Review: Cocoa Beach

by Becky
Published: Last Updated on

Story: Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams is a twisted family drama set in post WWI America. Virginia Fortescue has returned home from serving as an ambulance driver married to a British surgeon and carrying his child.  After two years of receiving letters from her estranged husband, Virginia receives word that there has been a fire in his home in Florida and his brother has confirmed the doctor’s death. Virginia and her daughter have inherited everything including homes and businesses. With prohibition in full swing, Virginia must navigate murky waters to establish what exactly happened to her husband, what kind of business he was actually running, and how she and her daughter can return to a life of certainty and safety.

Not far away, the ocean beats against the yellow sand, and the sound makes me want to take off my shoes and socks and wander, aimless, into the surf.

Why: I read and reviewed Beatriz Williams’ The Wicked City on our Instagram account and enjoyed her vivid descriptions and exciting plot. When I had the opportunity to read this summery title, it was a no brainer. The timing couldn’t have been better since I’ve been reading a few more serious titles including some non-fiction. A tantalizing beach read was just what I needed! Plus the tie in to the war and a romantic/action/mystery-ish nature…yada yada yada…it was meant for me!

“I’m not the kind of woman who sits back with her knitting, you know, and leaves the dirty tasks to the men.”

Opinion: This book just didn’t hit the hype for me, and I was so disappointed because I wanted to love it! My general dislike is probably due to my high expectations, and I do think it is a good book. For me personally, however, it was a bit complicated for a beach read, and the characters didn’t quite live up to what I remembered from The Wicked City. The shifts in timeline from WWI scenes to their present day were sometimes hard to follow, and while a good mystery incorporates a number of intricate details, there was something about this story that I couldn’t keep up with the pieces.

With all of that said, I enjoyed reading it! I’ve seen other reviews that say you won’t want to put it down, and that is true! It is an entertaining book that will keep your attention even after you read the epilogue. Williams transported me to the steamy Florida summer, and I enjoy the way she uses all five senses to create her scenes – smells especially! I still have a copy of A Certain Age that I want to read, and I have a feeling that won’t be my last Beatriz Williams book!

Because sooner or later we all experience that extraordinary, irrational terror, all the more paralyzing because you don’t quite know why you’re so afraid. Someone’s late coming home on a stormy night, or a child goes to bed with a fever, or a siren wails delicately in the distance, and you’re certain, you’re certain, you’re certain something must be terribly wrong, this is it, your number’s come up. The bell tolls for thee.

Recommendation: If you’re starting a list of summer beach reads, I would consider putting this on there. It is not mindless reading though, so you would need some time to devote to it if you want to get the full effect of the novel. There are a lot of storylines, twists and turns so I don’t recommend it for distracted reading times. It is a great choice for those of us who enjoy Prohibition-era settings and moody, troubled heroines though!

She came out of the sea, long-limbed and silvery, covered in nothing but salt water and moonshine, laughing for the first time in ages, collapsing in his outstretched arms.

Journaling Prompts: (If you haven’t read any of my other reviews, I enjoy putting together a few questions about the book for those that have already read, or choose to read the book after viewing this post!)

  1. How would you describe Virginia?
  2. Simon uses the word “phantom” to describe Virginia and names his shipping business Phantom Shipping. What about the word phantom makes it an appropriate choice?
  3. Do each of the following characters receive justice in your opinion?
    • Simon
    • Samuel
    • Virginia
    • Clara
    • Lydia
    • Portia
  4. Sins of parents affecting future generations is a reoccurring theme in Cocoa Beach. How does this play out for the following characters?
    • Virginia
    • Clara
    • Lydia
    • Evelyn
    • Simon/Samuel
    • Portia

Special thanks to TLC Book Tours for the book in exchange for my honest review!

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Heather J @ TLC Book Tours June 3, 2018 - 7:58 pm

Thanks for being a part of the tour.

Beatriz Williams, author of Cocoa Beach, on tour May/June 2018 | TLC Book Tours June 3, 2018 - 8:00 pm

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