Friday 29 September 2017

It Happens in the Hamptons

Finished September 20
It Happens in the Hamptons by Holly Peterson

This novel includes romance, mystery, and new beginnings.
Katie Doyle was in a bad place emotionally when her mother died. A man she had an affair with at a work conference, George Porter, helped her with some of the things that needed to be dealt with, and suggested that she spend the summer at a cottage in the Hamptons owned by his family. Moving from Oregon to New York was a big step for Katie, but she felt her and her young son Huck need a new start. She's done some pre-work, applying for a job in a local school, and registering with a tutoring agency. She also doesn't feel comfortable living in the cottage without paying rent, so George's mother has agreed to accept $500 a month for the rent.
Arriving in her new home, Katie and Huck explore the area, wander through local shops, check out the beach, and get themselves bicycles to get around. Katie finds that George's mother, Poppy is one of the long-time summer people here, with a staid club and lots of good works on her agenda. Katie is corralled into being on a committee associated with one of them.
Katie also attracts the attention of a local man, Luke, who runs a surf school during the summer and teaches during the rest of the year. She enrolls Huck in the surf school to get him more comfortable in the water, and Julia, the mom of another student, befriends her. She starts to settle into her new life.
George doesn't seem to be around much, which surprises Katie, but also frees her to find her own way of doing things.
There are three groups here. One is the old cadre of summer people, who support the library and other local endeavors, but also tend to treat some of the public areas as their own, and come across to me as a bit paternalistic. There is a division here between the locals, such as Luke's group that run the surf school, and the club people who want the beach pretty to look at all the time. This group is led by Bucky and the Seabrook Club.
The locals include the shop owners, the business people such as Luke and his partners Kona and Kenny, and many of the employed staff at people's houses and clubs. They are aware of their reliance on the summer people, but don't like getting treated as objects or impediments.
The third group is the newer summer people, many of them self-made. One example here is the couple Julia and Jake Chase. They have a lot of money and have built fancy homes, but they are just looking to enjoy life and have fun. Jake tries to befriend Luke and the guys, but you can see he tries too hard to impress. Julia is a bit better at this, and successfully befriends Katie.
But this story has a more serious side too, and that involves all three groups. It was interesting the way this unfolded.
An enjoyable read.

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