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westhampton leisure hour book coverReviewed by Lauren Cannavino

The summer season does not end in the Hamptons until the annual event at the West Hampton Leisure Hour and Supper Club. Hosted at the estate of Mrs. Serena Lyons, the summer visitors get a true taste of luxury through the champagne, the food, the grounds, the music, the gossip and the company. The year is 1938 and as a now famous hurricane stirs beyond the shore, Serena fights a personal battle that she has been struggling with for thirty years. The day of this particular party, Serena decides she will suffer no more.

Under the watchful, guarded eye of her husband, the Captain, Serena waits every year for her long lost love Kit Peel to return to her. Upon his return, she hopes to receive the answers she has been so desperately seeking for so many years, only they never come. Year in and year out, the party continues on, the guests rave and Serena is a hostess of perfection. This year, with the storm brewing, emotions and secrets are ready to boil over in a tumultuous fashion.

The story is told through different perspectives and pieces of the past that once lay shattered begin to assimilate into a sad story full of longing, love and missed connections. Serena’s life, even though opulent, has always been full of tragedy, strife and moments of regret. She is a quiet, wistful main character that always seems out of reach, looking out the window and across the lawn for something that will never arrive. Additional details of the past are poured into the pages of The Westhampton Leisure Hour and Supper Club though the voices of the Captain and also Kit which adds a great dimension and keeps the story moving quickly. As the storm rolls in, the secrets, lies and admissions of the past come tumbling out and everyone’s lives are forever changed.

Author Samantha Bruce-Benjamin is a lyrical, descriptive writer that makes the glamour, the intrigue and the mysteries of the Hamptons and the residents, come alive. Bruce-Benjamin clearly spent a lot of time on her research and her character development and it shows as she is able to capture so many complex emotions and make them shine, rather than get lost in the drama. The Westhampton Leisure Hour and Supper Club will make the reader step back into their own pasts as they watch the characters struggle with not only that, but also their realities.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Lauren Cannavino is a graduate student, freelance writer, wine lover, and avid reader. Random musings can be found over at www.goldiesays.wordpress.com.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Kelley & Hall Book Publicity. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.