The Lost Summers of Newport
Grade : A-

The Lost Summers of Newport is, quite simply, a solid, cracking yarn, another novel in which Williams, Willig and White each take the point of view of a different women, weaving together stories of soapy scandal, heartbreak and true love in a convincing way.

These three stories take place among the upmarket glitz and glamor of Newport, Rhode Island.  Fittingly for a novel written by three authors, the novel splits its narrative focus in three ways; between Andie Figuero, who anchors the modern chapters from 2019; Ellen Daniels, whose chapters take place in 1899; and Lucia ‘Lucky’ Sprague, whose portion of the story takes place in 1957.

Single mother Andie produces the reality show Makeover Mansion, which does what it says on the box.  Her major project is to revamp Sprague House – which dates back to the late 1890s and is home to the reclusive Lucky Sprague – and bring back some of its old charm.  Lucky agrees to the project on condition that no one tries to make contact with her, no one films her family – or touches her boathouse.  She refuses to leave her rooms and is thought of by granddaughter Hadley as a foolish burden, while her grandson Luke supports her. It is thus up to Andie to dig deep into Lucky’s history and uncover it for the viewers, for producers looking for sensationalist moments and for the sake of her own curiosity and desire to fix the house.  Andie soon finds herself falling for Luke and getting quite close to the ragtag Sprague family.

Back in the 1950s, Lucky was a party girl who, at nine-years-old, had fled World War II and Mussolini’s fascism with her grandmother.  She married well, winning the hand of Stuyvesant (Stuy) Sprague, but the marriage was a shotgun wedding and is now rank with infidelity. Lucky remains attracted to Teddy Winthrop, a local man whose kindness when she was an emigrée girl she’s never forgotten.  Lucky’s loyalty remains with her grandmother Maybelle who is gently losing her mind.  But Maybelle’s repeated wanderings to the old boathouse eventually reveal something about her past – and Lucky’s too – which changes things forever.

Ellen is a vocal coach working for John Sprague, Lucky’s great-step-uncle, and has been assigned to give singing lessons to his stepsister, Maybelle Sprague.  John has intentionally modeled his new Newport home after Italian palaces in the hope that Maybelle will charm an Italian Prince, specifically Prince di Conti.  Ellen sets about her task, forging a friendship with unpretentious, awkward and honest Maybelle, but the secrets of her past constantly threaten to emerge  When Ellen begins to develop an attraction to the prince herself, the whole world seems to stand breathlessly waiting.

What secret lies in the boathouse?  What dark truths do Lucky and her family guard, even to this day?

As I said, this is a terrific yarn, even though the solution to the central mystery begins to become more obvious by the midpoint.  I had a pretty good idea of what was happening and who had done what to whom, but by then I cared too much about the characters to stop reading.  The book is terrific and a great work of art.

I liked Lucky’s chapters the best; she’s strong-willed, with plenty of vim and vigor and knows who she is.  That doesn’t mean Ellen or Andie are slouches, but Lucky’s chapters were the ones I looked most forward to as I read.

The book presents us with three romances, all of them equally interesting and dashing in their own way.  And all three authors get both the feeling of Newport society and the way the current town works.

What a feast for the eyes and soul.  The Lost Summers of Newport is the perfect beach read.

Buy it at Amazon, Audible or your local independent retailer

Visit our Amazon Storefront

Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes

Grade: A-

Book Type: Historical Mystery

Sensuality: Subtle

Review Date : May 17, 2022

Publication Date: 05/2022

Recent Comments …

  1. Personal impression is subjective. What works for one person doesn’t always work for others, as we all know. However, when…

  2. I appreciate your comments, I find their tone completely in line with the tone of the review itself, not an…

Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at, follow her on Twitter at or contribute to her Patreon at or her Ko-Fi at
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments