No matter what the world throws her way, at least Ruthie Beamish has the house. Lovingly renovated, located by the sea in a quiet village two ferry rides from the glitzier Hamptons, the house is Ruthie’s nest egg–the retirement account shared with her ex-husband, Mike, and the college fund for their teenage daughter, Jem. The catch? To afford the house, Ruthie must let it go during the best part of the year.
It’s Memorial Day weekend and Ruthie has packed up their belongings for what Jem calls “the summer bummer” the family’s annual exodus to make way for renters. This year, the Hamptons set has arrived. Adeline Clay is elegant, connected, and accompanied by a “gorgeous satellite” stepson.
The widow of a blue-chip artist, in a world defined by luxury and ease, Adeline demonstrates an uncanny ability to help herself to Ruthie’s life. Is Adeline just being her fabulous self, or is she out to take what she wants?
When an eccentric billionaire, his wayward daughter, a coterie of social climbers, and Ruthie’s old flame are thrown into the mix, the entire town finds itself on the verge of tumultuous change. But as Ruthie loses her grasp on her job, her home, and her family, she discovers a new talent for pushing back. By the end of one unhinged, unforgettable summer, nothing will be the same–least of all Ruthie.
In a novel packed with indelible characters, crackling wit, and upstairs/downstairs drama, Judy Blundell emerges as a voice for all seasons–a wry and original storyteller who knows how the most disruptive events in our lives can twist endings into new beginnings.
The High Season by Judy Blundell
Publication Date: May 22, 2018 by Random House
When I received an email with the opportunity to request a copy of The High Season for a lunch book club discussion at Penguin Random House’s Spring Open House, I saw it as the opportunity to continue my quest to read novels outside of my comfort zone. After taking a half day at work yesterday in an attempt to give myself some much-needed rest time, I sat down on the couch with the intention of reading for an hour or two. I ended up reading almost the entire novel that afternoon/evening because I became so wrapped up in Blundell’s characters and their personal narratives!
The High Season contains all the elements that made me love Big Little Lies – memorable characters, genuine drama, and a whirlwind of feelings. While it took me a few chapters to get fully absorbed (not the novel’s fault – I was worried the book would be a little “fluffy” for my taste), I found myself especially connected to Ruthie, Jem, and Doe and couldn’t stop reading until I knew how everything would end up for them.
I can see why Blundell has been so successful as an author of YA – everything about her characters felt so genuine and despite the novel having quite a few characters and storylines to keep track of, it was easy to feel attached to everyone and recognize that they all were more complicated than at first glance. While the book is in some ways easy to categorize into a “beach” read because of the setting (hello, Hamptons), The High Season is a rich, complicated novel that I can only wish would get enough attention to be turned into its own mini-series (I’m looking at you, Reese Witherspoon).