Monday, June 8, 2020

Summer on the Bluffs by Sunny Hostin

I received an advanced copy of this novel from William Morrow/HarperCollins and if this doesn't scream summer, I don't know what does. It's a kick off your shoes, pour a cocktail, sit on your porch swing kind of a book, and perfect for a summer getaway (even if it's in your own backyard).

This novels oozes glamor, money, and lots of name dropping. Centering on New York City and Martha's Vineyard, it is the tale of three women who are goddaughters to Ama & Omar Tanner. Ama and Omar are an African American power couple in every way-both successful in their careers, wealthy, and connected to all the fabulous people. They built a summer home on Martha's Vineyard where they are part of Oak Bluffs society. However, Omar has died, and now Ama is gathering her goddaughters for one last summer, where she will reveal who will be granted sole ownership of Chateau Laveau. But in doing so, Ama may alienate the three women she loves the most. 

Perry, Olivia, and Billie are three very successful African American women, brought together as little girls by Ama and Omar. Each woman has become highly successful in their chosen careers: Perry is an attorney; Olivia is a wall street trader (like Ama), and Billie is a scientist working at Woods Hole. Each are beautiful, talented, and living their best lives. Except of course, there are always issues. Perry is married to her college sweetheart Damon, who is a doctor. She wants a baby, and after two years of trying, is frustrated. It's putting a strain on their marriage. Olivia is single and always feels less than because of her dark skin. Whenever she's out with Perry, the men always gravitate towards Perry's light skinned beauty. It's a source of anger for Olivia that men always pass her by in favor of other black women who have lighter skin. She simply wants to fall in love with a good man. Billie is gay, and afraid to come out to Ama, Perry, and Olivia. She has a girlfriend, and it's serious-and now she's got to be brave and be truthful. 

This was a fast read--it's close to 400 pages, but I definitely got caught up in this world and couldn't put it down. I spent most of the weekend reading it whenever I could, and getting household chores done so I could sit down and focus on the plot. Yes, it's pretty glamorous, and does discuss the issues African American women face in today's world. But it is also about women finding their happiness, coming to terms with their past, and realizing that those we put on pedestals are often only too human. Full of glitz, glamor, fabulous food, and lots of living large, this reminded me a lot of Anita Hughes novels. Total and complete "take me away" reading. I could definitely see this being a Netflix series! 

This is the first in the Oak Bluffs series, with the next book out in 2021. One thing I did learn reading this book: the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard, and the fascinating history behind this African American community. If you're interested, click on this link to read more about it. And yes, darn it, I really want to visit Martha's Vineyard. 

This book will be out in the U.S. on June 16 in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 

Rating: 4/6 for a novel full of beautiful people who seem to have it all, but don't have what they really want. Lots of glitz and glamor, beautiful places, and cultural references to who's who and what's what in East Coast living. I can't wait to read more! 

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