“A beautiful story of love and redemption”



In The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach, Pam Jenoff has deftly created an emotional rite-of-passage tale about a young girl fleeing fascist Italy and finding a new home, family, and love in the U.S. On her travel to adulthood, protagonist Adelia Monteforte runs to Philadelphia, the Jersey Shore, Washington, D.C., and war-torn London. Is she running towards her new life or away from the nightmares of her past? And when will she stop running?

Jenoff peoples The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach with believable characters who have realistic relationships and problems. Family dynamics are evocatively portrayed via the Connally family, whose four boys display sibling rivalries so often found in large families.

Ultimately, the story is about Adelia, and her difficulties forming new connections with people around her. While I think this novel might provoke interesting discussions in book groups, I had trouble with Adelia’s treatment of the men in her life. I understand why she is the way she is, but at some point you have to own your behavior. The end squicked me a bit.

Still, I know other readers have found the novel “romantic.” I’d give it a qualified recommendation for its depiction of WWII life in England and the U.S.

I received a complementary ARC of this novel.
The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach will be on sale August, 2015.


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Added 16th June 2015

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