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!

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