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!


The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews

high tide

Grab your beach bag, a cool drink, and some sunscreen – you’re going to want to sit outside and enjoy this read for as long as possible.

Jacqueline, an heiress in her nineties, has some unfinished business she wants to take care of before she passes. Brooke is a single mom and struggling to make it as an independent lawyer in the South. When Jacqueline hires Brooke to try to save her private island, the complicated history of a group of friends called The High Tide Club starts to unfold.

Mary Kay Andrews is the epitome of summer/vacation authors for me. While her books have gotten a bit more serious over the years, she makes the South and its quirks come alive with the stories of realistic and powerful women. Her books always contain a tad of romance, a dollop of mystery, and a large helping of strong women getting stronger. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the song Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves!

While Brooke’s character takes the spotlight, I found the stories of the minor characters to be more compelling. Varina, Millie, and Ruth all led such fascinating lives that I couldn’t help but want to know more about their stories. We spent a lot of time getting to know Brooke in Andrews’ previous novel, Save the Date, and I felt as if I already knew her and didn’t need as much time with her as I did with the other characters.

I definitely recommend this book – especially if you are looking for a great summer read. What summer reads are you looking forward to?