The Last Bathing Beauty by Amy Sue Nathan
publication: April 1st 2020 by Lake Union Publishing
A former beauty queen faces the secrets of her past—for herself and the sake of her family’s future—in a heartfelt novel about fate, choices, and second chances.
Everything seemed possible in the summer of 1951. Back then Betty Stern was an eighteen-year-old knockout working at her grandparents’ lakeside resort. The “Catskills of the Midwest” was the perfect place for Betty to prepare for bigger things. She’d head to college in New York City. Her career as a fashion editor would flourish. But first, she’d enjoy a wondrous last summer at the beach falling deeply in love with an irresistible college boy and competing in the annual Miss South Haven pageant. On the precipice of a well-planned life, Betty’s future was limitless.
Decades later, the choices of that long-ago season still reverberate for Betty, now known as Boop. Especially when her granddaughter comes to her with a dilemma that echoes Boop’s memories of first love, broken hearts, and faraway dreams. It’s time to finally face the past—for the sake of her family and her own happiness. Maybe in reconciling the life she once imagined with the life she’s lived, Boop will discover it’s never too late for a second chance.
This is the story of Betty Sterns who was raised by her grandparents fell in love with a non-Jewish man and then married a Jewish man. I was intrigued by how she told her story. She tells it to her family as they come to visit her, feelings come back, and life’s choices are second-guessed.
I always find it interesting when someone retells their lives story. They are able to look back and see how choices could have been different, how the choices they made changed the lives they are living now and see how different feelings made a difference in the choices they made. This is true of Betty. While living an amazing life with her grandparents she wanted a different life. She wanted a life where the hired help of the summer would include her, she wanted to love a boy that her grandparents would not accept, and she wanted to win the Miss South Haven pageant. But as she tells her story she realizes that life she did have was wonderful also. She loved her husband, she had an amazing family, and she had a good life.
The dual timelines were easy to follow, the story came together perfectly, and I thought 0f the characters as my friends. I was interested in learning the rest of Betty’s story and I wanted her family and friends to accept her story and make her be okay with what she was remembering. I have become a fan of historical fiction books and this one was exactly what I was looking for.
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