Another Slam-Dunk 5-Star by Pam Jenoff!
The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach
~ Book Review by Amy Lignor
Readers know that, every once in a great while, stories appear which are retained forever because of their capacity to overwhelm and delve into a person’s heart so deeply, that the tale becomes a part of them. Upon saying this, it will come as no surprise to learn that behind the power, suspense, romance and history found in this one amazing creation, is author Pam Jenoff.
When we begin, Adelia Monteforte is put on a ship bound for America by her parents. The tide is turning and the end is near for their family in fascist Italy, and her parents want nothing more than for Adelia to be safe and have a shot at a life. This brave young girl arrives on America’s shores and ends up living with her aunt and uncle. Although they are a nice couple, they seem to be more than awkward when it comes to raising their niece. What they do for her, however, is head every summer to a place called Chelsea Beach. And here is where Adelia runs into her destiny. An incredible Irish-Catholic family, consisting of four boys who each have their own attitudes and emotions, envelop Adelia and bring her ‘in’ as part of their family. They all grow up, experiencing emotions from anger to envy to love; yet, even as they are having fun, the fear of WWII going on across the ocean hangs over them like a veil of darkness.
Adelia falls in love with the eldest boy, Charlie, but their hopes for a lovely life are dashed when Japan bombs Pearl Harbor and America enters the frightening battle. Pain occurs on Chelsea Beach which sends Adelia running straight into, and not away from, the war. Her job on a newspaper, helping children in an orphanage, dealing with the youthful emotions that have strengthened over time – all of these cause Adelia to find herself stuck in tragedies. The Germans seem almost easier to deal with, considering the fact that every time Adelia turns around, the past comes back to haunt her.
“The Kommandant’s Girl” was the first amazing novel by this author that dove into readers’ hearts and stayed there. With this new story, readers will once again be in awe of the power and beauty of these characters that will never let them go.