Summer of ‘69 by Elin Hilderbrand follows the Levin family through the summer of 1969. America is changing. Nixon is newly in office, the Vietnam war continues, Woodstock is happening, the Apollo 11 mission is about to launch, the Civil Rights movement has been underway and women’s liberation has just begun.
The family goes to Nantucket to spend the summer with their grandmother Exalta at her estate. Kate, Exalta’s daughter is devastated when her son Tiger at 19, is drafted to Vietnam and starts drinking to cope. Blair the eldest daughter at 24, is newly married and learns she pregnant with a husband who is working tirelessly on the Apollo mission and no longer has time for her. He wants his wife at home maintaining the household and now she suspects he may be having an affair after giving up all of her passions to be with him. Kirby, now 21 and on college break, decides to move to Martha’s Vineyard and continue her activism and progressivism. She gets a job for the summer at the Shiretown Inn with her best friend Mary Jo Kopechne and learns the Senator may be coming to town. Jessie is the youngest at 13 and the only child from Kate’s second and current marriage to David. At a time where she’s conflicted between hanging on to her childhood and becoming a woman, the summer of 1969 brings changes that threaten to blow the Levin’s world apart...
I LOVED this book. It was so well done and expertly weaved together so many events from American history during a time when the country was experiencing radical change. As a MA native I especially loved all the local references as the entire book felt like it was right in my back yard (I’m typing this from Cape Cod as we speak.) It alternatives POV between the mother and all of the children as you understand what each of them is truly going through at an unprecedented time. For lover’s of historical fiction Hilderbrand knocks it out of the park in this one, which is out NOW!!
Thanks to Little Brown for a copy of this book to review! All opinions are my own!