cover image Summer on Sag Harbor

Summer on Sag Harbor

Sunny Hostin. Morrow, $30 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-299421-9

In Hostin’s uneven latest (after Summer on the Bluffs), a 20-something woman inherits a house from her godfather in Sag Harbor Hills, N.Y., a historically Black community in the Hamptons. Olivia Jones, an analyst for Goldman Sachs, longs to learn more about her father, Chris, who died when she was a baby. She gets the chance after Omar Tanner wills her the Eastern Long Island property Chris visited in the summer as a child. Joel Whittingham, the community’s unofficial mayor, knew Chris and welcomes Olivia, as do a busybody neighbor and a goodhearted real estate agent who’s passionate about blocking a predatory developer, ASK Properties, from gentrifying the area. Around these accepting new friends, all of whom are Black, the dark-skinned Olivia comes to terms with the colorism she dealt with while growing up. At the same time, she feels ashamed by her fiancé, Anderson Edwards, an aspiring comedian and TV writer, who is white, because of his need to support himself with food delivery work, and she explores a mutual attraction with another neighbor. Hostin’s strengths lie in depicting the community’s joyous camaraderie, but the plot tips into unnecessary melodrama with revelations about Chris and far-fetched connections between Anderson and ASK. This is charming and frustrating in equal measure. (May)