The Summer Wives

Now in paperback

The instant New York Times bestseller is the essential novel of the season – a ravishing postwar fable of love, class, power, and redemption set among the inhabitants of a rarefied island off the New England coast.

An instant New York Times bestseller, debuting at #7 on the hardcover list

Now in development for television with John Wells Productions, with the author to adapt

Named a “Best Book of Summer” by Goodreads, Buzzfeed, PopSugar, Bookish, BookBub, Kirkus, and more

A Book of the Month Club selection

A Costco “Pennie’s Pick”

An Amazon Editor’s Pick

An IndieNext pick

A SkimmReads selection

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Read an Excerpt of "The Summer Wives"

  • THE SUMMER WIVES is an exquisitely rendered novel that tackles two of my favorite topics: love and money. The glorious setting and drama are enriched by Williams’s signature vintage touch. It’s at the top of my picks for the beach this summer.

    — Elin Hilderbrand, bestselling author of "The Perfect Couple"

About "The Summer Wives"

In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island as a schoolgirl from the margins of high society, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose estate on Winthrop overlooks its famous lighthouse, Miranda’s catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools. Isobel Fisher, Miranda’s new stepsister—all long legs and world-weary bravado—is eager to draw Miranda into the arcane customs of Winthrop society.

But beneath the Island’s patrician façade, there are really two castes: the summer families with their steadfast ways and quiet obsessions, and the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic laborers who earn their living on the water and in the laundries of the grand houses. Uneasy among Isobel’s privileged friends, Miranda finds herself drawn to Joseph Vargas, whose father keeps the lighthouse with his mysterious wife. In summer, Joseph helps his father in the lobster boats, but in September he returns to Brown University, where he’s determined to make something of himself. Since childhood, Joseph has enjoyed an intense, complex friendship with Isobel Fisher, and as the summer winds to its end, he and Miranda are caught in a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop’s hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the Island for nearly two decades.

Now, in the landmark summer of 1969, Miranda returns at last, as a renowned actress hiding a terrible heartbreak. On its surface, the Island remains the same–determined to keep the outside world from its shores, fiercely loyal to those who belong. But the once-powerful Fisher family is a shadow of itself, and Joseph Vargas has recently escaped the prison where he was incarcerated for murder eighteen years earlier. What’s more, Miranda herself is no longer a naive teenager, and she begins an impassioned quest for justice to the man she once loved . . . even if that means laying bare every last one of the secrets that bind the families of Winthrop Island.

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Rave Reviews for The Summer Wives

“With The Summer Wives, [Williams] has perhaps crafted her most evocative and stirring novel yet…it’s impossible not to draw comparisons to Atonement.” —Entertainment Weekly

“With just the right touch of bitters, Williams mixes a satisfyingly tempestuous—and eminently beachworthy—follow-up to her beloved Schuyler Sisters series.” —Kirkus (starred review)

“Romance, class issues, dark secrets, and murder—it’s all here in this deliciously rich novel.” —Bustle

“Exquisitely depicted…what the term “beach read” was made for.” —Buzzfeed

“Historical fiction fans: Drop what you are doing. Beatriz Williams is out with a new book, and you’re going to want to get your hands on it ASAP.” —Bookish

“Williams’ latest will captivate readers with rich, romantic stories of being young and falling in love… The writing is precise and descriptive, and reading The Summer Wives is like watching a film, complete with love and drama to be envied, bemoaned, and enjoyed.” —Booklist

“The author displays a mastery of character building while thoughtfully planting evocative details about the setting and the era’s social structures. Longtime Williams fans, readers of historical fiction and mysteries, and anyone seeking engaging plot twists will find satisfaction in these pages.” —Library Journal

“A satisfying simmer of a read…Miranda is a beautifully crafted character.” —USA Today

“Delving into the inner sanctum of wealthy families to expose the dark sides of their lives is something Williams excels at.  As always the backdrop is well drawn and the plot compelling, making this a hard-to-put-down read and one you’ll want to savor.” —RT Book Reviews

“Engrossing and gripping, you will finish this book in one sitting.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Summer Wives has gotten major praise this summer, and for good reason.” —

“One of Williams’s strongest novels to date.” —Auburn Citizen


Advance Praise from Authors

  • With a sophisticated scalpel, Beatriz Williams dissects long-held passions and prejudices in an insular community with secrets that go back for generations. Pour yourself a gin and tonic, and don’t rush this ravishing novel by New England storytelling’s reigning queen. Set in the 50s and 60s, THE SUMMER WIVES offers profound relevance for today’s times, as we ask ourselves: Who belongs here, and who doesn't?

    — Sally Koslow, bestselling author of "Another Side of Paradise"

Bookseller Praise

  • Set on the exclusive Winthrop Island where the wealthy spend their summers, The Summer Wives evokes the musical Carousel with its summer picnics that hide dark secrets, and second chances for redemption. If there's anything more satisfying than the secrets of wealthy east coast families in the hands of Beatriz Williams, I haven't found it.

    — John Kwiatkowski, Murder by the Book, Houston, TX

Bookseller Praise

  • Oh, I loved visiting the fictional Winthrop Island in Beatriz Williams' The Summer Wives! Her writing charges this exclusive private island in Long Island Sound with such a strong feeling of time and place... With clever plotting and captivating details, Williams finesses the story of Miranda, Isobel and other islanders, as class lines are crossed, secrets buried and uncovered, and a mystery spanning decades spins to a very satisfying conclusion.

    — Dawn Rennert, Concord Bookshop, Concord, MA

Advance Praise from Booksellers

  • I tore through this novel on the plane! Set on a fictional version of the real Fishers Island in Long Island Sound, it's a perfect combination of many wives, love affairs, drinking, late night revelries, and the FAMILIES. The novel for summer 2018!

    — Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT