Book Reviews

Book Review: The Lost Summers of Newport

By Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, & Karen White

Published May 2022

400 Pages

Set among the splendor of Newport, Rhode Island, this novel follows the path of three women connected to one fictional mansion from the Sprague family’s heyday in the late 19th century through their decline and into the present day.  

Ellen Daniel accepts a position as a music instructor at Sprague Hall in 1899, to help the Sprague heiress gain the attention of the visiting Prince di Conti.  In reality, Ellen is hiding from her past and anyone associated with it.  Surely amongst the elite of Newport, no one would know who she really is?  

In 1958, Lucky Sprague has been back at Sprague Hall for over a decade after fleeing war-torn Italy with her grandmother, the Princess di Conti.  The Sprague fortune is in decline and both her family and the house are showing signs of decay.  Still, they continue on with Newport traditions until one fateful night when the family’s secrets come to light, trapping her forever at her adopted home.

Andie Figuero arrives at Sprague Hall in 2019 to feature it in a renovation show that she hosts.  When the producers push her to dig up dirt on the family, Andie needs to find a way to speak to the reclusive grandmother, Lucky Sprague, who has demanded that no one approach her.  What she uncovers will rock Newport society and rewrite the mansion’s history but will also set the Sprague family free.

All three of the authors are accomplished historical fiction writers but when you put them together, they’re a powerhouse.  I’ve read The Glass Ocean, which follows three points of view in a linear story and was really excited to see this book, a time-slip novel with three separate timelines.  

“The Lost Summers of Newport” interpreted by Wombo Dream

Each section has characters popping up at different points in their life, and I loved the moment when my brain made the connection that x character in this timeline was x character in a previous one.  There are several mysteries carrying through every section and for the most part, were well done; although, in the most historic section, it wasn’t too difficult to figure out what happened.  That didn’t matter though, since there were enough details I hadn’t figured out at the end to have a few great “aha” moments.

Everyone I’ve spoken to has a different favorite timeline.  Mine was the 1950s section focusing on Lucky – I adored her voice.  Her first chapter felt so authentic, especially the dialogue, that I was immediately pulled in.  I had a few issues with the “current” chapters.  I didn’t feel like Andie had enough backstory woven in to justify her dislike of the current Sprague owner and because of that, events between them later in the story felt rushed and inserted just because they advanced the plot.  However, that would be my only criticism of this book.

If you’re not familiar with this trio and you’re remotely interested in historical fiction, I highly recommend picking this book up.  Especially if you like getting a backdoor peek into the world of the elite. 

Overall, a great read.  I rated this book 4 stars.  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time, thank you for visiting.

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