Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams

cocoa beach

“Across the road, at the edge of the yellow beach, an especially large wave rises to the sky, gathering strength and power, until it can’t bear the strain any longer and dives for shore in a long, elegant undulation, from north to south. An instant later, the boom reaches us, like the firing of a seventy-five-millimeter artillery shell — a sound I know all too well. My nerves flinch obediently.”
― Beatriz WilliamsCocoa Beach

World War I, family secrets, Prohibition Florida, and house fires.


Virginia Fortescue flees her family in New York City to become an ambulance driver for British forces in France during World War I. OF COURSE, she meets the handsome and charming Captain Simon Fitzwilliam and falls madly in love (so obviously they get hitched).

Fast forward to five years later – widowed Virginia brings her daughter to Florida to settle Simon’s estate. Simon’s brother and sister welcome them both with open arms, but then strange things start happening. Who can Virginia trust? Was Simon’s death truly accidental?

What a sizzling page-turned this one was! I love historical fiction that goes through two timelines. Williams does a top-notch job of alternating between Virginia’s two narratives while keeping all of the characters and events straight. And I love that Virginia isn’t a woman who isn’t just written as a product of her time. She has real emotions, real struggles, and deals with situations in a way that we can understand her reasoning.

The suspense mixed with the Florida scenery will have you reaching for your flip flops and pool bag so you can enjoy this novel in the appropriate climate. As I’m writing this post, all I can think of is putting the rest of Williams’ books on my TBR pile. Get thee to a bookstore!

Adventures · Life, The Universe, and Everything

New York City Adventures

This past Memorial Day Weekend I visited my sister who lives in New York City. I hadn’t been back to NYC in probably six years or so, and it was great to be able to explore and visit some of my favorite places again.

Day 1:

On Friday we had breakfast at a cute little restaurant with Moroccan fair. The orange juice was so fresh it was light biting into an orange just picked from the tree. As we were eating, we noticed that actor Jon Voight just happened to be reading at the bar behind us. Not a fan of his politics, but it was cool to spot a celebrity.

We then went to one of the greatest bookstores on the planet – The Strand. I had been there before, but it’s always so fun to stop in an indie bookshop with such character (and a great selection). We walked around Union Square before ending up walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.


Dinner was on a rooftop garden – French/American cuisine so delicious I didn’t want the meal to end. I’d never had French-style grits before (more like a polenta?), but every bite was scrumptious.

Day 2:

Breakfast at Lillie’s Victorian Establishment was as delicious as the restaurant was beautiful. Fresh strawberry and blueberry pancakes were to die for. The restaurant was inspired by British actress Lillie Langtry – their website has her entire story, but let’s just say she was a BAMF.

We then trekked to Liberty and Ellis Islands. My sister and I recently tracked our great-great grandfather’s passage through Ellis Island, so it was wonderful to see the place where he would have seen his first glimpse of the United States. The security and ferry lines there definitely recreate the feeling of being herded through immigration services in the 1880s… but at least we had some great views to keep us occupied.

Day 3:

Brunch and boogie woogie blues at a British speakeasy? Yes, please. Have you ever had fresh French toast with lemon curd? WHY NOT??? It is one of the greatest innovations of our time. The sugar-induced coma afterwards was totally worth it.

We played Broadway Roulette and got to see School of Rock. I was a little skeptical at first, but as soon as you hear those kids sing and play their own instruments you will be blown away by their talent. I had no idea that Andrew Lloyd Weber was behind the music, but you can tell by the tad of opera in the show 🙂 STICK IT TO THE MAN!

Our day ended with a thing that actually exists: a Mac N’ Cheese burger. I felt like Leslie Knope:



It was a thing of beauty. And cholesterol.