Cocoa Beach: A Novel

Cocoa Beach: A Novel

by Beatriz Williams

Audio CD(Unabridged)

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The New York Times bestselling author of A Certain Age transports readers to sunny Florida in this lush and enthralling historical novel—an enchanting blend of love, suspense, betrayal, and redemption set among the rumrunners and scoundrels of Prohibition-era Cocoa Beach.

Burdened by a dark family secret, Virginia Fortescue flees her oppressive home in New York City for the battlefields of World War I France. While an ambulance driver for the Red Cross, she meets a charismatic British army surgeon whose persistent charm opens her heart to the possibility of love. As the war rages, Virginia falls into a passionate affair with the dashing Captain Simon Fitzwilliam, only to discover that his past has its own dark secrets—secrets that will damage their eventual marriage and propel her back across the Atlantic to the sister and father she left behind.

Five years later, in the early days of Prohibition, the newly widowed Virginia Fitzwilliam arrives in the tropical boomtown of Cocoa Beach, Florida, to settle her husband’s estate. Despite the evidence, Virginia does not believe Simon perished in the fire that destroyed the seaside home he built for her and their young daughter. Separated from her husband since the early days of their marriage, the headstrong Virginia plans to uncover the truth, for the sake of the daughter Simon never met.

Simon’s brother and sister welcome her with open arms and introduce her to a dazzling new world of citrus groves, white beaches, bootleggers, and Prohibition agents. But Virginia senses a predatory presence lurking beneath the irresistible, hedonistic surface of this coastal oasis. The more she learns about Simon and his mysterious business interests, the more she fears that the dangers that surrounded Simon now threaten her and their daughter’s life as well.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538416228
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/27/2017
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz Williams spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons, before her career as a writer took off. She lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore.

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Cocoa Beach: A Novel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I live in cocoa beach, FL so it was interesting to read about the early days of our beach town. I highly recommend this book. I enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beatriz Williams has been my favorite author for a while now, and once again she has created a book that captivates from beginning to end, and leaves me wanting the next installment immediately! If you have enjoyed her previous books, you won't be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Takes a few pages to keep up with the back and forth of the storyline but toward the end you cannot put this down due to the heroine being in such peril due to some dangerous twists in the plot. Some how I kept having faith in the husband's innocence. At times it's hard to do because of the many lies going around. This novel really brought some questions up about my mother's parents because when she was at home 1923-1941 they went to Miami every Christmas. She talked about going to the jai lai games. Reading this novel made me wonder what was the purpose of their yearly trips her father had a taxi business in her home town and during the 20s did he "deliver" more than people and groceries around the county with trips to Miami and Detroit to pick up cars right next to the Canadian border. I will never get those answers because everyone is dead that might know the answers. My mother may not have known the answers any way
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bonnie Franks More than 1 year ago
First of all, I read A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams prior to reading this book. It was some time ago that I read it, but I still remember it. Beatriz Williams is that kind of writer. I say that because I became familiar with Virginia Fitzsimmons in that book, which was primarily about her sister and her father. You can read this book easily as a stand alone. You can read the dustjacket to find out what the book is about, but simply put, it is about a strong woman who falls in love with a man. There are so many circumstances that take place after that fact that must be read in the book to mean anything to you. I fell in love with this book. There is love, there is a mystery underlying everything, there are treacherous happenings, and you will want to keep turning pages to find out more. The writing is wonderful. There are phrases in this book that I will not forget for a long time. And the love letters. This book is a box of chocolates that you will both want to savor and to gobble down. It is a pleasure to get lost in.
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
I found it very interesting in the first couple of chapters but after that it got tedius and repetitive. I particularly found the going back and forth between the past and present annoying. This made it hard to follow. The ending was very abrupt and confusing. I found other book sites where readers also found the ending very confusing. Maybe I missed something along the way but the book just didn't hold my interest and frankly, I couldn't wait for it to be done. I had hoped for more of the history of FL and this fell short. I won't be reading any other books by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After 147 pages, I gave up. I can't connect with the characters and am tired waiting for the "intricate blend of suspense, betrayal and redemption" to start.
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
One of the great pleasures of reading Beatriz Williams' books is that if you are intrigued by a secondary character, frequently you will get more of them in a subsequent book. In a previous book, A Certain Age, set in the jazz age of New York City, Virginia Fortescue is the older sister of Sophie, who is a major character in the book. We learn a little bit about Virginia, enough to peak our interest. In Cocoa Beach we get Virginia's story. During WWI, Virginia volunteered to work overseas in France, driving an ambulance to bring wounded men to get medical attention. She meets a handsome British doctor, Simon, and they quickly fall in love, even though Simon is married. Simon has a difficult family situation, as does Virginia, perhaps that is one thing that attracts them to each other. They marry, but soon something tears them apart. They are separated for three years, and then Virginia is notified that Simon has died in a fire on his property in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Virginia goes to Cocoa Beach with her three year-old daughter and finds Simon's brother and sister waiting for her. She has her doubts about her husband's death, and is determined to get to the bottom of what Simon has been up to for these three years. Williams' drops us into the humid, muggy atmosphere of south Florida, and you can almost smell the sea air, taste the sweet oranges, and feel the hot sand under your feet. One thing I find interesting about many of Williams' female characters is their interest in cars. In Cocoa Beach, A Certain Age, and Tiny Little Thing, the women learn not only how to drive cars, but to repair and maintain them as well. This is most unusual for women of these times. The writing in this story reminds me of watching a 1940's Barbara Stanwyck movie on Turner Classic Movies. The dialogue is rat-a-tat-tat, and the repartee is snappy. Cocoa Beach could have easily been a movie about the 1920's made in 1947. I also enjoyed the British slang in this book- "dosh" (money), "rotter" (a bad guy, a "player"), and "skint" (broke). Fair warning: I will be tossing these terms around in my everyday language. You don't need to have read A Certain Age to enjoy Cocoa Beach, but you will have a deeper appreciation if you did. And I was happy to see Marshall, the Prohibition agent from A Certain Age, pop up here; I hope the end of this story leads us to see more of him in the next Beatriz Williams book. Cocoa Beach is a terrific beach read, a book to get lost in while you are lounging on your porch with a glass of iced tea. (The cover is gorgeous too.)
Honolulubelle More than 1 year ago
Favorite Quotes: I’d never received a compliment like that. Certainly not from a grown man, a man of mating age. I didn’t even know that kind of man, other than that he existed, a separate and untamed species, kept in another cage from mine on the opposite end of the zoo. And that was well enough with me. I had no interest in mating. Having survived such a childhood, I thought myself practical and resourceful – and I was, by God! Because while houses burned down regularly, and people died all the time, I had never imagined that Simon could meet his end like that. You could not extinguish my husband in mere flame. I simply wasn’t possible. My Review: Cocoa Beach was a mesmerizing read. Beatriz Williams has more than mastered her craft. Her words imbued her characters with a luxurious texture and her lush and effusively detailed scenes pull me right inside the narrator’s head. I could see the cigarette smoke curling, smell the orange blossoms, hear the car engines, and feel the reverberations of bomb explosions. But the characters – oh the characters! I was spellbound and confounded by them. I frequently waffled and felt conflicted, as I did not want Simon to be as wicked, greedy, unscrupulous, or as untrustworthy as Virginia was being led to believe. But someone was lying and I could not decide on whom as his entire family proved to be as slippery as eels with their words. Saying a lot while saying nothing precisely, which required considerable skill and talent from the author to maintain. As with her other books, Cocoa Beach provided a substantial and meaty read with a complicated plot full of twists and turns as well as complex and alluring characters, and a maddeningly paced storyline to keep me on the hook as my wheels kept spinning while only digging me deeper and deeper into the Florida sand. Ms. William’s tantalizing words kept me engrossed, luring me into an intricate web of deceit and intrigue with several separate yet related mysteries going at once. The writing was densely populated with richly embellished sentences, heaving with opulent and evocative details. She could conjure entire communities in a paragraph or detail the act of obtaining and taking an aspirin for an entire page. This was not a fast or light read but an intense and enthralling tale to savor.
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
In true Beatriz William’s style this book had everything that I look for in a good book. There was a historical event with WWI, romance, family, and a strong female character. Virginia is the main female character. She was strong in keeping herself safe while she was driving an ambulance during WWI yet feminine enough to trust a man (Simon) to take care of her. Simon was a different type of character. I felt like he was shady. From the first meeting he seemed suave, too smooth, and up to something. As I learned more about him, when I could decipher truth from the lies, I just never learned if I could trust him. While I didn’t trust him, as a character I liked him. He had charisma, he had a plan, and he did love Virginia. The book went back and forth between 1920’s in Florida and 1917’s and WWI. The era’s were portrayed wonderfully. The wartime story wasn’t graphic but it was easy to picture the roads, the rain, the pop-up hospitals, and the soldiers of the time. I was able to understand what Virginia and Simon were living through during this time. The 1920’s story was not quite as interesting to me. There was a lot going on with the plantation, the shipping company, Aunt Clara, Simon, and Samuel. I wasn’t sure who was the good guy and who was the bad guy. Beatriz William is a go-to author for me. I would recommend picking up your own copy of Cocoa Beach and falling back in time. Thank you Tavia Kowalchuk at William Morrow for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not her best Can someone enlighten me? Who is the herheaded woman whom Marshall brings to Simon at the end of the book? What is the meaning of the last bit? I dont get it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wanted the story to be more about Cocoa, Florida