A Fantastic Summertime Read: Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams
The New York Times bestselling author of A Certain Age transports readers to sunny Florida in this lush and enthralling historical novel—an enchanting blend of love, suspense, betrayal, and redemption set among the rumrunners and scoundrels of Prohibition-era Cocoa Beach.
Burdened by a dark family secret, Virginia Fortescue flees her oppressive home in New York City for the battlefields of World War I France. While an ambulance driver for the Red Cross, she meets a charismatic British army surgeon whose persistent charm opens her heart to the possibility of love. As the war rages, Virginia falls into a passionate affair with the dashing Captain Simon Fitzwilliam, only to discover that his past has its own dark secrets—secrets that will damage their eventual marriage and propel her back across the Atlantic to the sister and father she left behind.
Five years later, in the early days of Prohibition, the newly widowed Virginia Fitzwilliam arrives in the tropical boomtown of Cocoa Beach, Florida, to settle her husband’s estate. Despite the evidence, Virginia does not believe Simon perished in the fire that destroyed the seaside home he built for her and their young daughter. Separated from her husband since the early days of their marriage, the headstrong Virginia plans to uncover the truth, for the sake of the daughter Simon never met.
Simon’s brother and sister welcome her with open arms and introduce her to a dazzling new world of citrus groves, white beaches, bootleggers, and Prohibition agents. But Virginia senses a predatory presence lurking beneath the irresistible, hedonistic surface of this coastal oasis. The more she learns about Simon and his mysterious business interests, the more she fears that the dangers that surrounded Simon now threaten her and their daughter’s life as well.
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Since I can't just say, "Read it now. It's fabulous," I'm pounding out this review on a computer with an Internet connection that's tenuous at best to get this review posted on release day! I can't say enough about how Beatriz Williams grabs readers and pulls them into a story with her dramatic and breathtaking plots and stunning settings. From the streets of New York in A Certain Age, to Florida's tropical coast in Cocoa Beach, Williams pens stories that make one feel as though she's lived in those locales (or at least researched them!) for a thousand years. Not only that, but the characters are absolutely mesmerizing! I don't know how she does it!
As a noob reader of her books, I admittedly went into A Certain Age, a little anxious. You never really know what you're going to get with a new author, but I couldn't put the book down--the same goes for this one. Virginia Fortescue's story switches from past to present, but never feels disjointed as can sometimes be the case with stories written in this manner. There's quite a lot of mystery involved, but it doesn't strictly feel like a suspense novel. There are strong elements of romance as well as nods to The Great War and life on the front. I thought the plot twist at the end of the story was a little out of left field, but after having read it twice, it's growing on me!
Cocoa Beach is a must-read for fans of stories of the Jazz Age, Prohibition, suspense, and romance. There's no other book this year set in the 20s that I can think of that I'd want to take poolside with me other than this fab story! Three cheers for Beatriz Williams and Cocoa Beach! Grab your book, your drink, and your beach towel and get ready to journey to 1920s Florida.
~ My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars ~
*I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*