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The Fifth of July

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  415 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Sometimes the people you know best are the ones you should fear the most

Any of the Warners could have been behind the accident. Every one of them had a problem that threatened to tarnish more than their old-money silver.

Having spent the past three decades' worth of summers on Nantucket, the Warners are as much a part of the island as the crust of salt on the ferry. But thi
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 29th 2017 by Sourcebooks Landmark
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Average rating 3.41  · 
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Diana | Book of Secrets
3.5 Stars → The well-to-do Warner family has been summering on Nantucket for decades - it's tradition, after all - but this year tragedy strikes over the 4th of July holiday. The story is told from the points of view of several characters, including different family members, the housekeeper, and the caretaker, of the imposing, timeworn beach house.

Right away you can feel the undercurrents of dysfunction in this family. It keeps you wondering what tragedy is lying in wait for these troubled peopl
Sep 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
"Any of the Warners could have been behind the accident. Every one of them had a problem that threatened to tarnish more than their old-money silver."

I love the beginning setup with POV's from bystanders on the Nantucket Island. Matt, the caretaker, and Maggie, the housekeeper, give their analysis on a death that has occurred and yes, they may have access to everyone's beach homes, but they appear innocent enough. I love their point of view on how the wealthy live and how much they are incapable
Theresa Alan
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This novel is told from multiple first-person perspectives about a privileged family, the Warners. It’s also told from the perspective of the caretaker, Matt, and the cleaning woman, Maggie Sue. The Warner family is not easy to like. They come together in Nantucket every summer.

We know that something bad happens over the Fourth of July holiday, and as the different characters tell their side of the story, bits and pieces of what is assumed to be an accident emerge, as does their lifetime of res
Sonja Yoerg
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I know these people, this old-school Nantucket family. I can see the frayed collars of their Brooks Brothers button-downs, the crushed heels of their Sperrys. I can hear the way the screen door slams when they leave their never-remodeled beach house. I can feel how they all mistrust each other--mother, father, son, daughter--and yet can't stay away, compelled to try another time, or take another bite. Oh, boy, do I feel that.

Lots of stories focus on family dysfunction but few authors have the n
Heather Webb
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite aspects of a good book is the way it transports me to another time or place, far from the daily grind. I want to fall into a world with a setting so vivid, I can taste the salt on my lips and hear the cry of a foghorn. Kelly Simmons captures Nantucket life to a “T”; the sea-worn clapboard and constant turmoil of the ocean, the grit of sand and crumbling rock. The distinct look of old New England money, and the push and pull between locals and visitors. I saw, smelled, and felt ...more
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, bloom-reads
Dysfunctional family vacations together on Nantucket when an accident occurs. What happened to mother (Caroline) when she was a teenager? Why is her father (Tripp) currently acting like a carefree teenager? Is her mother (Alice) hiding anything? What about her brother (Tom)? Are they all hiding something?

While I very much enjoyed the fast-paced writing style, I was left feeling confused, like the story hadn't been wrapped up as much as it should have been. Did I miss something? After reading oth
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a great beach read! Told from multiple POVs the reader gets a glimpse into a privileged family's life set against a picturesque, sleepy beach town. Simmons drops the reader into the middle of the Warners annual family vacation and the story takes off from there. I enjoyed the contrasting voices and the style of writing.

Very enjoyable. Read in your own beach town with a glass of wine!
Penny Watson
Sep 02, 2018 marked it as dnf

As soon as I realized the topic of this book (SPOILER WARNING...rape, and it appears to be a gang-rape of a teenage girl)...I was out.

The book was very well-written and I loved the descriptions of Nantucket and I liked the various POVs. But I can't handle that content. It gave me a sick stomach ache, so I had to stop reading.
Susan Peterson
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Fifth of July plunks us down in Nantucket in the middle of summer, spending time with the Warners, a highly dysfunctional, fascinating, motley crew of a family! The story is riveting and fast-paced...the laundry and vacuuming can wait until you finish....I could barely put it down! Told from several perspectives, each character distinct and fascinating, harboring secrets and shame; the author did a brilliant job weaving their storylines together. Although fraught with tension, there is humor ...more
Christine Moore
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I loved this book!!! It is a wonderful story told by 5 different people. The characters are great and it's like you know each and every one. So many secrets and mysteries and keeps you reading until the very end. Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for an ARC in return for an honest review. ...more
Pamela Endlein
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Too any unanswered questions. Book was very well written, characters were all very strong, however I finished the book dissatisfied.
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book as I was reading it, but ultimately was so disappointed. It just didn't make any sense and the resolution was very confusing. I couldn't really figure out what happened and I really thought I was paying attention - ha. ...more
Leith Devine
Thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What a great summer read! I was engrossed after the first few pages, and couldn't stop reading until the very end. The book is set in Nantucket at the Warner family's summer house. The patriarch, Tripp has recovered from cancer, and is joining his wife Alice and their grown children, Caroline, her husband John and daughter Sydney, and her brother Tom. It turns out to be a holiday that none of t
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of literary novel I love: eloquent prose, complex characters, and a riveting plot. Kelly Simmons lures you onto Nantucket with the hint of family secrets but then catapults you through the baggage, lies, and turmoil of the multigenerational Warners, their longtime handyman, a local maid, and a mysterious neighbor, until everything has changed for everyone.

I couldn't put it down.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kelly Simmons’s THE FIFTH OF JULY is replete with memorable voices telling a thrilling story set in a unforgettable place. Like a torpedo zooming inexorably toward its target, the story launches from past tragedy and a family’s failure to care for its own straight toward a present disaster. A compelling, exhilarating read.
Janet Fiorentino
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
This book had an interesting premise. Something horrific happens over the Fourth of July weekend to the Warner family, but the reader does not know what. The intent is for the reader to learn about this event as a variety of characters take turns sharing their side of the story.

I do not mind novels with alternating points of view, but it was difficult to find any of the characters very likeable. Hence, I felt as if I were reading simply because I felt I had to know more about the events versus
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am really impressed with this new to me author. Her writing style just draws you and keeps you drawn in to the very last page. The 5th of July is truly a beach book. Set at the beach with island people 's. and summer people ' s view points intermingled. It covers three generations of family and their secrets while also dealing island crimes both past and present. I love suspense and mysteries and this is a good one. Will be watching for more from this author as well as backlist ...more
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was a bit disappointed by this novel - the beginning of it made me feel as though there was quite the mystery to be unravelled as I went through it, but it never quite came to be. The prose was certainly good, continually drawing me through it, and I was certainly interested in what happened next, but I constantly found myself wondering ‘what is the point?’. The mysteries seemed basic at best, leaving me with more questions than answers, and I was left empty-handed by the end.
Katies Scarvey
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
I liked many things about this book, but the ending is not one of them. If you're going to present a mystery, even a literary one, you need to wrap it up somehow. It doesn't have to be pat or neat, but there should be some sense of closure. For that reason, I wouldn't recommend the book, although there are patches of writing that I like a great deal. ...more
Nicholle Thery-Williams
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author, Kelly Simmons, introduces you to the Warner family and their beach house on Nantucket. She tells the story from different POV even the house is a character. A great beach read.
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a riveting story of a dysfunctional family spending time together on Nantucket Island as they have for the past thirty years. The Warner family consists of five adults and one child trying to pretend everything is alright except their lies are taking a toll on each of them. The story is told in five point of views which gives the reader a fascinating glimpse in to their compartmentalized lives. Initially, the story opens with the family coming together because of Alice's insistence. Sadl ...more
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How do you write a novel from five points of view? Kelly Simmons has done it, and my hat is off to her. It's hard enough staying in one character's head as a writer, and plenty of authors have failed. But with The Fifth of July, Simmons has crafted a suspenseful story with characters so distinct it's easy to tell them apart and to identify with all of them.
I've never been to Nantucket, nor do I travel in the privileged circles of the Warners, a family who has "summered" there for years, but as t
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was not as lighthearted as I thought it would be. I guess when I see Nantucket, I'm thinking fun in the sun, a vacation with no worries. This book was nothing like that. This family was so dysfunctional in every way. They all walked around each other like they had corn cobs up the arse. The tension was bleeding through the pages as I swept through this story. I don't know who I felt sorry for the most.

A thoroughly broken family saga that, believe it or not, was a great escape.

Thanks to
Matty Dalrymple
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous use of language, deft handling of multiple points of view, compelling (and blood-curdling) characterization, and the world’s best book tagline: “The last word in families is ‘lies’.” : ) I can’t recommend Kelly Simmon’s THE FIFTH OF JULY highly enough.
Stephanie Doyle
This was a solid summer read. It reminded me a little of Big Little Lies in the way it was told. None of the characters were particularly likeable, and there was a sort of weird sub-plot that kept getting in the way, but not a bad way to spend a day on the beach, reading this.

Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult, arc, contemporary
This story was mildly interesting to me towards the end. I thought I would learn the truth about Tripp's accident as well as what happened to Caroline the summer she was 13, but I guess I'm still not clear about either of these. The writing is good but I never really cared about any of the characters enough to try and figure it out. I just don't think contemporary American fiction is my thing. ...more
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Reminiscent of Billy Clegg's Did You Ever Have a Family, this book shifts POV among different members of the Warner clan. Oddly, Tripp (the patriarch) around whom the book revolves, is never given his own voice and his own chance to tell his own story. Notwithstanding, it is a well written book with layers of family drama. The reason I only gave it three stars is because of the following: a) vague secrets b) no conclusive resolution c) under-developed secondary characters. When I took a creative ...more
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is roughly a 2.5. The biggest issue with this book is that it not only doesn't know what it wants to be, but the description on the back doesn't accurately represent the plotline. This is a book that really needed a strong editor. The characters were mostly good and the description of Nantucket was melodic, but the whole side plot of Bear Bernstein should have been removed as it added nothing and really detracted from the story. The cheap gimmick of changing viewpoints was also a drawback. ...more
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC for my Kindle.
This story is about a family who goes to Nantucket to the family every summer for vacation. The family is dysfunctional and have secrets that aren't revealed in the story. Told in 1st person by the 5 main characters was a new writing style for me, but I like this style. What I didn't like was the 2 mysteries that weren't solved or if they were, I couldn't find the answers. (1) What really happened to Caroline when she 13 on the family vacation? (2) W
Caylen Riley
The pacing a style of the story was good, and the story was just BARELY interesting enough to keep me going, but I had absolutely NOTHING invested with any of these characters. They were all kinda terrible to be completely honest.

A lot of questions were left unanswered, and from what I can gather based on other book reviews from this author, that's simply her style.

Probably won't read anything by this author again.
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