Review | Cocoa Beach | Beatriz Williams
Thank you to TLC Book Tours and the Publisher for my free copy!
Publication Date: June 27th, 2017
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Page Count: 400
Synopsis: From the publisher-
The New York Times bestselling author of A Certain Age transports readers to sunny Florida in this lush and enthralling historical novel—an enchanting blend of love, suspense, betrayal, and redemption set among the rumrunners and scoundrels of Prohibition-era Cocoa Beach.
Burdened by a dark family secret, Virginia Fortescue flees her oppressive home in New York City for the battlefields of World War I France. While an ambulance driver for the Red Cross, she meets a charismatic British army surgeon whose persistent charm opens her heart to the possibility of love. As the war rages, Virginia falls into a passionate affair with the dashing Captain Simon Fitzwilliam, only to discover that his past has its own dark secrets—secrets that will damage their eventual marriage and propel her back across the Atlantic to the sister and father she left behind.
Five years later, in the early days of Prohibition, the newly widowed Virginia Fitzwilliam arrives in the tropical boomtown of Cocoa Beach, Florida, to settle her husband’s estate. Despite the evidence, Virginia does not believe Simon perished in the fire that destroyed the seaside home he built for her and their young daughter. Separated from her husband since the early days of their marriage, the headstrong Virginia plans to uncover the truth, for the sake of the daughter Simon never met.
Simon’s brother and sister welcome her with open arms and introduce her to a dazzling new world of citrus groves, white beaches, bootleggers, and Prohibition agents. But Virginia senses a predatory presence lurking beneath the irresistible, hedonistic surface of this coastal oasis. The more she learns about Simon and his mysterious business interests, the more she fears that the dangers that surrounded Simon now threaten her and their daughter’s life as well.
Opening Sentence: ""My dear wife, let me tell you about this pen.”
My Thoughts: Beatriz Williams has recently become one of my favorite authors. I started reading her via the Schuyler Sister Series, and fell in love with her world building and ability to tell a story. Cocoa Beach provides an interesting angle traditional historical fiction- here, we also have mystery. What really happened to Captain Simon Fitzwilliam? Was the fire an accident, as his family is saying, or is there something more sinister at play? And are Virginia and her daughter truly safe? I read the prequel, A Certain Age, and found myself more intreguied by Virginia than the protagonist of that one, Sophie. She is a tough woman who stood against the standards that were set for women from a certain pedigree during that era. I enjoyed getting to read about her time in France as an ambulance driver- in fact, I would have liked to hear more about that than the budding romance. The characters were complex and the mystery as to what really happened to Simon drew me through the plot. The research is there- just read the author’s introduction to the Maitland Citrus plantation- and I have always appreciated the details Williams provides. That said, I think you’ll appreciate Cocoa Beach more if you’ve read the other two, as there are character tie ins. If you are not in for that kind of commitment I’d recommend my favorite standalone of hers, A Hundred Summers. I’ve nearly read all of her books at this point, and while Cocoa Beach wasn’t my favorite (That distinction going to The Secret Life of Violet Grant, Tiny Little Thing, and A Hundred Summers for 3 way tie), this did rank higher for me than either of the other two books in this series, The Wicked City and A Certain Age. If you like a book with a strong setting with family drama and a dash of mystery and romance, then this might do the trick for you.
Quote: "Long ago, I had learned that you could imagine anything you wanted, that the space inside your head belonged to you. Furnished and decorated and inhabited only by you, so that your insides teemed and seethed while your outward aspect remained serene.”
Find me me here!