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Summer of '69
by Elin Hilderbrand

Published: 2019-06-18
Hardcover : 432 pages
18 members reading this now
72 clubs reading this now
8 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 2 of 2 members
The #1 New York Times Bestseller
Four siblings experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of a summer when everything changed, in New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand's first historical novel

Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century. It's 1969, and ...
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Introduction

The #1 New York Times Bestseller

Four siblings experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of
a summer when everything changed, in New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand's first historical novel

Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century. It's 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother's historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same: Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha's Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother and her worried mother, each of them hiding a troubling secret. As the summer heats up, Ted Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, man flies to the moon, and Jessie and her family experience their own dramatic upheavals along with the rest of the country.

In her first historical novel, rich with the details of an era that shaped both a nation and an island thirty miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again earns her title as queen of the summer novel.

Editorial Review

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Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

One of the ways Hilderbrand brings the 1969 setting to life is by using songs as the chapter titles. How did that choice affect your experience reading the book? Were you familiar with all the songs?
2. Summer of ’69 is told from multiple points of view. Did you have a favorite character? Were there any characters whose perspectives were not in the book, but you would have liked to read?
3. The Nichols-Foley-Levin’s are a “blended family.” Why do you think Kate didn’t let her children refer to each other as half- or step-siblings? Do you think that changed how the siblings related to each other?
4. The differences between each generation of the family were featured in many ways. Why do you think Kate and Blair reacted so differently when they were each faced with their husbands’ infidelity? Do you agree with Exalta about the importance of tradition?
5. In some ways, Blair and Kirby represent the split between the traditional gender role for women and the new options that became possible after feminism. In what ways do the sisters learn from each other’s choices? Do you think Jessie will be more like Blair or Kirby when she grows up?
6. Kirby suspects that Darren’s mother Dr. Frazier does not accept her based on what she learned about Kirby when she treated her as a patient. Do you think that was the true reason why she didn’t approve of Kirby dating Darren?
7. “In that moment, what Blair wants more than anything is not to be defined by other people.” Like Blair, was there ever a time in your life when you felt defined by your role more than your individual self? Was that a positive or negative experience for you?
8. What do you think about the ways that different characters take justice into their own hands? Were you satisfied by how Kirby chose to confront Officer Turbo? What about how Suze dealt with Garrison the tennis coach?
9. Throughout the book, Kate feels Tiger was drafted to punish her for a guilty secret. Were you surprised to learn what the secret was? Do you think Kate was right to tell Jessie the secret?
10. Summer of ’69 is Elin’s first historical novel. What time period should she dive into next?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Balcones Book Club Review of The Summer of '69"by PeggySue64 (see profile) 08/12/20

Most members of the book club enjoyed the nostalgic elements of the book, the writing style, the growth of the characters from the beginning of the book and the interweaved stories of each. Criticisms... (read more)

 
by cmarrow (see profile) 04/14/20

 
by ecdurant (see profile) 04/11/20

 
by pmlchick (see profile) 12/28/19

 
by kcharba (see profile) 11/20/19

 
  "Summer of 69"by shutchcroft (see profile) 09/06/19

We enjoyed this book- it brought back many memories of this time in all our lives!

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