Montauk by Nicola Harrison
Publication Date: June 4th, 2019
Montauk, Long Island, 1938.
A simple town on the brink of a glamorous future.
A marriage drifting apart.
A life on the edge of what is and what could be…
An epic and cinematic novel by debut author Nicola Harrison, Montauk captures the glamour and extravagance of a summer by the sea with the story of a woman torn between the life she chose and the life she desires.
Goodreads Link: Montauk
CW: domestic/sexual violence
I was really excited to read this novel. I used to read so much historical fiction, but recently I have not been reading as much. I was excited to get back into the game so to speak with this one. Unfortunately, it wasn’t my cup of tea.
What I liked:
- I did like Beatrice as a main character (for most of the book at least). She is introverted and just wants to be by herself rather than hanging out with the other ladies. (Which, like, same).
- It is very atmospheric. I could picture the manor and all the ladies
- Elizabeth and her family: just YES
- The slow pace: at times it was way too slow, but it really fit with the lazy vibes and the monotony of Beatrice’s summer
- Beatrice & Dolley’s friendship: Aside from the fact that I did not like Dolley, they had such a fun vibe and I enjoyed the scenes with them
What I did not like:
- Harry: I know we are obviously not supposed to like him, but he has literally no positive characteristics. Beatrice and him fell in love at some point and it would have been nice to have seen parts of the man she fell in love with rather than just making him into a terrible human all around.
- Dolley: She was such a proponent of cheating or as she would call it – having an affair. She then also changes her tune later on.
- How naïve Beatrice is
- One of my pet peeves about certain books is when they get super dark or have tragic moments come out of nowhere and that sort of happens here.
- I did not understand any of the characters motives, we don’t really get to see them as people and they just sort of make decisions. I get some of them were in bad situations, but I would have liked more explanation and for the story to be more character based.
I was not a fan of this novel this was mainly due to the fact that it features the cheating trope. I do not like when books paint cheating in a positive light. Now I understand that in 1938 womens’ lives were very different and they did not have the same options, but I did not think this novel dealt with cheating well. SPOILER: almost everyone in this book has an affair. It is unclear if one couple is still married, so I am not entirely sure what their deal was. I could have dealt with all that. Like, I get that Beatrice was in a bad situation and the lighthouse dude was hot and sensitive and whatnot, but I HATED how her friend was so positive about cheating and then Beatrice has an affair and wants to stay with the new guy and Dolley is like UM NO MUST STAY WITH THE BAD HUSBAND it is not PROPER to be with poor boy. She just suddenly was very hypocritical, and it was annoying.
Overall, this book was not for me. I have seen a fair number of positive reviews, so don’t let my review scare you away. I just was disappointed by the naïvety shown by the main character and how the whole cheating plot becomes the whole plot. It has been done before and has been done better.
*Thank you to BookSparks and the publisher for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review*