COCOA BEACH

Beatriz Williams

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,

more …

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.

less …
  • William Morrow
  • Hardcover
  • June 2017
  • 384 Pages
  • 9780062404985

Buy the Book

$27.99

indies Bookstore indies Bookstore

About Beatriz Williams

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.

Praise

“Williams’ narrative offers a tropical milieu of rumrunners, skulduggery, concealed identity, dangerous complications for Virginia and her toddler daughter Evelyn — and lots of entertainment for readers.”—Seattle Times

“Williams has gained a solid reputation with readers for her gracefully written historical fiction, and Cocoa Beach is an excellent example of her ability to flawlessly marry a finely honed plot rich in unexpected twists and turns with a full cadre of richly nuanced characters, who will keep readers engaged from the book’s first page to its stunning conclusion. Readers who enjoy novels with a strong sense of place and time will especially savor William’s latest masterwork…”—Reader to Reader

Discussion Questions

1. At the start of the novel, Virginia reflects that “The history of the past three years is as mysterious to me as the mangroves growing on the opposite shore of the river.” Why is that? Has ignorance been bliss for Virginia?

2. What do we learn about Virginia during the flashbacks to wartime France? How does that affect the way we think of her, and Simon?

3. Were you surprised when Agent Marshall hints that Simon’s death was not “a simple act of God?” Do you think Virginia was surprised?

4. What is the meaning of the note left for Virginia at Maitland that reads Everything you seek is here? Is it reassuring? Or menacing? Who do you think left it for her?

5. Why does Virginia choose to believe what Samuel tells her about Simon? Would you have fled back to America, as she did?

6. Why does Virginia’s father send Simon money once she’s returned to New York? What effect does that have on Virginia’s relationship with her father? What does it do to her feelings for Simon?

7. What do you make of Samuel? Why do Virginia’s feelings for him seem to waver between attraction, trust, and mistrust?

8. Were you surprised to learn the truth about Clara?

9. What do you think will happen to Simon and Virginia—and their children—in the years after this novel has ended? What do you think Agent Marshall’s sudden appearance on their doorstep means for them?