Review: The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff

With war on the horizon, Adelia Monteforte’s parents send her away from Italy to America in hopes of saving her from the Nazi invasion. When she arrives in America, she is clearly an outsider. Her aunt and uncle take her in, they have no children of their own so they try their best with the teenage Adelia.

In hopes of distracting Adelia from her alienation and loss of her parents, they take her to the shore over the summer where she meets the Connally family. The four brothers welcome her with open arms and nickname her Addie. They make her feel like a normal girl though she is a foreigner and a Jew, with the Connally family she is just that….family.

Addie is immediately drawn to Charlie Connally, the oldest golden boy. He’s the football star and had a promising future at college. What would be ever want with a girl like Addie? But she can’t help but admire him from afar.

Liam in the quintessential bad boy of the family. Dark and brooding, he stands up for Addie when none of the other brothers do. But it’s Charlie who wins Addie’s affections. Addie can hardly believe it when Charlie confesses his love for her, her world is a dream now!

But with war coming and Charlie enlisting, nothing will ever be the same and when a personal tragedy befalls the Connally family, nothing will ever be the same for the boys or Addie. War and tragedy scatter the Connelly boys and Addie taking them all in unsuspecting directions. Will true love conquer all or will a second chance at love be just what Addie needs?

This book took me completely by surprise. While I love war time romances, this one was about missed opportunities, the choices that we consciously and unconsciously make that alter our life in subtle little ways, and the constant draw of home. This book had everything for me….the nostalgia element with the beach house, the lovers who just couldn’t ever get things right, the philosophical musings of choice and destiny, and redemption for a true love lost.

I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but let me just tell you, this book takes you down a path that is both familiar and yet different from the traditional war time romance. I was really surprised and captivated by this book from the very beginning.

The only thing I had an issue with, albeit a minor issue, was that I didn’t connect with Addie in the way that I had hoped. I didn’t full buy into her strength, I think that the author did a lot of telling and not a lot of showing when it came to that. I liked her but I wasn’t invested in her completely. I started to become invested when she was in London, but prior to that I just wasn’t as connected as I had expected.

For me there wasn’t enough time between the tragedy and the resolution/ending. While it felt like years, in actuality it was only like two years…..I was hoping for at least five years between the tragedy and the ending, to me two years was just too soon and not enough time for the evolution in some of the characters that happened. Time heals all wounds and I wanted to feel more of that healing in this book.

With that said though, the romance and ultimate ending worked so well and I really loved that. I wish we had had more of a chance to experience the chemistry and build up between Addie and her true love but over all I was completely satisfied with how things ended and who she ended up with. I personally felt her initial love interest annoying so I was glad that she wised up because her choice completely made sense and fit her so well.

This is my first experience with any of Jenoff’s books but it looks like she specializes in war time romances…..I have The Ambassador’s Daughter to read as well, so now that I’ve seen how wonderfully she writes and constructs a moving love story, I might just have to start with that one soon!

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book:The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff

  • Kindle Edition, 384 pages
    Expected publication: August 1st 2015 by MIRA (first published July 28th 2015)
  • Review copy provided by: Publisher/Author as part of: TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 4.5 out of 5

Genre: War romance, romance, historical fiction

Memorable lines/quotes: 


7 thoughts on “Review: The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I think a lot about missed opportunities and how choices you make today can alter your future in big ways. Thank you so much for being on the tour!

  2. I’m still intrigued enough to add this on my TBR list, cos I read a review on another blog and she didn’t connect or like Adelia much either. So it will be an interesting read when I get my hands on it. Thanks for your review!

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