Montauk by Nicola Harrison

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: June 4th, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Where you can find Montauk: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Montauk, Long Island, 1938. 

For three months, this humble fishing village will serve as the playground for New York City’s wealthy elite. Beatrice Bordeaux was looking forward to a summer of reigniting the passion between her and her husband, Harry. Instead, tasked with furthering his investment interest in Montauk as a resort destination, she learns she’ll be spending twelve weeks sequestered with the high society wives at The Montauk Manor—a two-hundred room seaside hotel—while Harry pursues other interests in the city. 

College educated, but raised a modest country girl in Pennsylvania, Bea has never felt fully comfortable among these privileged women, whose days are devoted not to their children but to leisure activities and charities that seemingly benefit no one but themselves. She longs to be a mother herself, as well as a loving wife, but after five years of marriage, she remains childless while Harry is increasingly remote and distracted. Despite lavish parties at the Manor and the Yacht Club, Bea is lost and lonely and befriends the manor’s laundress whose work ethic and family life stir memories of who she once was. 

As she drifts further from the society women and their preoccupations and closer toward Montauk’s natural beauty and community spirit, Bea finds herself drawn to a man nothing like her husband –stoic, plain spoken and enigmatic. Inspiring a strength and courage she had almost forgotten, his presence forces her to face a haunting tragedy of her past and question her future. 

Desperate to embrace moments of happiness, no matter how fleeting, she soon discovers that such moments may be all she has, when fates conspire to tear her world apart…


My review:

Montauk is the story of Beatrice. Beatrice is a country girl who married into wealth. At first happy in her marriage, Bea notices a rift in her marriage. Along with the fracture, Bea has failed to conceive a child, and that drives them further apart. So when Harry tells Bea that they will be taking a summer-long trip to Montauk Manor, she is thrilled. She thinks that they can grow close again and a child will happen. But that isn’t in the cards. Harry decides that he will work in the city while Bea stays at the Manor during the week. He’ll come and visit on the weekend. Feeling out of place, Bea strikes up a friendship with the manor’s laundress. Who in turn introduces her to Thomas, the head lightkeeper. As Bea’s feelings for Thomas grows, she realizes that she must make a choice. What will happen? What will Bea’s decision be? And can she survive the consequences?


I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Montauk when I read the blurb. To me, it screamed spoiled rich girl has an affair, and there are consequences. Then I started reading. And let me tell you, this book is anything than what I thought. I was surprised by this book.

I liked Bea even if she did annoy me during parts of the book. I loved her determination to make her marriage work. I liked that she didn’t care what the other women at the Manor thought about her. But, as I mentioned at the beginning of the paragraph, she annoyed me. She overstepped her bounds when it came to Elizabeth and Thomas. She let the other women in the Manor dictate what she should do the first half of the book. And the big thing, she didn’t confront Harry about his affairs until the end of the book.

I did figure out about Harry cheating early in the book. He was in love with Bea, but he was chomping at the bit to get back to Manhattan. When it was validated, I was surprised that Bea didn’t say something to him. But, that was how it was back then. Men could do whatever they wanted with whomever they wanted, and the women took it.

I was surprised when the author chose to have Bea and Thomas start a relationship while married. While two wrongs don’t make a right, I do think that Bea deserved to be happy. And Thomas made her happy. But she was torn between Harry and Thomas. I was on pins and needles about who she was going to choose.

You will need tissues when reading the end of the book. I was surprised at what happened between Harry and Bea. Very surprised. I was also surprised by the news that Bea had. I mentally went “Yikes, how is she going to deal with THAT.” The very end of the book had me sobbing. Let’s say that it was not a happy ending. Which was surprising and refreshing.


I would give Montauk an Adult rating. There is sex (not graphic). There is mild language. There is violence. There are triggers. They would be the death of a sibling, depression, cheating, and rape. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Montauk. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank the author, the publishers, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Montauk.

All opinions stated in this review of Montauk are mine.

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