It Happens in the Hamptons by Holly Peterson

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Happens in the Hamptons

Published: May 9, 2017

Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from reality and go somewhere warm. This book will let you do that.

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I read a lot of mysteries and thrillers. Sometimes it’s nice to switch gears and read something mindless, where you don’t have to look up words in the dictionary or follow along that closely to understand the plot. This is one of those books. And the interesting thing is that this book ends up sneaking in some awareness of contemporary issues even though it appears to be a light Chick-Lit novel.

Katie Doyle and her young son impulsively move across the country to the Hamptons for the summer, at the invitation of her new boyfriend.

When she arrives there, she finds a strange mix of two classes, where society’s elite vacation seasonally alongside year-round, hard working local people who’ve lived in the Hamptons for generations.

As Katie settles in for the summer, she learns the secrets of both the one-percent vacationers, the blue collar residents, and the inner workings of life in the Hamptons.

Author Holly Peterson calls the Hamptons “Downton Abbey in bikinis” in this article.

She describes the Hamptons as an example of “the clash between a local population and the people who invade their community for the summer is rife with the class conflicts roiling the country today.” She says that she writes “journalistic fiction,” which means that she never writes anything that wouldn’t happen in real life.

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I was excited to read about a book based in the Hamptons in the summer. It was exactly as I expected for a summery beach read. Light, semi humorous with shallow characters and a loose plot that takes place in the Hamptons. After finishing the book, you might even feel like you’ve been there.

Katie Doyle seems like a smart, attractive woman that is a good mother, partner, and friend. Her boyfriend George is drawn to her while traveling on business. His financial stability and power must have caught her eye to make her leave the West Coast and move herself and her young son into her boyfriend’s rental house.

Katie’s undercurrent of attraction with Luke, a local surf school instructor and middle school teacher, has her torn between him and George as Katie becomes more aware of the class issues on the island. There is a little bit of a love triangle between Luke, Katie, and George.

As mentioned above, this book was an inside peek into the Hamptons and its residents. It’s the first beach read that delves into the serious issues of class. This issue occurs in many vacation areas all over the world – Mexico, Hawaii, Florida – or any island where rich people vacation.

People that have money bring in the vacation homes, restaurants, businesses and power. Other people are needed to clean and support the houses, work in the restaurants and businesses, and provide the services that clients are willing to pay for.

It’s a cycle that benefits both sides, but sometimes the people with power lose touch with reality when they are enabled to behave in a certain way.

The book is interesting in this way because it’s portrayed as Chick Lit but has underlying themes of class, social structure, discrimination. Not many Chick Lit books have this.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars 3 Stars

It’s a fun beach read with a little bit of literature class sprinkled in if you want to think beyond the beach and extend the themes.

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