THE LAST SUMMER AT CHELSEA BEACH
Author: Pam Jenoff
Type of Book: Softcover
Length: 373 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
Price: $14.95 US / $17.95 CAN
Release Date: August 2015
Publisher: Mira Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
* I received a free softcover copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program. A review was not a requirement of receiving the book, but I love receiving free books and I think reviews are important to both writers and to potential readers.
This book is set in America, both before, and during the Second World War.
It begins in 1941 when seventeen year old Adelia Monteforte is taken from her home in fascist Italy by her mother and placed aboard a ship headed to the USA. Adelia had no idea she was going and had no possessions with her. Also, despite her pleading, her parents do not accompany her on the journey.
She was met at the port in Philadelphia by an Aunt and Uncle she had never met before. They took her into their home despite the fact that they had no children of their own.
Her Aunt and Uncle spent summers at the shore and Adelia had no choice but to go with them.
It is at this ‘summer home’ that she meets the Connally family. She didn’t know it at their first meeting, but knowing the Connally family changes her life forever.
Adelia falls in love at first sight with Charlie Connally. Charlie was the oldest of the four Irish-Catholic boys. Adelia is an immigrant Italian whose family is Jewish. Obviously, Addie and Charlie would make a unique couple, but their religious differences don’t seem to matter at all.
Just when Charlie and Addie seem to have their futures together all figured out, tragedy strikes and everything changes.
Addie is grief-stricken and does the only thing she can think of; she flees. She heads to Washington and works as a typist for the newspaper. But, when her past shows up in Washington she runs away again – this time she ends up in war-torn London, England where she lands an amazing job at a highly regarded newspaper.
It is in London that Addie begins to realize that running away did not solve anything. She finds herself torn between the love of two terrific men.
Eventually, she realizes that, in order to find herself, she needs to return home.
I had expected this book to be like dozens of other war-time romance novels and I thought I knew the plot before I even started reading. However, this book is not like other books of the same genre – in a very good way!
I found myself drawn into the lives of Addie and the Connally boys immediately. The author has a gift for making the characters come alive for the readers.
This book is set in the early 1940s and it is the perfect setting for this story.
THE LAST SUMMER AT CHELSEA BEACH is a book that readers will literally be unable to put down. This book is so well written that I was completely engrossed in the story. In fact, when tragedy strikes I actually got teary-eyed and that does not happen to me normally.
A writer that can make a reader cry, laugh and hope throughout the course of the story is a very talented author. Kudos go to author Pam Jenoff for achieving this rare feat.
I also like the fact that included at the back of the book are two pages of “Questions for Discussion.” This will give Book Clubs a starting point for their discussions.
I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
(Information and photo obtained from http://www.pamjenoff.com)
Pam Jenoff was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. She received her master’s in history from Cambridge, and afterwards accepted an appointment as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The position provided a unique opportunity to witness and participate in operations at the most senior levels of government, including helping the families of the Pan Am Flight 103 victims secure their memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, observing recovery efforts at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing and attending ceremonies to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of World War II.
Following her work at the Pentagon, Pam began work at the State Department. In 1996 she was assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, Poland. It was during this period that Pam developed her expertise in Polish-Jewish relations and the Holocaust. Working on matters such as preservation of Auschwitz and the restitution of Jewish property in Poland, Pam developed close relations with the surviving Jewish community.
Pam left the Foreign Service in 1998 to attend law school and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. She worked for several years as a labor and employment attorney in Philadelphia and now teaches law school at Rutgers.
Pam is the author of The Kommandant’s Girl, which was an international bestseller and nominated for a Quill award, as well as The Winter Guest, The Diplomat’s Wife, The Ambassador’s Daughter, Almost Home, A Hidden Affair and The Things We Cherished. She also authored a short story in the anthology Grand Central: Original Postwar Stories of Love and Reunion. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and three children.
To find out more visit http://www.pamjenoff.com