Review: The Last Bathing Beauty by Amy Sue Nathan

This cover makes me so excited for summer and long walks on the beach. I have had it on my radar for quite some time and when it was picked as the March Amazon First Reads selection, I knew it was going to be a big new release.

I haven’t read anything by this author before but she has written three other well received books and I was excited to give this one a try.

Besides all the hype and the beautiful eye catching cover, this book boasted a sassy heroine and I was most excited to read about her, but beyond that I didn’t really know too much about what this book was about.


A former beauty queen faces the secrets of her past—for herself and the sake of her family’s future—in a heartfelt novel about fate, choices, and second chances.

Everything seemed possible in the summer of 1951. Back then Betty Stern was an eighteen-year-old knockout working at her grandparents’ lakeside resort. The “Catskills of the Midwest” was the perfect place for Betty to prepare for bigger things. She’d head to college in New York City. Her career as a fashion editor would flourish. But first, she’d enjoy a wondrous last summer at the beach falling deeply in love with an irresistible college boy and competing in the annual Miss South Haven pageant. On the precipice of a well-planned life, Betty’s future was limitless.

Decades later, the choices of that long-ago season still reverberate for Betty, now known as Boop. Especially when her granddaughter comes to her with a dilemma that echoes Boop’s memories of first love, broken hearts, and faraway dreams. It’s time to finally face the past—for the sake of her family and her own happiness. Maybe in reconciling the life she once imagined with the life she’s lived, Boop will discover it’s never too late for a second chance. (summary from Goodreads)


I am not going to lie ,when I read the summary and saw that this book was set during the 1950s summer, at a lakeside resort similar to the Catskills, my mind instantly went to Dirty Dancing. Echos of ‘no one puts baby in a corner’ echoed in my mind, even before I started reading this one. I love that movie and I can appreciate a lost time when families went on resort vacations together and made memories. So even before I cracked this one open, I already felt a connection and joy at what waited inside.

Right away I connected to the main character Betty. I loved how the story is told between an older Betty and a younger Betty. Betty’s granddaughter Hannah plays an important role in Betty’s life and I loved watching Betty tell her story to her granddaughter who happens to be very much like her. I thought their relationship was heartwarming and made me miss my grandma!

This is an excellent coming of age story. I was hooked and completely invested in Betty’s story. I could totally relate to her restlessness and her hope of finding a summer love when she goes to work at the resort. Often when there is a duel timeline story, one is usually stronger than the other but in this book, I felt the two were very balanced and I enjoyed both the modern and historical parts in equal measure.

Even if some of the story felt familiar to me, as if it were something I had read or heard before, I didn’t feel like it was a cookie cutter story at all. I thought Betty was a fantastic character with lots of spunk and sass and even if her story had familiar themes, I found her character to be a stand out and she made my reading experience unique and enjoyable.

This is an excellent summer read and I am looking forward to reading more by this author in the future. It was a perfect novel to escape with and it left me feeling satisfied with the story and ending and excited for more books from this author which to me is the trademark of a successful read!

Book Info and Rating

Kindle Edition, 300 pages
Expected publication: April 1st 2020 by Lake Union Publishing
Free review copy provided by publisher, Lake Union Publishing in partnership with Tall Poppy Writers/Bloggers, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: historical fiction, womens fiction



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