Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand

How I Read It: Audiobook

Dates Read: 9/11/19-9/16/19

Trigger Warning: this book discusses war, suicide, and molestation. If either of these are triggers, read at your own discretion.

Quick fun fact: When I was in college, I had a roommate who was from Vietnam. She told me the story of her first American history class that discussed the Vietnam War and how she thought they were lying. Turns out, while America was extremely concerned about communism, the soldiers of Vietnam were only concerned about keeping their farmland. Everytime I read or watch something about the Vietnam War, I always remember that the 2 sides were fighting for completely different things, and that we should think about that in our own lives.

Set in the summer of 1969 (I know, it’s a shocker), this book follows the Nichols/Foley/ Levin family as they try to cope and understand the new realities they are faced with in their summer house in Nantucket. The head of the family, Exalta, is the mother of Kate, the mother of 4. Kate has an alcohol problem, especially with the notification of her son, Tiger, being selected for the draft. Her oldest daughter, Blair, is pregnant with twins, and Blair suspects that her husband, Angus, is cheating on her. Her second youngest daughter, Kirby, is a feminist who chose to spend her summer working in a hotel on Martha’s Vineyard. Finally, the youngest daughter, Jessie, is stuck on Nantucket with her family, forced to take tennis lessons, and harboring a secret sticky finger habit.

Over the course of the summer, the family is trying to process every new turn in their lives, mixed in with the moon landing, the war, and Teddy Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick incident.

I am not someone who especially appreciates historical fiction. Almost all the historical fiction I have read has either been through BOTM, OUABC, or school. It has never been something that I go for in a bookstore, and I am always hesitant when I pick one up. This was the best happy medium because I have already read a book by Elin Hilderbrand (Winter in Paradise), and I liked her writing style. This book kept that writing style so I didn’t feel like I was reading “historical fiction”.

There is a lot of jumping around, and sometimes she repeats herself over and over again (pet peeve of mine), but at the end of the day, it was an enjoyable experience. For that reason, I will give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

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