cover image The Beach at Summerly

The Beach at Summerly

Beatriz Williams. Morrow, $30 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-302084-9

Williams (The Summer Wives) revisits the fictional Winthrop Island off the coast of Connecticut in this exciting story of summer love and espionage. It’s 1946 and 20-year-old Emilia Winthrop, who once dreamed of leaving for college, looks after her mother after she had a stroke. Her father, meanwhile, maintains the Peabody family’s beachfront estate, where Peabody sons Amory and Shep return from the war, their brother having died in battle, and their aunt Olive arrives to live in the guest house. A budding romance develops between Emilia and Shep after she agrees to babysit for the worldly Olive. Emilia also meets a man named Sumner Fox, who claims to be writing a book. Later, Sumner shocks Emilia by revealing he is an FBI agent, Olive is a Soviet spy, and he needs Emilia’s help in exposing her. Williams then jumps ahead eight years. Emilia is pursuing her doctorate at Wellesley College when she’s contacted by Sumner, who requests her help in a prisoner exchange involving Olive. In flashbacks, Williams reveals the details of her cooperation with Sumner and fallout with the Peabodys back in the summer of ’46. Williams complements her complex narrative with a keen perspective on the island’s class strata. Readers will be hooked from the first page. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM Partners. (June)