The Last Bathing Beauty

Alternating between the early 1950s and the modern day, Amy Sue Nathan’s latest book is the fun, tender-hearted, and illuminating story of Betty Stern. As a teenager living in a lakeside town in Michigan, Betty is ready to pursue her dream: After a carefree summer of enjoying friends and a new boy at the resort her grandparents own, Betty will head east to attend college and then become a journalist at a NYC fashion magazine. But as summer progresses, she discovers that family and society have other ideas for her. Decades later, Betty—now known as Boop by her granddaughter—has a chance to set things right … or to at least make a difference with her own granddaughter whose life is at a crossroads.

The Last Bathing Beauty bursts with the memories of first love, with the sights and smells of the beach on a warm evening—and with long-held secrets and a journey to understand one’s own self. This novel is as a delicious as homemade ice cream at a picnic and fills readers with a sense of youthful nostalgia. Yet it also reminds us of another reality, of how the baby boom era was marked by limitations for women, with discrimination against others who aren’t the same as us, and with the challenge of trying to follow one’s true heart when the deck is stacked against you.

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