Published by William Morrow on May 9, 2017
Source: the publisher
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In the Hamptons, the everyday people are as complicated and fascinating as the millionaires...
When Katie Doyle moves across the country to 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 investor. What she finds is a strange cocktail of classes, where society’s one-percenters vacation alongside local, hard-working people who’ve lived in the Hamptons for generations. Though she’s looking forward to their move, Katie is wary about mingling with her boyfriends’ East Coast elite circles. 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 witness sudden whims become dire needs, extra-marital affairs blossoming right and left, and people purchase friends and loyalties like a pair of shoes. Even the middle-class townspeople maintain a determined façade while maneuvering like sharks among the wealthy summer invaders.
The more Katie becomes immersed, the more she learns the secrets of both the upstairs and downstairs, the upper crust and middle of the road. The combustion between the classes becomes explosive as the summer tears on. Betrayals, a sexual predator, and a missing person lost in murky waves drive the reader on a racing Learjet ride through impossible twists and turns until landing at the shocking conclusion. When she meets Luke, a local surfer and middle school teacher, he makes her question what it is she really wants as she understands the life she’s begun for herself is built on shifting Hamptons’ dunes.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Why I Read It:
I’m all about summer reading and beach reading, and It Happens in the Hamptons by Holly Peterson looked perfect when I saw the synopsis. I love stories about “locals vs. vacationers” – especially in tourist areas like the Hamptons.
This is the very best kind of beach/warm weather reading.
Katie moved to the Hamptons on a whim to try out a new life and a possible relationship with George Potter, a guy she met at a lengthy conference back home. He lives in Manhattan during the week and comes out to see her when he can, which isn’t as often as she thought it would be, if she is being honest. Which is fine, really. Katie never planned to become ultra-attached to a man, and anyway it gives her a chance to get to know the area. She can check out the beaches, windsurf a little bit, and meet some of the people that live nearby. Speaking of the people, they are very interesting.
Katie notices that there is a huge divide in the people in the area: there are the ultra-rich: the ones that always dress in khaki and bright colors, and pack their kids’ summers full of activities so they can spend all day doing Pilates or yoga classes and lunching with their friends. She notices that these kids are rushed from activity to activity by the house staff and that the parents never miss these exercise classes. What gives? And the cars that they drive and homes they live in? Wow. Then there are the locals, like that guy Luke: the ones that dress in jeans and tees, the ones that are laid back. The ones that seem more like the people back home. The ones that are hosting and working all of these activities that these rich people are attending. The landscapers. The cafe workers. When Katie met George, he seemed more like one of the locals; now that she can see him in his own environment, he really seems to fit in more with the khaki-wearing group. It’s a little disappointing, actually.
So this book? This is exactly what I like in a summer read. There is the beach and there is some summer drama. But not too much! All of the characters in this story are connected in some way. Some are more obviously connected, and we find that out within the first few chapters. But there are some connections that don’t come out until later in the book and WHAT! I really didn’t see these things coming. It’s so great. I just loved every word.
I loved Katie. Her sense of wonder at the Atlantic Ocean made me so happy because I feel the same way, having lived close to it my entire life. It feels good to see someone from far off come and love on something that I love. It’s interesting to see her perspective on the Hamptons, though. This is a place that I’ve never been – I’ve only read about. I loved reading her thoughts on the locals vs. the vacationers. I love how she enmeshed herself into both worlds right away. Katie is a teacher so in order to afford this life in this expensive place, she began freelance private-tutoring lessons for children during the vacationers during the summer. She couldn’t believe what people paid for those lessons versus what people paid for lessons where she came from, but that was indicative of life in that area versus other areas of the country. Katie didn’t necessarily love it and didn’t necessarily want to become part of it, but she accepted it and that was that.
She planned to take her time on her relationship with George, and her patience allowed her listen to the intuition and opinion of her child, which I loved. She also paid attention to how other people on the island reacted to George, which was important, I thought. Aside from being one of the things I loved about Katie as a character, this is also part of how all of the characters connected.
I have to tell you, I’m here for these local characters. They were my favorite characters in the book, especially Luke. They are a group of friends that grew up in one of the Hampton towns and worked there year-round. Early in the story, some of the rich vacationers target their very popular beach camp business because they don’t like the way it looks. I mean, like, the way it actually looks, to their eyes, sitting on the sand. This is one of the best parts of the book because this is where we get to know the best characters in the story (the rich and the local). And I love Luke’s entire story.
Here is where I’ll be honest and say that: in the beginning of the book, with all of the descriptions of clothes and cars and homes, I painted a picture of these rich characters in my mind. I felt like it was a pretty good one, too. And throughout the story, it held up. But towards the end, I realized that there was more to a few of these characters, and I LOVE THAT. I love that I had a few of them wrong. When I started this book, I never ever could have called how this book would have ended. Loved! So much fun.
This is a book that I’ll certainly read again, particularly during the warm weather. It’ll probably be one I throw in my beach bag or my pool bag. I just loved it. It felt adventurous to me, but this is because I’ve never been to the Hamptons and can only live this life through stories like these. I loved the sense of the salty air and the beach that it invoked – I just love the beach that much and think others will like that part of the story too. But it’s these quirky, nutty characters that did it all for me. Selfishly, I wish I knew more about what happened after the end of the book because I really love the way it all ended. I love that it is a standalone, but if the author decided to write more, I would be all over it like white on rice. I’m just saying.
If you guys like fun summer stories, I think you should pick up this one.
About Holly Peterson
Holly Peterson is the author the May 2017 social satire fiction release, It Happens in the Hamptons. In 2016, she curated an outdoor cooking book, Assouline’s Smoke and Fire: Recipes and Menus for Outdoor Entertaining. In 2014, she published The Idea of Him and of the New York Times bestseller The Manny in 2007. She was a Contributing Editor for Newsweek, an Editor-at-Large for Talk magazine and an Emmy Award-winning Producer for ABC News, where she spent more than a decade covering everthing from trials of the century to global politics. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, Town and Country, The Daily Beast, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle Decor, Departures and numerous other publications.