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I rarely fall for that book ...summer read but this time I allowed myself the luxury of not judging a book by its cover. Ruthie struggles. And in the end she ends up where she should be...taking each day as it comes.
I lived on shelter island for 30 years and knew the novel’s location well. Our book club is reading it and when the member who suggested it described it I said that sounds like where I used to live.it was right on the. Mark.
Talk about a lively beach read. I don’t think it’s possible to have a more turbulent summer than Ruthie does in Judy Blundell’s novel THE HIGH SEASON. Life revolves around a house. The house that a family built, that housed a family, and that now has the potential to tear a family apart. Enter twists and turns to the plot that complicate things, whirling around this, what should be a relaxing summer with beach blankets, picnics, farm stands, and good old-fashioned fun, but now it’s all scheming Hamptons wannabes trying to take over the bucolic lifestyle. Sit back, read, and revel in the fact that you are not part of the drama.
4.0 out of 5 starsThe High Season: Worthy of High Praise
Reviewed in the United States on 21 May 2018
The High Season is a great summer read for anyone looking for more than a fluffy beach book. Blundell has expertly crafted a cast of characters that are flawed and real, and so interesting to read about.
Ruthie and her daughter Jem traditionally leave their home during the summer months, renting it out to wealthy people coming to vacation during tourist season . This summer is no different, but Ruthie doesn't particularly like the woman they are renting to, Adeline Clay, who she was connected to briefly before Ruthie and her family left New York City. Ruthie's feelings for Adeline go further south when she discovers that her soon to be ex-husband is dating this woman.
And if Ruthie's summer isn't bad enough, she's about to lose her job. There are some underhanded dealings at the local museum Ruthie manages, and despite her best attempts, there are co-workers who have ambitions for her job.
Jem, Ruthie's daughter, is wanting more independence this year-she's a teenager who is testing the limits a little bit and growing up too fast.
Blundell's novel is one that captures what everyday life is like - the ups and downs, the drama of family, relationships, the workplace. This is a book that will be enjoyed year round, a perfect snapshot of one small community and a few of it's residents.
4.0 out of 5 starsIt's all about the money, honey.
Reviewed in the United States on 29 April 2018
It is pretty much a given that a book about a summer season in the Hamptons, along with a somewhat less desirable location known as Orient, is going to involve celebrities who are filthy rich. In this novel, the celebs are members of the way uptown art community, and their strangely interwoven lives are the lives of those for whom money buys everything, tangible and intangible.
Our heroine is Ruthie, who rents out her own home in the community of Orient each summer so that she can afford to keep it the rest of the year. Ruthie is a talented artist from humble beginnings. But this year, Ruthie’s life is ripping apart as it goes to the highest bidder, piece by piece.
Doe is also from humble beginnings. She has scrambled her way out of poverty by being paid to photograph celebrities in embarrassing situations, then posting them under an assumed name to Instagram. It is vital that she remain undercover. Money, in the lack of and longing for it, is crumbling Doe’s life as well.
Both Ruthie and Doe work at the much-loved local museum,The Belfry, around which much of the story line is situated. Both have complicated love interests, as well.
These are the two main characters, but there is a pivotal third one upon which fortunes and futures may be won or lost. This character pops up in the oddest places, yet never says or does a thing; it is an inanimate object, a talisman. For the record, it is not *money.*
The author seems to be promoting the notion that money can't buy happiness, but her story implies the opposite: For some, having and using money can be a legal, if morally fraudulent, way to steal love and happiness from those who haven't the protection money affords.
Will Ruthie and Doe gain insight on the relative unimportance of the connection to money they believe they need to repair their lives over this summer of loss? In a way, but not in the way one might expect.
Judy Blundell excels at writing conversation with undercurrents of emotion, as well as in immersing the reader in the time and place of her settings. Great humor, a clever and tangly plot, along with maybe a few too many far-fetched coincidences, make “The High Season” the quintessential beach book. The book has a fair bit of depth as well.
I found the story to be somewhat slow-moving but nuanced in its portrayal of the characters--the divorced director of the local museum who has to tolerate the presence a soon-to-become troublesome renter in order to squeak out the money needed to keep the house, the renter herself---a wealthy widow of a narcissist who seems to have a penchant for psychological games herself, the rebellious teenager, the ex-husband who pretends everything's ok, etc. If you like reading about wealthy locales like the Hamptons and its unique going on, this book will probably appeal to you. The writing is descriptive, and the pacing is gradual--more focused on the characters and their reactions to events rather than the events themselves. Overall, a thoughtful summer tinged read.