This Summer of ’69 book review gives you all the details you need to know about this historical fiction beach read, along with book club questions. And because this is a book pairings blog “where books meet lifestyle,” I have also provided some recommended pairings for added fun, like a playlist, the sequel and more.
Summer of '69 Book Review
Summer of ’69 is my favorite Elin Hilderbrand book, one of my favorite books of 2019, and one of the best Summer books! It has a bit of so many things I adore: historical fiction; family drama; Martha’s Vineyard; and pop culture.
The plot follows the Levin family during a monumental Summer in Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Whereas they usually all spend the Summer in Nantucket with their grandmother, this year, Blair is pregnant with twins in Boston, Kirby is working in Martha’s Vineyard, Tiger is fighting in Vietnam and only young Jessie is vacationing with their grandmother in Nantucket.
NOTE: Recently, on a trip to Nantucket, I spotted the house on which author Elin Hilderbrand has said this book was based:
When the Summer of ’69 heats up, Senator Ted Kennedy’s car sinks in Chappaquiddick in Martha's Vineyard, causing the death of a woman. And, man flies to the moon, all amidst a backdrop of civil rights and war.
Summer of ’69 keeps you immersed in the family’s lives and it transports you to the 60s at the same time for an extremely satisfying read that merges Summer, history, the perfect beach settings; and family!
Based on the quality of writing and how much this book accomplishes, I recommend this one the highest of all Elin Hilderbrand's books.
Summer of '69 Book Club Questions
How did the settings of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard differ, if at all, than anywhere else this story could have been set during this monumental Summer?
What popular culture references stood out to you?
Did you like the use of songs as chapter titles? Which one is your favorite?
Were you familiar with the Chappaquiddick incident before reading this book?
With which sibling's perspective could you most identify?
How did the generations of the family differ from each other?
Discuss feminism as portrayed by the different female characters in this book.
How did this pivotal Summer change each of the siblings' world views.
For more like Summer of ’69:
- Watch the movie Chappaquiddick.
- Listen to this Summer of '69 book playlist.
- Watch the moon landing episode of The Wonder Years (S1 Ep 5 "The Phone Call").
- Check out my Pinterest board inspired by Summer of '69.
- Read my list of the best Elin Hilderbrand books (my favorite author!).
- Read the sequel Summer of '79, which you can find in the anthology book Reunion Beach.