Cocoa Beach: A Novel (Hardcover)
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.
“Romance and mystery, war and Prohibition, infidelity and murder, inheritance and lies—the list of ingredients is long and potent in this cocktail of dramatic suspense rooted in early-20th-century Florida . . . Williams’ story, a rich brew of suspicion and intensity, also has a flavor of Daphne du Maurier, with its Cornish roots, dubious housekeeper, and embattled heroine . . . there’s no denying the author’s full-blooded commitment to her intricate edifice . . . Williams spins a good, spirited yarn.”
“. . . A gripping novel of scandal and suspense. Williams is at the top of her game, crafting an engrossing beach read with enough twists and turns, action and surprises to keep anyone riveted. Florida in the summer was never more intriguing.”
“[Beatriz Williams is] a master of the historical fiction genre . . . COCOA BEACH is a breathtaking family drama that moves from the battlefields of World War I France to the sun-soaked beaches of Prohibition Era Florida.”
“If you aren’t actually traveling to Florida this summer, picking up Beatriz Williams’ latest just might be the next best thing . . . If you’re hankering for a Prohibition-era romp through Florida with a healthy dose of intrigue, look no further.”
“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 . . .”