March 25, 2019

Abbreviations #82: A Hundred Summers, Wuthering Heights + Truly Devious

A Hundred Summers centers around Lily Dane, her (former) best friend Budgie and her (former) paramour Nick Greenwald. The novel switches timelines between a past summer when Lily and Nick fell in love and the present summer when Lily is still unmarried, living with her family and taking charge of the upbringing of her younger sister and when Budgie and Nick come back into her life. 

I so rarely read historical fiction these days. The only reason A Hundred Summers (and author Beatriz Williams) even made it onto my radar is because of my friends Hannah and Kelly, who are both readers whose recommendations I trust and who did this fun event spotlighting Beatriz Williams. I’m glad I finally read it (and buddy read it with Kristin too, which made the experience even more special), as it was quite enjoyable! It’s surprisingly readable, which immediately addressed my concern that it would take me time to dive into it. The main characters, while not all-time favorites, immediately caught my interest, likable or complicated enough for me to want to know how their story plays out. I particularly want to mention how the dual timeline narrative worked well in exciting my curiosity, as well as building up the tension, as Williams truly employed it in a way where the plot thickened with every chapter. While I did guess at most of the plot and I did find some of it outrageously dramatic (in the style of Gossip Girl), it was fun and compelling overall. My first experience with Beatriz Williams was decidedly a pleasant one, and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams  | Publisher: Putnam Adult | Publication Date: May 30, 2013 | Source: Owned the Kindle book

John Lockwood comes to take up residence at Thrushcross Grange, and upon a visit to his landlord at Wuthering Heights, he finds himself intrigued by the history of all the individuals currently in residence. He presses his housekeeper, Nelly Dean, to recount all she knows of them, and is treated to a recounting of the complicated relationships and goings-on involving the Earnshaws, Lintons and Heathcliff from childhood until present day.

I can finally say that I’ve read Wuthering Heights, friends! While I’m pleased at accomplishing this personal goal, I must say that my opinion on this story is difficult to place on a spectrum of hate or love. The first three chapters are a little difficult to get into, particularly as I had to familiarize with Bronte’s narrative style. But after overcoming that initial challenge, I was surprised to discover that the rest of the novel is easier to digest. On the one hand, I can see why this one has been picked for school curriculums, as the themes, characters, setting and writing style would all be interesting to conjecture upon in a class. I’m also just inquisitive in general, so my interest in seeing whether all the characters would get what they had coming in the end also kept me turning the pages. On the other hand, the characters were so unlikeable… which is no fun when you’re a character-driven reader like me. It was also not fun to read about all the terrible situations and dramatics. Still, I’m glad I finally read this it, even though I wouldn’t be able to say that I personally liked it or even recommend it to others.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë | Publisher: Penguin Classics | Publication Date: December 1847 | Source: Owned the hardcover

Ellingham Academy is a private boarding school in Vermont that is known for two things: 1) being a place for the best of the best in a variety of fields, a place where learning by through books and classes and through riddles, puzzles and unconventional means is encouraged and 2) being the place where founder Albert Ellingham’s wife and daughter were kidnapped by someone known only as Truly Devious, which is a crime that remains unsolved. Stevie Bell, who is a true crime aficionado and aspiring detective, is determined to crack this cold case when she is invited to be a freshman at the school. But it looks like Truly Devious isn’t quite done with murder and mayhem at the academy… 

I was excited to read Truly Devious. It isn’t only because I buddy read it with Mel, Amy & Heather, but it was also because it sounded like a fun mystery that had been getting a lot of praise from a lot of folks online. Unfortunately, I ended up feeling let down by this book overall. I don’t read a lot of young adult mystery/thriller books, so that did partially contribute to my overall sentiments. But that was only a very minute percentage of my opinion, as the rest is made up of the fact that I thought the actual execution of the modern mystery was lacking (in clues and in tension) and the characters weren’t very memorable. However, I did like the way it switched between Stevie’s present-day storyline and the case files, flashbacks and interviews pertaining to the mystery in the past, the atmospheric boarding school setting (which was cool and creepy all at once) and the anxiety rep. I’m still mildly curious about the sequel, but I don’t envision myself prioritizing it after feeling lukewarm towards this novel overall.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson | Series: Truly Devious #1 | Publisher: Harper Collins | Publication Date: January 16, 2018 | Source: Kindle book borrowed from the library


  1. I loved A Hundred Summers! And I feel so bad that I still haven't made any more progress on Wuthering Heights LOL


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