Book Title: It Happens In The Hamptons
Author: Holly Peterson
Genres: Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Date Read: 05/28/17
Pub Date: 05/09/17
When a spur of the moment decision catapults Katie Doyle from her lakeside Oregon town to spend the summer in the Hamptons, she is hoping for summer employment, new friends for her young son, and a chance to explore a new love affair with a dazzling colleague. What she finds is a strange cocktail of classes, where society’s one-percenters vacation alongside local people who’ve lived in the Hamptons for generations. Though she’s looking forward to their move, Katie can’t help but feel a little nervous and wonder if she will be accepted by her new boyfriend’s circles and granted entry into the East Coast elite. But as she soon discovers, Southampton isn’t all that it seems to be on the surface—and neither are the people who live there.
As George takes Katie on a whirlwind tour of country clubs, haute couture, and lavish events, she is amazed to see how sudden whims become dire needs, extra-marital relations are de rigueur, and how people purchase friends and loyalties like a pair of shoes. Even the middle-class townspeople maintain a façade as they maneuver among the wealthy summer invaders trampling on their roots.
The more Katie becomes immersed, the more she learns the stories and secrets of both the upstairs and downstairs, the upper crust and middle of the road. When she meets Luke, a local surfer and teacher who makes her question herself and what it is she really wants, she realizes the life she’s begun for herself is built on shifting Hamptons’ dunes.
I cannot decide if this story is adorable or sexy, so I’ll just call it both. Lately I’ve found myself reading all kinds of heavy books; not just murders and crime novels, but other types of fiction with just overall dark plot lines. After getting through a majority of ARCs that were in the red zone (also known as OMG READ ME NOW CHELSEA BECAUSE I’M BEING PUBLISHED IN 5 MINUTES!!!) I felt it was time to break things up with a read that was less heavy. I couldn’t snatch this fast enough off of my light and fluffy stack and found it the perfect novel to read alongside others; while the story is intriguing and wholly enjoyable, I never felt lost by putting it down for a bit and could jump in and out of the story with ease. I know these contemporary romance stories are not for everyone, but I’m tired of feeling like I have to apologize for enjoying any of the genres I read and will gladly indulge in my guilty pleasures as I see fit.
Yes, this is likely a story that will go under the “predictable feel good” category; the ones that we don’t pick up to be shocked or duped, but the ones that are like comfort food, soothing us and providing an escape from the real world when we need it most. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say that the drama in this book on a scale of 1-10 is Kardashian, but that’s what made me love it all the more. While Katie falls into the group of ladies who has a Cinderella complex, she also shows tremendous growth throughout the novel, and as time goes on seems to appreciate her down to earth lifestyle that is nothing like the uber wealthy of the Hamptons.
I found myself thoroughly engrossed in Luke’s character; I was sure he’d be the ultimate cliche of “the other love interest that has some flaws but ultimately ends up being the best choice”, yet he wound up being so much more than that brief stereotype. It was easy for me to decide who I wanted Katie to end up with, as I’m sure it will be for you, but I appreciate how the author tried to make us wrestle with both love interests containing a gray area in their respective personas. Although I found myself wanting to wallop Katie over the head a few times, I felt she was a likable character in the naive sense.
If you’re looking for a summer read that will provide the ultimate escape into the drama of the upper elite class, this will be your most cost effective trip to the Hamptons. Even the cover is perfect for poolside reading! Recommended to the reader who loves their fiction to revolve around juicy gossip; I can just picture what the real life tension must be like between the locals and the rich who vacation in the Hamptons each year after reading this book. Highly enjoyable and just a little bit guilty, It Happens In The Hamptons is a sexy summer drama that will entertain you no matter what time of year you choose to read it.
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts.