a bit misleading, however, because the focus isn’t on . . . . But rather on various family members as they make their annual pilgrimage to Nantucket for the summer. We congregate at matriarch Exalta’s home. Oh Exalta. She’s just so awful that you know she’ll end up with an epic redemption arc and you’re going to fall in love with her before it’s all over . . . . Then we have the Levines. There’s momma Kate, who spends most of her time . . . . (Can I just take a second to say this is my favorite gif of all time. She’s my spirit animal.) Ever since only son Tiger had to go do this . . . . Oldest daughter Blair is having a bit of a rough summer . . . . . While her husband is getting ready to fake the for the moon landing down in Texas with these guys . . . . . Middle daughter Kirby has opted to spend her break down the way at the Vineyard in order to spread her wings a bit away from the family and perhaps practice what she preaches when it comes to equal rights . . . . And then there’s the youngest, Jessica. Her 13th summer will be one she doesn’t forget . . . . There’s even a cameo by Teddy Kennedy. Y’all remember what he did that summer, right???? This was another poolside read. I actually went home burned after realizing there was not enough sunblock in the universe to save my pasty ass, but there was zero chance I was going to let real life interrupt my time in 1969. And to think I was actually annoyed when I heard about the release of this book too because I was wanting a sequel (who am I, even????) for Winter In Paradise. I was about to get all angrified that Summer of ‘69 was coming out instead. But I sucked it up, put away Shelby’s Trademarked Butthurt Form and went ahead and got on the library wait list. I haven’t had a summer this chicky in as long as I can remember. First with these books and then . . . . As Martha Stewart would say . . . . Wait, that’s Martha 2.0. I’m talking about original Martha . . . . My apologies to anyone without an unlimited data plan. Good thing the month is almost over, right????

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brandice

    Summer of ‘69 was my second Elin Hilderbrand book this year. 1969 was almost 20 years before I was around so I enjoyed reading about this (new to me) era and learning more about historical events I was only slightly familiar with. The story follows the Levin family in the summer of 1969, which they spent in Nantucket. Blair, Kirby, and Jessie are sisters at different stages in their life — Blair is newly married and pregnant, Kirby is a college student and social activist, attempting to find her Summer of ‘69 was my second Elin Hilderbrand book this year. 1969 was almost 20 years before I was around so I enjoyed reading about this (new to me) era and learning more about historical events I was only slightly familiar with. The story follows the Levin family in the summer of 1969, which they spent in Nantucket. Blair, Kirby, and Jessie are sisters at different stages in their life — Blair is newly married and pregnant, Kirby is a college student and social activist, attempting to find her place in the adult world, and Jessie is a recent teenager, trying to balance friendships, peer pressure, and summer crushes. Their brother, Tiger, was drafted and is serving in Vietnam. Over the course of the summer, the Levin family members deal with their own challenges, plus a few secrets along the way. I was curious to see how things would play out for each of them individually, and collectively, as a family. Kirby was my favorite character. Summer of ‘69 is a great historical fiction story, prime for soaking up a few more days of summer.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    3.5 stars Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review. Elin Hilderbrand states that her twin brother has always encouraged her to explore the summer they were born in one of her novels. Summer of 69 is that novel and sweeps readers back to Nixon, Vietnam, Senator Ted Kennedy and the Chappaquiddick scandal, women's issues, Woodstock, racial equality, class differences, the Moon landing and summertime in Nantucket. The Foley/Levin famil 3.5 stars Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review. Elin Hilderbrand states that her twin brother has always encouraged her to explore the summer they were born in one of her novels. Summer of 69 is that novel and sweeps readers back to Nixon, Vietnam, Senator Ted Kennedy and the Chappaquiddick scandal, women's issues, Woodstock, racial equality, class differences, the Moon landing and summertime in Nantucket. The Foley/Levin family knows that this summer will be a different one. The recent deployment of only son, Tiger to Vietnam sees their mother, Kate, distant and losing herself to the bottle. Stepfather, David stays in the city and consumes himself with legal work. Oldest daughter Blair confronts the fact that marriage is not exactly what she dreamed. Wild child Kirby wants to prove her adulthood by heading to Martha's Vineyard instead of spending summer with the family. Youngest daughter Jessie is on the brink of adolescence and experiences her first twinges of young love. And finally, matriarch Exalta is trying what she can to keep all of her family together while also keeping secrets of her own. Just like their country, the summer of 69 is one that this family will never forget. What I thought: I thought this book was definitely good. It took me awhile before I really felt in the mood to read but eventually I hit my stride. There's a good mix of nostalgia and history that made it easy to transport myself to the Summer of 69. Of course, having "visited " Nantucket so many times with EH in her contemporary novels it certainly made it an easy fit. Despite the different time period, family and all the issues that arise are always brilliantly handled by Hilderbrand. For me, Summer of 69 was all about the fictional characters that take turns in telling the story. The character of Jessie made me think about Reese Witherspoon's Dani Trant( The Man in the Moon 1991) or Anna Chlumsky's Vada Sultenfuss( My Girl ,1991) and she was quite possibly my favorite character despite having "met" her character before. Kirby and Blair were both women of their generation, but in saying that I felt there was nothing new to explore as it's already been stated in so many ways by authors and screenwriters. Mother Kate had my empathy but also my frustration which makes me tip my hat to EH. But Grandmother Exalta(who is not a narrator but has a larger than life personality )was such a riddle that I found her the most fascinating. Her relationships with Jessie and Kirby were the highlights of the novel for me. Also the prologue and "Fortunate Son" (Reprise) were the two places in the book where I ugly cried. Also how cool were the chapter titles(Both Sides Now, Born to Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride, Piece of My Heart etc) ? Although I cannot emphatically say that this was one of my favorites, it's a great summer read. Goodreads Review 26/06/19 Publication Date. 18/06/19

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sheyla ✎

    Summer of '69 was a good way to forget what is going on around the world. The story centers in one family: The Levins/Nichols (Although, Kate was a Foley at some point. She was married to Wilder Foley). Kate Levin is the mother. Kate is devastated that her only son, Tiger has been drafted to Vietnam. She's terrified he is going to die during this terrible war. She believes this is life paying her back for a secret she has been carrying for a long time. Kate knows she's drinking too much while Summer of '69 was a good way to forget what is going on around the world. The story centers in one family: The Levins/Nichols (Although, Kate was a Foley at some point. She was married to Wilder Foley). Kate Levin is the mother. Kate is devastated that her only son, Tiger has been drafted to Vietnam. She's terrified he is going to die during this terrible war. She believes this is life paying her back for a secret she has been carrying for a long time. Kate knows she's drinking too much while her marriage and her relationship with her daughters are deteriorating. The oldest daughter, Blair is married and pregnant. She is unhappy with her husband, Angus who's a physicist who doesn't want her to pursue her career. Instead, he wants her to stay at home barefoot and pregnant which is terribly lonely since he doesn't get home until very late every day. Furthermore, her husband also has some spells were he doesn't want to go out of the house at all and wants to seclude himself instead. Kirby is the middle sister. She is all about fighting for civil rights, love not war, getting high and living free. Although, recently after she got in trouble with a man, she wants to heal and spend the summer at Martha's Vineyard. She's offered a job working the graveyard shift which she takes. She wants to prove she can be self-sufficient. In regards to her heart, She's not ready to date again until she meets Darren. Lastly, there is Jessie, the half-sister. She just turned thirteen and the last thing she wants to do is to stay with her mother Kate and her grandmother, Exalta in Nantucket for the summer. It's implicit that she would need to start taking tennis lessons even though it is not a sport she wants to learn. It doesn't help that her first class in nothing but a nightmare. *** Going back to Nantucket through Elin Hilderbrand's vision is always fun. But this time, it was not only Nantucket that was relevant but instead she decided to transport us to 1969. A year which was important for America and the world for so many reasons. Some awe-inspiring moments but also some terrible tragedies occurred during this time. Summer of '69 had relatable characters. I liked them all except maybe I never really warm up to the Exalta. I can't wait for Mrs. Hilderbrand's next Nantucket beach read. Cliffhanger: No 4/5 Fangs MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

  18. 4 out of 5

    Meredith B. (readingwithmere)

    4 stars! And maybe, just maybe, this summer will end up being one that people write songs about. Is it really summer if you don't read an Elin Hilderbrand book? I truly look forward to her books every single summer and this one did not disappoint! It's 1969 and the Levin family is ready to go to Nantucket where they go every summer. Before that though, their worst nightmare happened - their son, Tiger, was drafted and sent to the Vietnam war and there's nothing they can do to stop it. The three 4 stars! And maybe, just maybe, this summer will end up being one that people write songs about. Is it really summer if you don't read an Elin Hilderbrand book? I truly look forward to her books every single summer and this one did not disappoint! It's 1969 and the Levin family is ready to go to Nantucket where they go every summer. Before that though, their worst nightmare happened - their son, Tiger, was drafted and sent to the Vietnam war and there's nothing they can do to stop it. The three siblings back in Nantucket are on their own. Blair is pregnant, Kirby is trying to make the world a better place and work through civil right struggles and Jessie is a thirteen year old just trying to figure out where her place is in the world. The story dives into each of the siblings stories as well as their struggling mother and their grandmother who has secrets of her own! Each of the Levin family members is trying to get through life their own way. Each person goes through their own personal struggle as well as the struggles that men and women both went through during the 1969 time period. One thing is for sure even when this family is apart, they always come together. I'm not typically a fan of historical fiction but I really enjoyed this book. You look at the cover and you think this is going to be a light beach read, right? Wrong. This story has so much depth and so much content. Let me just say I am SO happy I was not a woman in 1969 as they were not treated that well however I am thankful for the struggles they went through in order to get women to where we are today. And to all your war heroes (including some of my own family members) hats of to you. From what I know the Vietnam war was a tough one and to anyone who fights to defend mine and the USA's freedom is a true hero as well as their families. Definitely pick this one up if the 60's/70's interest you and you want to read about all the different struggles a seemingly normal family went through behind the scenes. Plus, Elin Hilderbrand is just a great writer!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Katie B

    I finally got around to reading my first Elin Hilderbrand novel and I really enjoyed it. I love how cultural moments of that summer of 1969 were interjected into the storyline. This was just a nice book to sit back and relax with and I look forward to checking out more of her books in the future. Every year the Levin family spends their summer on the island of Nantucket. However things are different this year as the only son, Tiger, has been shipped to Vietnam. His mother, Kate, is having a hard I finally got around to reading my first Elin Hilderbrand novel and I really enjoyed it. I love how cultural moments of that summer of 1969 were interjected into the storyline. This was just a nice book to sit back and relax with and I look forward to checking out more of her books in the future. Every year the Levin family spends their summer on the island of Nantucket. However things are different this year as the only son, Tiger, has been shipped to Vietnam. His mother, Kate, is having a hard time dealing with the fact her son might not make it home alive. Her oldest daughter, Blair, is pregnant and is married to a man who isn't all that supportive. Middle daughter, Kirby, is determined to fight the injustices of the world and decides to spend this summer working on Martha's Vineyard. Poor thirteen year old Jessie, is kinda lost in the shuffle and will be forced to spend most of the summer on Nantucket with her grandmother. It seems like everyone in the family is hiding a secret or two. Uh oh. This book can be classified as historical fiction and that's because a few events in history like the moonwalk, and the Vietnam War are a part of the story. However it's much more of a typical fiction read though as the story revolves around the three daughters and their mother. There was a little substance to the story so it wasn't a total fluffy read. It touched on such subjects like race, motherhood, the expectations of a woman's role during that era along with some other issues. It didn't feel though like a heavy read in which the writer gets overly ambitious trying to cram in so many topics. For the most part I felt each subject brought into the story had a purpose and even though not everything was fully explored, I thought that was in the best interest of the story as things seemed to happen in a more natural way. This book might not have been quite a 5 star read but it is one I enjoyed reading as it was a good distraction type read. Sometimes I just want to sit back with a nice, comfortable story that doesn't require too much focus or concentration. Even though this was my first novel by the author, I feel pretty confident in putting her in the dependable storyteller category. Definitely recommend checking this one out especially if you enjoy stories revolving around families.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    Times are tense in the “Summer of ‘69” for the Levin family. Kate and her husband’s marriage has hit a rough patch due to the fact that Kate’s son Tiger has been drafted. Blair, Kate’s eldest daughter, is pregnant with twins while Blair’s husband Angus grows more distant by the day; Kirby, Kate’s middle daughter’s life is in shambles due to some poor life choices and Jessie, Kate and her husband’s youngest daughter, is dealing with growing pains. With Tiger away, Kate, her mother Exalta and Jessi Times are tense in the “Summer of ‘69” for the Levin family. Kate and her husband’s marriage has hit a rough patch due to the fact that Kate’s son Tiger has been drafted. Blair, Kate’s eldest daughter, is pregnant with twins while Blair’s husband Angus grows more distant by the day; Kirby, Kate’s middle daughter’s life is in shambles due to some poor life choices and Jessie, Kate and her husband’s youngest daughter, is dealing with growing pains. With Tiger away, Kate, her mother Exalta and Jessie take their annual summer trip to Nantucket, while Kate’s husband and Blair stay in Boston and Kirby goes to Martha’s Vineyard for the summer. It’s the “Summer of ‘69” after all and nothing is easy, especially when life is hard and communication does not flow freely. Another character driven saga by Elin Hilderbrand that kept me engrossed by the trials and tribulations the Levin family experiences during the most difficult of times. My favorite character in this novel is Jessie or “messy” as her brother Tiger refers to her as. Captivating, intriguing and wise, Jessie stole my heart. This is my second novel by Elin Hilderbrand and I am glad that I am discovering her novels as they are perfect reads for the summer. Thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of this audiobook. Published on Goodreads on 7.19.20.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    Full disclosure time: I was born in 1969 (no comment from the youngsters out there), and I get totally jazzed when that year is mentioned in pop culture. I swear, when the Eagles sing the lyric "We haven't had that spirit here since 1969" in Hotel California , I grin like a total jackass. So needless to say, I absolutely had to read Elin Hilderbrand's Summer of '69 , partially inspired because it was the year she and her twin brother were born as well. Every summer the Foley-Levin family loo Full disclosure time: I was born in 1969 (no comment from the youngsters out there), and I get totally jazzed when that year is mentioned in pop culture. I swear, when the Eagles sing the lyric "We haven't had that spirit here since 1969" in Hotel California , I grin like a total jackass. So needless to say, I absolutely had to read Elin Hilderbrand's Summer of '69 , partially inspired because it was the year she and her twin brother were born as well. Every summer the Foley-Levin family looks forward to spending the season at their grandmother's home in downtown Nantucket. But this year, things are different, and only 13-year-old Jessie will be in Nantucket with her mother and grandmother (and weekend visits from her father). Jessie's oldest sister Blair is stuck in Boston, awaiting the birth of twins and dealing with suspicions about her husband, an astrophysics professor at MIT. Her outspoken other sister, Kirby, already participating in civil rights protests while in college, has taken a job on Martha's Vineyard for the summer so she can further express her independence. And the greatest source of anxiety is Jessie's brother, Tiger, who has been deployed to Vietnam. As Jessie tries to navigate what it's like to be on the cusp of womanhood amidst a status-conscious grandmother and a mother wracked with guilt and worry about the fate of her son, the rest of the family experiences their share of drama as well. And as the crises and positive moments occur, they do so against an historical backdrop of events, from the Apollo 11 landing on the moon to the Chappaquiddick tragedy and, of course, the fears caused by the Vietnam War. I read Hildebrand's 28 Summers last month and absolutely fell in love with it. I was a little less enamored of this one. I was hoping for more of a laid-back, beachy vibe with this book, but the juxtaposition of family and relationship drama along with historical events didn't quite work for me. Despite all of the different things happening to the characters, I never quite felt emotionally connected to them or the story as a whole. I do love the way Hildebrand tells a story, however, so I'm still going to be plowing through her backlist! Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html. Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Book of the Month

    Why I love it Siobhan Jones We pick the books a few months in advance here at BOTM, so all the reading for June occurs sometime in mid-March. Maybe that was why I warmed to Summer of ‘69 so readily—this beachy, feel-good story with ample family drama and purple haze-era feels had me practically smelling the sunscreen. Then again, maybe I just liked this book so much because it was another satisfying winner from an author who always delivers the goods. Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical novel plops Why I love it Siobhan Jones We pick the books a few months in advance here at BOTM, so all the reading for June occurs sometime in mid-March. Maybe that was why I warmed to Summer of ‘69 so readily—this beachy, feel-good story with ample family drama and purple haze-era feels had me practically smelling the sunscreen. Then again, maybe I just liked this book so much because it was another satisfying winner from an author who always delivers the goods. Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical novel plops us right into the flower power milieu of the ‘60s with a Vietnam draft notice. From then on, as we are introduced to the different members of the Levin family—the smart and stubborn Blair; the irascible Kirby; only-son Tiger; and the youngest, the quietly observant Jessie—these cultural easter eggs abound. Civil rights protests animate the news cycle while the Space Race captures the country’s imagination. Yet even as our protagonists navigate this rapidly changing world, their own trials and tribulations—finding young love, questioning authority, and even investigating long-buried family secrets—remain at the forefront of this completely charming read set over the course of one summer in Nantucket. Anyone familiar with Hilderbrand’s books (BOTM has featured The Identicals and Winter in Paradise ) is aware of her effortless ability to craft nuanced, heartfelt stories set in cozy, aspirational places, and this new one is just that: a light read set in a beach town that you’ll devour in one poolside sitting. Readers looking for a breezy escape need look no further—make Summer of ‘69 your June pick! Read more at: https://bookofthemonth.com/summer-of-...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marc

    I really enjoyed the story and characters and it was nice to take a break from the trying times we currently live in. It's kind of funny I say that because 1969 was hardly a peaceful or calm time! This is a perfect beach read and if you're looking to take your mind off of things I think you will enjoy this. I really enjoyed the story and characters and it was nice to take a break from the trying times we currently live in. It's kind of funny I say that because 1969 was hardly a peaceful or calm time! This is a perfect beach read and if you're looking to take your mind off of things I think you will enjoy this.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    INTOXICATING! “Summer does something to the brain. It’s intoxicating. Everything shimmers." So says a character in Summer People, a previous novel by Hilderbrand, which captures the essence of her entire oeuvre. ENGAGING BACKSTORY I’ve devoured every book she’s written, so taken with her addictive stories set on Nantucket. Her own backstory is engaging, including how she came to the island, her education at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, her world travels, her survival of breast cancer and a post-sur INTOXICATING! “Summer does something to the brain. It’s intoxicating. Everything shimmers." So says a character in Summer People, a previous novel by Hilderbrand, which captures the essence of her entire oeuvre. ENGAGING BACKSTORY I’ve devoured every book she’s written, so taken with her addictive stories set on Nantucket. Her own backstory is engaging, including how she came to the island, her education at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, her world travels, her survival of breast cancer and a post-surgical infection that nearly killed her. Her joie de vivre informs both her writing and her life and is as intoxicating as the summers she describes in her novels. KENNEDY, MOON, WOODSTOCK SUMMER OF ‘69 is her newest and her first historical novel. It’s a compelling slice of Americana, with the war in ‘Nam in full force. Senator Ted Kennedy’s fateful accident July 18, in which he drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick killing passenger Mary Jo Kopechne. Two days later the first moon landing. Woodstock making musical history the following month. TIGER IN ‘NAM All are enfolded into the absorbing plot, which focuses on four siblings in a wealthy Massachusetts family including Tiger, their only son drafted and sent off to fight in ‘Nam. SMELL THE GANJA I heard the author’s energetic CBS interview this week in which she explained that she and her twin brother were born that July, so the book is especially personal. It’s evident in the way Hilderbrand masterfully weaves together narrative, characters and dialogue. I care about these kids, smell the ganja in the air, hear “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” on the radio, feel the terror the family feels every time there’s a knock on the door that might mean they’ve lost Tiger. A captivating read! 5/5 Pub Date 18 Jun 2019. Available on Amazon. #Summerof’69 #ElinHilderbrand

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand is a historical fiction novel that follows the Levin family during the summer of 1969. Of course with the book focusing on the various family members in this family the point of view does change between them. For years the Levin family has spent summers in Nantucket visiting their grandmother’s historic home. This year however the family is being pulled apart in their own directions. Tiger, the only son, has been drafted into the military and will be sent to the Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand is a historical fiction novel that follows the Levin family during the summer of 1969. Of course with the book focusing on the various family members in this family the point of view does change between them. For years the Levin family has spent summers in Nantucket visiting their grandmother’s historic home. This year however the family is being pulled apart in their own directions. Tiger, the only son, has been drafted into the military and will be sent to the war in Vietnam and this has affected each of the rest in various ways. Blair, the oldest Levin has gotten married to a man who works with NASA and is spending her summer home alone as he works on putting a man on the moon. Kirby is the middle daughter who is a young free spirit known to protest the latest cause. Instead of heading to Nantucket Kirby has found a summer job in Martha’s Vineyard. And Jessie, the youngest and a half sibling to the older children, is turning thirteen and not looking forward to a summer alone with her mother and grandmother. Looking back at the history books 1969 was really a very busy year and somewhat a turning point on a lot of issues. Elin Hilderbrand did a wonderful job centering this fictional family right in the middle of so many events that it brought the era to life wonderfully. It was also nice to see the differences in personalities and how they handled what was going on at any given time. Definitely a great read I am rating at 4 1/2 stars. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    The delight of any Elin Hilderbrand book is the wonderful quirky cast of characters and her ability to transport you to her beach destinations for a mini-vacation. We’re back on Nantucket (and Martha’s Vineyard) for the summer, staying in seaside cottages, going to the beach, enjoying Portuguese bread and BLTs, lobster, corn coleslaw and strawberry shortcake (the food descriptions in this one were absolutely decadent.) It’s the summer of 1969, David and Kate have four children. Their oldest daug The delight of any Elin Hilderbrand book is the wonderful quirky cast of characters and her ability to transport you to her beach destinations for a mini-vacation. We’re back on Nantucket (and Martha’s Vineyard) for the summer, staying in seaside cottages, going to the beach, enjoying Portuguese bread and BLTs, lobster, corn coleslaw and strawberry shortcake (the food descriptions in this one were absolutely decadent.) It’s the summer of 1969, David and Kate have four children. Their oldest daughter Blair is in an unhappy marriage, about to give birth, another daughter Kirby is part of the women’s rights movement, their son Tiger is fighting in Vietnam, and daughter Jessie is stuck under her grandmother’s thumb, being dragged to the club and forced into tennis lessons. Each person’s individual story was woven into a larger tapestry, and it was one of those large family epics that really worked with lots of POV because we got to relax and spend a while in each segment of the story. Absolutely loved this tale. (And, Elin Hildebrand, I’m still holding out that you will one day write another AMAZING Christmas series, because even though you are absolute queen of the beach read, you are soooo good at bringing the Christmas, too! I will always treasure Winter Street!) Trigger Warnings: (view spoiler)[ sexual assault (hide spoiler)] Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    The significant historical events of 1969 are uniquely interwoven into the personal lives of the Levin family. SUMMARY Summer of ‘69 is a family saga centered on four siblings. The mother Kate Levin has taken to drinking after her only son, Tiger is drafted and sent to Vietnam. Blair, the eldest sibling is pregnant with twins and escapes to Nantucket while her astrophysicist husband Angus, is consumed by his work on the the Apollo space launch. Middle sister Kirby, is spreading her wings on Marth The significant historical events of 1969 are uniquely interwoven into the personal lives of the Levin family. SUMMARY Summer of ‘69 is a family saga centered on four siblings. The mother Kate Levin has taken to drinking after her only son, Tiger is drafted and sent to Vietnam. Blair, the eldest sibling is pregnant with twins and escapes to Nantucket while her astrophysicist husband Angus, is consumed by his work on the the Apollo space launch. Middle sister Kirby, is spreading her wings on Martha’s Vineyard this summer after getting arrested for protesting and a recent breakup with a married man. Jessie is 13, and the youngest sibling and facing puberty. She has a crush on Pick, the grandson of the family’s longtime caretaker and is consumed with her brother’s absence. REVIEW The Summer of ‘69 happens to be a significant time in the personal life of author Elin Hildebrand. That was the summer that she and her brother were born. This story serves as a historical capsulation of the significant events from that summer. The Apollo 11 mission, Chappaquiddick, Woodstock and the Vietnam war are all referenced in the book. Each of these events are interwoven into the personal lives of members of the Levin family. An interesting twist on the historical fiction genre. The story is that of a privileged-family summer drama. The writing was good and this just may make a nice beach read if you are looking some something light and breezy. But you may find yourself easily distracted by the sand, the sun and the waves. The rock-and-roll era of the day is given a nod through the themed chapter titles which are drawn from songs popular at the time like: Born to Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride, White Rabbit, and a Whiter Shade of Pale. I listened to the audible edition of the story and enjoyed the narration.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Monika Sadowski

    I wasn’t sure if I should give 3 or 4 stars. The book started good but then I got bored but then I wanted to know how it finished. I guess it’s just a light, summer reading :)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    [2.5] Unfortunately, more mopey privilege than easy breezy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    Summer reading at its best!! I enjoy reading her novels and this little historic charmer, her first, was absolutely amazing! ❤️

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