The High Season
by Judy Blundell

Overview - "A shimmering story of art, money, and celebrity, The High Season is wicked summer fun."--Helen Simonson, New York Times bestselling author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

The Hamptons hath no fury like a woman scorned.  Read more...

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More About The High Season by Judy Blundell
"A shimmering story of art, money, and celebrity, The High Season is wicked summer fun."--Helen Simonson, New York Times bestselling author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

The Hamptons hath no fury like a woman scorned.

No matter what the world throws her way, at least Ruthie Beamish has the house. Lovingly renovated, located by the sea in a quiet Long Island village, the house is her nest egg--the retirement account shared with her ex-husband, Mike, and the college fund for their teenage daughter, Jem. The catch? To afford the house, Ruthie must let it go during the best part of the year.

It's Memorial Day weekend and Ruthie has packed up their belongings for what Jem calls "the summer bummer" the family's annual exodus to make way for renters. This year, the Hamptons set has arrived. The widow of a blue-chip artist, Adeline Clay is elegant, connected, and accompanied by a "gorgeous satellite" stepson. But soon Adeline demonstrates an uncanny ability to help herself to Ruthie's life--her house, her friends, even her husband (okay, ex-husband, but still). And after her job as the director of a local museum is threatened, Ruthie finally decides to fight back.

Meanwhile, away from the watchful eyes of her parents, Jem is tasting independence at her first summer job, but soon finds herself growing up too fast. One of Ruthie's employees, a master of self-invention named Doe, infiltrates the inner circle of an eccentric billionaire and his wayward daughter. With a coterie of social climbers and Ruthie's old flame thrown into the mix, the entire town finds itself on the verge of tumultuous change. By the end of one unhinged, unforgettable summer, nothing will be the same.

In a novel packed with indelible characters, crackling wit, and upstairs/downstairs drama, Judy Blundell emerges as a voice for all seasons--a wry and original storyteller who knows how the most disruptive events in our lives can twist endings into new beginnings.

Praise for The High Season

"A mesmerizing, head-spinning--and sometimes madcap-hilarious--take of have and have-nots. Populated by artists, a billionaire and his aimless daughter, scheming teenagers and backstabbing adults, it's the perfect beach read even if there's no sand in sight."--People (Book of the Week)

"A let's-get-lost tale of romance, high art, and class intrigue . . . in the smart, breezy sweet spot between Meg Wolitzer and Elin Hilderbrand."--Entertainment Weekly

  • ISBN-13: 9780525508717
  • ISBN-10: 0525508716
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Publish Date: May 2018
  • Page Count: 416
  • Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Women
Books > Fiction > Family Life - General
Books > Fiction > Literary

BookPage Reviews

I know what you read last summer

Thrills, laughs, romance, drama—you know what you want out of a beach read. But just because you know what you want doesn’t mean you’ve found it yet. Based on what you read last year, we’re recommending eight new beachy books to fill your long summer days.

Jessica Knoll’s Luckiest Girl Alive. You relish bad-girl thrillers fueled by toxic friendships, bad choices and exclusive parties.

Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton. In this deliciously dark novel, single white female Louise is 29, flat broke and feels like she has utterly failed at achieving her New York City dream of becoming a famous writer. Enter 23-year-old socialite and bohemian glamour girl Lavinia, bursting with youthful joie de vivre, boundary issues and seemingly unlimited funds. Their intense friendship blossoms into a glitzy NYC bender that includes designer drugs and copious selfies in increasingly over-the-top settings, including ultra-expensive hotel bars, secret literary parties, costume balls and seedy, bottle-service-only sex clubs. Louise is old enough to know that everything that goes up must come down, and her descent is glorious fun.

“I want to remember this forever. Until the day I die.”

The Big Apple. Catch Hamilton, stay up all night on a Manhattan rooftop, and ride the Staten Island Ferry for free at dawn.

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand or any novel set by the ocean that revolves around women on the verge of something life-changing.

The High Season, the debut adult novel from YA author Judy Blundell, who has a gift for depicting issues of love and class in jaw-dropping, gorgeous prose. Museum director Ruthie Beamish rents out her magnificent beach house every summer. But when socialite Adeline Clay moves in for the season, Ruthie’s life begins to deteriorate—from her job to her self-respect to her fraught relationship with her estranged husband. Ruthie knows it’s not Adeline’s fault, but she increasingly views the other woman as a symbol of everything she’s missing. Additional storylines follow Ruthie’s social-climbing employee, Doe, and her teenage daughter, Jem, but the book begins and ends with Ruthie, whose interior state is rendered with remarkable insight. Blundell’s empathetic attention to tiny relational shifts makes every moment of connection feel magical.

“Summer was a forever season, and held no pain.”

The beach, of course, where you’ll dine al fresco, wander through an art gallery and casually infiltrate the lives of the obscenely wealthy.

A screwball historical novel like Christopher Moore’s The Serpent of Venice. You’re looking for an armchair escape that also engages your brain.

The Judge Hunter, a hilarious combination of historical adventure and bromance by acclaimed author Christopher Buckley. Hapless Balthasar “Balty” de St. Michel can’t seem to hold a job in swinging 1664 London, but his diabolical brother-in-law has hatched the perfect scheme: Send Balty to the New World in order to chase down some regicides on the lam. But Balty isn’t cut out for life in New England and only survives the first week thanks to a mysterious (and often murderous) secret agent of the crown known as Huncks. High jinks quickly ensue as Balty unwittingly blasphemes his way through Puritan society and Huncks attempts to covertly start a war with the Dutch. This is a Larry David- esque tale for the history buff, filled with delightfully off-putting characters and read-through-your-fingers moments of situational comedy.

“But you might fall in love with New England. . . . They say a man can be anything he wants to be there.”

A New England town with your bestie—ideally somewhere with a rowdy historical pub crawl.

An entertaining deep dive into culture like The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs.

Planet Funny by Ken Jennings, whom you may remember from his record-breaking run on “Jeopardy” or his bestselling books like Brainiac. Humor is difficult to study—it’s hard to define, it’s different for everyone, and it changes over time. But it’s also incredibly important in today’s world, whether you’re making a flight safety video, trying to land a date or attempting to get into politics. Jennings has penned a highly entertaining yet genuinely scholarly look at the evolution of humor—from ancient Sumerian fart jokes to Andy Kaufman’s absurdist humor and internet cat memes. This book will have you analyzing everything around you, because these days, everybody’s a comedian.

“One of the worst qualities of a Roman jokester, according to Cicero, was that he used jokes ‘brought from home’ instead of ones made up on the spur of the moment.”

A road trip with someone who won’t mind that you’ll be spouting off funny facts and cracking jokes for the majority of the vacation. Just don’t bring any from home.

An intense technothriller like Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz. You’re looking for suspense that makes the pages fly by as quickly as those beautiful summer days.

Exit Strategy by debut novelist Charlton Pettus. Wealthy scientist Jordan Parrish is on the brink of losing everything, so he makes the call to Exit Strategy, a secret organization that squirrels away high-profile criminals, crooked politicians or anyone who has reached the end of the line. They fake your death and give you a new face and life, and you can never contact your old family ever again—at the risk of their deaths. When Jordan begins to regret making the call, he starts asking questions: Was it really his choice, or did someone nudge him in the direction of Exit Strategy? As Jordan works his way back to his old life, the result is a fast-paced joyride with cool tech, hot romance and high-stakes adventure.

“In a while you’re going to be somewhere far away, new town, new life, new you.”

As far away from home as you can get.

The latest action-adventure thriller from Clive Cussler or Stuart Woods.

Gale Force by award-winning author Owen Laukkanen. When the cargo ship Pacific Lion founders off the coast of Alaska, it provides a multimillion-dollar opportunity for salvagers like McKenna Rhodes. After her father’s death at sea, McKenna left the deep-sea salvaging business, but retrieving the ship’s cargo would yield a profit she can’t pass up. And so she gathers her father’s old crew on her tugboat, Gale Force—but what they don’t know is that a stowaway was aboard the Pacific Lion with millions of dollars stolen from the Yakuza. The thrills come as hard and fast as a hurricane, and readers will love the brave female lead.

“She was happy, at least, to have escaped the city. The water was where she belonged.”

The Pacific Northwest, where you can marvel at the power of nature.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes or any story that makes you feel the full depth of human emotion.

How to Walk Away, the latest uplifting novel by Katherine Center. This bittersweet romantic comedy covers all your heart’s bases: familial love, romantic love and, most importantly, self-love. The unthinkable happens to Margaret Jacobsen: Her fiancé, Chip, proposes to her while they’re flying high in a little white Cessna; when Chip tries to land the plane, he loses control, and they crash. Margaret wakes up in the hospital, badly burned and unable to use her legs. And the hits keep coming: Chip barely visits; Margaret’s physical therapist is morose and difficult; and Margaret’s estranged sister has returned after three years, dredging up long-buried family secrets. But lovable Margaret is enviably tough, and through all the trauma and change, she maintains a great sense of humor.

“It’s the trying that heals you. That’s all you have to do. Just try.”

A getaway with your closest girlfriends to a picturesque cabin, where any drama or pain will be met with understanding and love.

A book that made you laugh while also speaking to some deeper truths about femininity and aging, like I Thought There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley.

There Are No Grown-Ups by Pamela Druckerman. In this “Midlife Coming-of-Age Story,” the fresh and witty Druckerman (Bringing Up Bébé) makes sense of life after the big 4-0, settling into her home in Paris with her husband and children, figuring out what “age-appropriate” clothing really means, grasping the French woman’s philosophy of aging and truly becoming comfortable with herself. Druckerman’s funny yet deeply insightful essays ring true, and they will no doubt have you nodding your head in appreciation, because yes, someone out there really gets it.

“You know you’re a fortysomething parent when you’ve decided that swimming counts as a shower.”

The nearest pool, or if you can’t get that far, a bathtub will do. Just make sure someone else is watching the kids.


This article was originally published in the June 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

BAM Customer Reviews