Montauk by Nicola Harrison (review)

Two weeks ago I took the train into NYC for BEA and started Montauk. I spent my first evening there at an author and blogger event, mingling with some amazing people & authors – and imagine my surprise when I start talking with a woman who she introduces herself… “I wrote Montauk!” So surreal!

I told Nicola Harrison how much I was enjoying and where I was in the story – it was a huge turning point, and she just smiled – not wanting to give anything away. I read the second half on the train ride home and what an incredible debut novel!

There’s just something so magical and dreamy about this exclusive, beachside resort town – especially the start of it back in the 1930’s and how it was originally a small fishing town that bloomed into a glamorous, extravagant vacation spot filled with NYC high society elite with lavish summer parties & gatherings.

An epic and cinematic novel by debut author Nicola Harrison, Montauk captures the glamour and extravagance of a summer by the sea with the story of a woman torn between the life she chose and the life she desires.

Beatrice is new to that privileged life and excited to spend the summer with her husband in Montauk and she’s got high expectations for the season. But very quickly, she realizes that she doesn’t really fit in, and she might not really want to. She’s all but abandoned by her husband as he spends more time in the city working and she starts to find comfort, friendship, and familiarity with the locals – much more than with the high society wives she’s expected to spend her days with.

I read this one fast – there’s a broadness of themes and a wonderful mixture of characters that made it a quite enjoyable read. There is romance, and drama, and lots of secrets. But along the way, Beatrice emerges as a strong, sassy and confident character that I LOVED. Her stance on women’s equality and respect for all, no matter what social or economic class they belong to, was especially admirable.

The writing was dreamy and lyrical and transports you to the beach, smelling the salt air and hearing the waves crashing. And the ending will knock the breath out of you.

Thanks so much to St. Martin’s Press for this exceptional novel!

You can get Montauk now here!


  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (June 4, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250200113
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250200112

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About Montauk

Montauk, Long Island, 1938.

For three months, this humble fishing village will serve as the playground for New York City’s wealthy elite. Beatrice Bordeaux was looking forward to a summer of reigniting the passion between her and her husband, Harry. Instead, tasked with furthering his investment interest in Montauk as a resort destination, she learns she’ll be spending twelve weeks sequestered with the high society wives at The Montauk Manor―a two-hundred room seaside hotel―while Harry pursues other interests in the city.

College educated, but raised a modest country girl in Pennsylvania, Bea has never felt fully comfortable among these privileged women, whose days are devoted not to their children but to leisure activities and charities that seemingly benefit no one but themselves. She longs to be a mother herself, as well as a loving wife, but after five years of marriage she remains childless while Harry is increasingly remote and distracted. Despite lavish parties at the Manor and the Yacht Club, Bea is lost and lonely and befriends the manor’s laundress whose work ethic and family life stir memories of who she once was.

As she drifts further from the society women and their preoccupations and closer toward Montauk’s natural beauty and community spirit, Bea finds herself drawn to a man nothing like her husband –stoic, plain spoken and enigmatic. Inspiring a strength and courage she had almost forgotten, his presence forces her to face a haunting tragedy of her past and question her future.

Desperate to embrace moments of happiness, no matter how fleeting, she soon discovers that such moments may be all she has, when fates conspire to tear her world apart…

About Nicola

nicolaOriginally from Hampshire, England, Nicola Harrison moved to California when she was 14. She studied Literature at UCLA and received an MFA in creative writing at Stony Brook University. She is a member of The Writers Room and has short stories published in The Southampton Review and Glimmer Train as well as articles in Los Angeles Magazine and Orange Coast Magazine. She was the fashion and style staff writer for Forbes and had a weekly column at Lucky Magazine. Nicola is also the founder of a personal styling business, Harrison Style. She has spent many summers in Montauk and currently lives in downtown Manhattan. Montauk is her first novel. 

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