What an immersive novel! Set in the extravagant mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, The Lost Summers of Newport follows Lucky, Ellen, and Andie as they all experience the Sprague mansion. This novel spans a 120 year period in Newport and the novel evolves over time like a deep mystery.
Starting in 1899, the young musician, Ellen, is brought to Sprague Hall to instruct young Maybelle how to sing for the grand arrival of an Italian prince. Maybelle is the mistress of the house, although her older brother John controls her money and her livelihood. The family is struggling to fit in within the Newport elite, but Maybelle’s marriage to a prince would solve all their problems.
Lucky in 1957 is in an unhappy marriage within the halls of Sprague mansion. Descendants of Maybelle, Lucky has inherited the house, but also inherits the problems. Her husband Stuyvesant (literally my new favorite name) is a philanderer. Blaming his cheating on Lucky’s cold manner, Stuy, attracts many mistresses of Newport. Lucky, however, has bigger things on her plate. For instance, she is helping to create a charity ball to support the preservation society for the old mansions of Newport. Lucky’s story was my favorite. She is a strong woman with a major passion.
Andie is hired in 2019 to produce a tv show, Makeover Mansion, renovating 3 rooms in Sprague Hall. Even though Lucky still lives in the house, Andie’s production crew is to have no contact with anyone in the family and should only stay within the rooms they are renovating. The modern Spragues are just as hot tempered and opinionated as the previous generations, and Lucky’s grandchildren Luke and Hadley are fighting about whether the tv show can continue or if the house needs sold. As walls come down (literally) the family’s secrets become revealed.
I really enjoyed the setting and progression of this novel. I was constantly flipping to the next page to see what new mystery or events would happen with all 3 of the main women. Great summer read!
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