July 26, 2017

Bestie Beatriz Binge // The Collected Works


Kelly and I spent a few weeks reading through all of Beatriz Williams' books, and it was honestly one of the best reading experiences of my life. I loved the books, just as I'd expected. But even more than that - I loved reading them with my friend! We texted constantly while reading (with no spoilers, of course!) and then had lengthy phone conversations after we finished each one to chat about our reactions to all the twists and turns. We wanted to celebrate the power of books to bring friends together, and so Bestie Beatriz Binge was born. Today, we're sharing mini reviews of all nine books (and don't worry - no spoilers!):

OVERSEAS
Short & Sweet: In 1916 France, a young American woman, tracks down a handsome British officer, to give him vital information about his upcoming reconnaissance mission. He doesn't recognize her - or how she'd know about his life. In New York in 2007, a Wall Street analyst falls for a billionaire... and can't figure out why he seems so familiar.

You Had Me at: This was the fourth Beatriz Williams book that I read, but I believe it's the first one she published. Although it's probably my least favorite, I love that you can see the beginnings of so many things that become more prominent in her later books: gripping dual timelines, life-changing love, and mysterious connections. The time travel element was intriguing and unexpected, and I liked both settings! 

A HUNDRED SUMMERS
Short & Sweet: It's 1931, and Lily Dane and Nick Greenwald fall in love and get engaged. Everything seems perfect! But fast forward to summer 1938 in Rhode Island. Nick Greenwald is married... to Lily's former best friend. What drove Nick and Lily apart all those years ago? A natural disaster brings alllll the tension to the surface.

You Had Me at: This was my very first Beatriz Williams book, so I'll always have a special place for it in my heart! This was the book that made me realize I could fall in love with dual timelines, that transported me to the 1930s, and that highlighted Beatriz's love for scandalous secrets and delicious drama. I loved 1931 Nick and Lily so much that I was anxious to learn what happened and hoping they'd both find happiness in the end.

THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT
Short & Sweet: In 1964, Vivian Schuyler receives an unusual piece of mail that's postmarked from overseas and addressed to Violet Schuyler. She's naturally curious, and her investigation leads her to a crime of passion in 1914 Berlin that's a long-buried family secret. Who was Violet - and what happened to her husband?

You Had Me at: Within two chapters, I knew I was going to love this book! Vivian and Violet are such compelling heroines, and I loved the way their stories mirrored one another and intertwined overt time. They both defy family expectations to follow their passions, which made me cheer them on from the beginning. There's one scandalous aspect to this story that shocked me, but I still loved the way everything unfolded.

TINY LITTLE THING
Short & Sweet: In 1966, Christina Schuyler is the sister who has it all together. She and her husband Frank make the ultimate political power couple: rich, smart and attractive. But dark secrets lurk beneath the surface, and Tiny's sister Pepper, some incriminating photographs, and Frank's cousin Caspian act as the perfect storm to unmask them all.

You Had Me at: Oh my goodness, I have such a fondness for this book and heroine! We first hear of her in The Secret Life of Violet Grant, and she far surpassed my expectations. She's got a dry wit, a sharp mind and a laser focus on achieving her goals. But I loved seeing how she responded when cracks start to appear in her perfect life. Bonus: Caspian might just be my favorite boy in all of Beatriz's books...

ALONG THE INFINITE SEA
Short & Sweet: In 1966, Pepper Schuyler is praying that selling the rare vintage Mercedes she's restored will give her enough money to take care of herself and her unborn child. When she meets the car's new owner, she learns the startling history of the car: a Nazi husband, a Jewish lover, and a daring escape from Europe during WWII.

You Had Me at: I loved Pepper, but I think the historical timeline was the star of this book. It was so gripping and emotional that I flew through this story in a matter of hours! The setting came to life, the romance took me by surprise and the characters drew me in. I was never sure what would happen next, which is trademark Beatriz Williams. She always surprises me! I'm thrilled that the contents lived up to the gorgeous cover.

A CERTAIN AGE
Short & Sweet: In Jazz Age New York, Mrs. Theresa Marshall has fallen in love with her much-younger paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano. Things shift, however, when Octavian meets Miss Sophie Fortescue, the fiancée of Theresa's brother Ox. There's more to the Fortescue family than meets the eye, as everyone will soon learn.

You Had Me at: I'll be honest and tell you that the first chapter of this book made me so nervous because I hated Theresa. Thankfully, Sophie was a delight! I was rooting for Octavian to fall for her as soon as they met, but I never imagined all the obstacles that would stand in their way. A courtroom drama added intrigue, and quotes in each chapter from historical newspaper columnist Helen Rowland provided a good laugh.

THE WICKED CITY
Short & Sweet: Ella Hawthorne impulsively moves into an apartment in an old Greenwich Village building that's haunted by its former life as a speakeasy. In 1924, Ginger Kelly is a regular at this club until she's caught up in a raid and has no choice but to help a Prohibition agent investigate her stepfather, a notorious bootlegger.

You Had Me at: Once you start reading Beatriz Williams' novels, you'll notice familiar characters popping up throughout them all. For me, this is the book where I saw just how many threads she is able to weave together and how deliberate she is in her writing. It made it even more fun to binge these books! The time period was so vibrant in this story, and the heroine was a total firecracker. I can't wait for her story to continue.

COCOA BEACH
Short & Sweet: Virginia Fortescue flees her home for the battlefields of WWI France where she marries Simon, a charming British surgeon. But the more she learns about him, the more she regrets it. She returns home, determined to forget the past. Five years later, Simon's death propels her to Florida to uncover the secrets surrounding him.

You Had Me at: This book could best be described as a psychological thriller, so the tone is totally different. Y'all, I didn't know what to believe or who to trust! Every book has had moments that shocked me, but none more so than this one. The tension just builds and builds to a tipping point that made me text Kelly: "I'M SHOOK!" I loved that it had trademark Beatriz elements I've come to know and love - but with a twist.

THE FORGOTTEN ROOM
Short & Sweet: This multigenerational saga of soulmates and heartbreaking loss introduces you to three bold women in different time periods: 1892, 1920, and 1944. They're seemingly all connected by a ruby necklace and a single room in a Gilded Age mansion, but the story will leave you guessing until the very end. 

You Had Me at: This book was written in collaboration with two other authors, which is a fun change. The three heroines and timelines were a bit confusing at first, but I soon found myself swept up in the mystery at the heart of the book and couldn't wait to see how everything was connected. I loved how the story flowed and maintained a fast pace, especially considering it was written by three people!

Stayed tuned for more Beatriz Williams love tomorrow,

3 comments:

  1. I told you and Kelly yesterday that I ended up purchasing a bunch of Beatriz's backlist after reading your posts and they're arriving tomorrow! I'm planning on diving into A Hundred Summers first, and you just got me really excited for Cocoa Beach BUT some of the older titles were a challenge to track down in hardcover so now I have to wait for paperbacks for each so I have a matching collection! (The struggles of being a book hoarder)

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  2. Awesome post! I just recently found out about Beatriz Williams and Cocoa Beach and now I definitely want to check her books out! :)

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  3. I really, really love the covers of all of these books! And your collection of mini-reviews (and Kel's) have convinced me that she's an author I'm definitely going to have to try at some point too :D Love this event!

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