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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Golden Hills

Narrator: Courtney Patterson


Publisher: Amazon Original Stories

Publication Date: 06/01/2023

Format: e-book & audiobook

My Rating: 5 Stars

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner comes a heartfelt short story about a complicated friendship and a youthful betrayal that still has the power to shape two women’s lives.

Senatorial favorite Ida Berkowitz is headed for a win. Raised by a hardworking widowed mother, she’s authentic, relatable, and down-to-earth. Voters love her. Polls promise victory. Then her campaign manager utters four awful words: Who is Marissa Schuyler? She had almost managed to forget. Ida’s bunkmate at Camp Golden Hills when they were girls, Marissa was confident, sophisticated, and wealthy. Everything Ida wasn’t. Now the polished wife of a major conservative donor, Marissa’s announced a press conference. About Ida.

Just like that, Ida’s old insecurities come rushing in. So do new feelings of dread. After all these years, she knows what’s on Marissa’s mind. It could undermine everything Ida’s worked for. Because it isn’t very pretty.

My Review

A long-time avid fan of author Jennifer Weiner, the summer queen and master storyteller returns following The Summer Place with thought-provoking GOLDEN HILLS —a heartfelt short story about a complicated friendship and a youthful betrayal with the power to shape two women's lives.

It may be a short story, but it contains the same JW's wisdom from her full-length novels—it packs a punch with wit and heart. Do we all want to revisit our days at summer camp? For some, maybe not.

Ida Berkowitz, 36, grew up with a widowed mom, a lawyer for legal aid with little money, who was a teacher—now a congressional representative and running for the Senate. She is married to her partner Frankie.

Women saw her as authentic, relatable, and a feminist, but not the scary kind. She had worked hard. After six years in the House of Representatives, Ida had decided to run for the Senate. People believed she was going to the White House.

Her mother always reminded her nothing good was ever free. The bill always came due. Is it coming due now?

Ida hears of an upcoming news conference by Marissa Schuyler, with John Coogan and her campaign director Dani asking her questions about how she knows this woman.

Many years ago, they went to summer camp together when she was sixteen—a weight-loss camp in upstate New York called The Golden Hills.

There was a boy at summer camp that Ida liked. Marissa was the wealthy, beautiful girl that everyone envied. She had style, looks, clothes, jewelry, sophistication, and glamour—two parents who loved and sent her gifts.

There were lies, secrets, and betrayal. Something went down, the police were called, and the two girls/women had not seen or spoken to each other since.

Now Marissa is married to a major Republican donor and is wealthy. What were the intentions of her old bunkmate's politics?

Ida did not have the money to attend this camp back in 2004 she read about, like all the rich girls, but Ida was brilliant and managed to get a scholarship. She was having so much fun until...

Back then, Ida felt if she lost weight and came home transformed, her mother would finally love her the same way. Now Ida's old insecurities rise to the surface as her reputation and status could all collapse.

From past to present, Weiner takes readers back to 2004 to the summer camp. What FUN! I loved Ida! A girl she thought was her friend and BFF: a boy, Ida's first crush, Donovan Coe, the camp director's son. You must read the book to find all the juicy details.

I adored GOLDEN HILLS, a delightful short story that takes you to nostalgic days of summer camps, friendships, memories, and first loves. As always, a story about surviving the past, confronting futures, and sustaining bonds of friendship.

Jennifer Weiner is a master of writing complex female friendships and underdogs you root for. I have read all her books. She always creates highly relatable characters under challenging situations. I enjoyed the e-book and the audiobook. Highly recommend the audio narrated by Courtney Patterson.

Stay tuned for The Breakaway by Atria Books coming Aug 29th. I have an ARC and cannot wait to start reading.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: June 1, 2023

My Rating: 5 Stars

From the Publisher:

Jennifer Weiner is a master of writing complicated female friendships, and her new short story is no exception. Just as she did in Big Summer, Mrs. Everything, or even going back to In Her Shoes, she creates flawed characters that I still find myself rooting for.

This compact-yet-complex short story packs in themes of memory, first love, and friendship. Ida has been burning the candle at both ends during her campaign for the Senate. So when she hears the name “Marissa Schuyler” for the first time in twenty years, at first she has no idea who that could be. Then, when memories of Camp Golden Hills come rushing back, so does the shame and guilt and resentment of two friends who each betrayed the other. Ida tried to bury the pain of broken trust, and she almost succeeded—but in politics, perception is everything, and right now one word from Marissa could undermine everything she’s worked for.

We can push away the things we’d rather not remember, but they never really leave us. We have to face them eventually. Jen’s writing always reminds me that people can surprise themselves with their ability to offer and to accept forgiveness.

—Kjersti Egerdahl, Editor

About the Author

Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of nineteen novels, including The Summer Place, That Summer, and In Her Shoes, as well as short stories, essays, and nonfiction. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, and Redbook, among many others.







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