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The Last Bathing Beauty

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  9,434 ratings  ·  757 reviews

A former beauty queen faces the secrets of her past—for herself and the sake of her family’s future—in a heartfelt novel about fate, choices, and second chances.

Everything seemed possible in the summer of 1951. Back then Betty Stern was an eighteen-year-old knockout working at her grandparents’ lakeside resort. The “Catskills of the Midwest” was the perfect place for B

Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2020 by Lake Union Publishing
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  9,434 ratings  ·  757 reviews

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Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: Summer 2017

Boop Peck had looked everywhere for her favourite lipstick. It wasn't in the bathroom, or in her purse, bedroom, or her pocket. She shuddered at the injustice: Boop remembered her first telephone number - 359J - but not the whereabouts of the lipstick she'd worn the day before. Or was it the day before that? She peeked around and patted herself again. Nothing. A lost lipstick wasn't the end of the world. Unless it was Sly Pink, her discontinued colour of choice, which it was.
Bren fall in love with the sea.
“They each sat in a chair without talking. Words weren’t necessary to keep someone company.”
― Amy Sue Nathan, The Last Bathing Beauty

Review to follow..someday!

Nostalgia, Nostalgia, Nostalgia!!

That is what this book does..clothes you in nostalgia!

How many times have I said nostalgia now?

So..just a few thoughts on this one. I am not always in the mood for nostalgia. Certainly not now. This is one that I think is really beautiful that I just was not in the mood for because..that word again! It is n
I have a confession - I requested an ARC of The Last Bathing Beauty from NetGalley based mostly on the cover. I was born in the early 1950's, and much of my childhood was spent on the beach playing with beach balls like the one in the picture, and my older sisters wore swimsuits of this style back then. But I was also interested in the synopsis of the story, although this isn't the type I would normally choose.

Very well written, the story kept me interested throughout, even though it seemed basi
Karren  Sandercock
In 1951, Betty Stern is an eighteen year old young lady with her whole life ahead of her and she want's to study at Barnard College in New York. She loves fashion, makeup, looking as pretty as the girls do in the glossy magazines and she dreams of being a fashion editor. Betty lives and works at her grandparents Sterns Summer Resort. Her grandparents have high expectations of her and they want her to represent the resort in the local beauty pageant and be crowned Miss South Haven. Betty want's t ...more
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rated 4.25 stars

The Last Bathing Beauty takes us back to the summer of 1951 in South Haven, Michigan. Located on Lake Michigan, this area was affectionately regarded as “the Catskills of the Midwest” filled with resorts for the area’s Jewish families. Betty Claire Stern is the granddaughter of the owners of Stern’s Summer Resort and this will be her last summer with her best friends Georgia and Doris before heading to New York City to attend Barnard College hopefully followed by a career at a fa
The Lit Bitch
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This cover makes me so excited for summer and long walks on the beach. I have had it on my radar for quite some time and when it was picked as the March Amazon First Reads selection, I knew it was going to be a big new release.

I haven’t read anything by this author before but she has written three other well received books and I was excited to give this one a try.

Besides all the hype and the beautiful eye catching cover, this book boasted a sassy heroine and I was most excited to read about her,
Sonja Yoerg
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Last Bathing Beauty is a pitch-perfect summer read, starring Betty “Boop” Stern, a plucky heroine with a tackle box full of secrets and enough regret for a lifetime. Using dual timelines, Nathan expertly unravels the events that derailed Betty’s sparkling future in 1951 and continue to haunt her even as an eighty-four-year-old woman. Full of characters that shine and told with compassion and humor, this is women’s fiction at its best.
Mar 16, 2020 rated it liked it
I received this book free from Amazon First Reads for March.
I was so excited to read this book because I LOVE South Haven, MI. It is a small slice of heaven tucked into the Midwest, and I am fortunate to have spent much time there over the years. But it seemed in reading this book that the author selected the location, and then tried to write a story to fit the setting. The story fell far short of the location, and felt forced and contrived,
The book takes place partly during the summer of 1951
Susan Peterson
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“You should own all pieces of your life, good or bad. They make up who you are.” Those words are spoken by Hannah, as her grandmother Betty “Boop” reveals long-held secrets, memories of her first love, and the dreams she had as a young girl. The Last Bathing Beauty is a heartfelt novel written with compassion and hope, reconciling the past to pave a road to happiness and second chances. The characters in this book bring life and heart to this story, each with a distinct voice and personality—the ...more
Renee Rosen
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review coming soon
Rating: 4 stars
This is a great read for our almost summer reading season. I’d classify this a Women’s Fiction with a beachy feel. The story is told in dual timelines of the 1951 version of Betty (Boop) Stern, and her 2017 version.

We watch Boop navigate both time periods and understand how choices made by her family members, and herself helped to shape her future. This is a story about family connections. I enjoying learning about the Midwest ‘Catskills’ lake side resort in Michigan. It’s where
The Last Bathing Beauty is the story of Betty "Boop" Stern. Betty is a young Jewish woman living with her grandparents at their Catskills resort. Betty falls for handsome Abe and they plan a life together over a few weeks in the summer. Things don't go as planned though and events happen to change the course of Betty's life forever. This was the perfect quarantine escape! ...more
Kimberly Brock
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amy Sue Nathan is unmatched when it comes to crafting wistful stories that uplift, but also manage to take a hard look at characters navigating difficult turning points in their lives. THE LAST BATHING BEAUTY may be her best yet! Immediately appealing with its sentimental nostalgia for first loves and summers on the water, it soon becomes apparent that the women who populate this story aren't just remembering the joys of family vacations, beauty pageants, and a carefree girlhood. As Nathan moves ...more
Jul 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-unlimited
What a swell story, a charming cover and a catchy title! Although I was pretty young in the 50's, we lived in a lakeside town in northern Ontario which was a hive of activity in the summer and I can remember being enthralled by the teenagers running around in similar bathing suits and flirting with the boys. I couldn't wait to grow up. In more recent times, we actually drove through South Haven a few years ago; it's a beautiful area and we always meant to go back and spend more time there but th ...more
Jessica Strawser
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An easy, nostalgic read that was just the thing to keep on my nightstand when I needed to escape the reality of the current news cycle: In THE LAST BATHING BEAUTY, Amy Sue Nathan transports you to simpler days on the Michigan shore—another place, another time, with characters who feel real—in friendship, in love, in family and loyalty and compromises and decisions and dreams, all of it bittersweet. The ending was just what I hoped for, even as the sigh of what might have been lingered. Thanks to ...more
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
What a delightful quick paced summer read. When "Boop"'s grandaughter shows up for an unexpected visit she brings news for Boop. Boop and her lifelong friends decide Boop needs to share the secret she held for life and was hoping to take it to her grave. ...more
Bambi Rathman
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Betty Stern has so much hope and excitement for the summer of 1951! She's graduating high school and has plans to attend Barnard College in New York to pursue her dreams of becoming a fashion editor in the fall...but first she has the whole summer ahead to have fun and make lifetime memories at her grandparent's summer resort, Stern's Summer Resort, where she works and helps them out. Her grandparents have raised Betty since she was a very small girl after her parents abandoned her with them. "T ...more
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tender, nostalgic, and sentimental!

The Last Bathing Beauty is an absorbing, heartwarming tale that takes us to the shores of South Haven, Michigan during 1951 when Jewish summer camps in the Catskills of the Midwest were the place to be, girls were excited for more than just marriage, and Betty Stern and her family would never be the same.

The writing is vivid and expressive. The characters are authentic, vivacious, and sympathetic. And the plot, using a past/present, back-and-forth style is a de
Good book. I have to say I am not a romance fan but this was well written.... low on the sappiness I don’t like and high on character development, sense of scene and historic description. Also pluses were the dual time line of 1951 and the present and lots and lots of likable people.
Lori Spielman
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, Amy Sue Nathan provides a wonderful escape, this time to the shores of Lake Michigan, circa 1950s, in THE LAST BATHING BEAUTY. As the lovable Betty “Boop” prepares for a beauty pageant, she experiences her first real love, and with it, a crushing heartbreak. All the while, her childhood companions remain steadfast, becoming loyal, lifelong friends—or so she thinks. Being a native of Michigan, I was especially captivated by the story’s setting, a Jewish summer resort in South Haven, M ...more
Nancy Brown
May 19, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Actually, I didn't finish this one. I was not engaged by the characters or the story. ...more
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amy Sue Nathan had me hooked when she compared the setting of The Last Bathing Beauty to those from Dirty Dancing and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Her novel made me think of both in various ways.

This was a great story overall. I loved the South Haven scenery and mood. It made me think of when my family and I went to a resort in Wisconsin every summer. I liked the bits of Jewish information, such as keeping Kosher, observing Shabbat, etc. The nineteen fifties came to life through this story and I w
Renee (some kind of a library)
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook
If I could go back in time, I think hands down I would choose summertime in the fifties. Preferably at a resort where I'd sip cocktails and take salsa dancing lessons, eat midnight buffets and fall in love. :) There is a reason Dirty Dancing is one of my all time favorite movies and the episodes of Mrs. Maisel in the Catskills are my absolute favorite. The Last Bathing Beauty by Amy Sue Nathan has ALL of those things which is why I adored it. Not only does the gorgeous cover scream summer, so do ...more
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this novel and cant thank Amy Nathan enough for the early read!

this story touches directly to the heart filled with the true love between Grand-daughters and their Grandmothers, family secrets and lost love and chances and above all else memories.

Parts made me laugh and swoon, others cry and hope for the best.

Loved every page. Amy Nathan has a knack for developing relatable characters you love from the first to the last page!

thanks to Amy and to the publisher for an early read!
Diane D White

Every once in a long while I choose a book classified by Kindle as adult literary fiction only to find it is actually a romance or perhaps a YA novel. I seldom enjoy either.
I really didn't care for the main character, Betty/Boop, when she was 18 OR when she was 85. She was supposedly "really smart", but she came off as vapid and whiny and annoying. ...more
Holly LaPat
Mar 18, 2020 rated it liked it
3-1/2 stars: I loved the setup of this book, and I really enjoyed reading it, but I think it fell short of its potential. In the opening scene, Betty is about to get married, with very mixed feelings. Then we see her in her 80s, after a long marriage, still connected to her lifelong friends. What happened in between? The rest of the book alternates between the summer that led up to Betty’s decision to get married, and her present-day self facing those memories. For this to work well, we need to ...more
Sherri Thacker
Love, friendships, family, second chances ... that’s what this book is all about. It was a pretty good read even though it started out slow for me but once I got involved with the characters it picked up speed. It was neat reading between 1951 when Betty was 18 and 70 years later when she went by the name Boop. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this early release in exchange for my honest review.
Anne OK

With a little nod to Swayze and Grey as they dirty danced “Baby” through a summer of love and with a rewind and a little remake, Betty “Boop” Stern’s coming-of-age story begins at a summer resort for Jewish families located in South Haven, Michigan in the summer of 1951 at 18-years-old and catches up with her again decades later at 84-years-old.

An unexpected visit from Boop’s granddaughter with a shocking revelation pushes secrets and lies from her own past to the forefront. A diverse cast of ch
Jodie (That Happy Reader)
In 1951, Betty “Boop” Stern wanted nothing more than to have a summer romance and to spend her days with her friends Doris and Georgia at the Jewish lake resort where she lived with her Grandparents. Her parents had left her with her Grandparents when Betty was five years old, and she’d always been an ideal Granddaughter - one that worked hard at the resort in summers, and did well at school. In fact, Betty was due to head off for college at the end of summer. This, at a time in history, when mo ...more
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Writer of novels, lover of cats, morning coffee, dark chocolate, and bold lipstick. Former vegetarian, occasional crafter, adequate cook, loyal friend, proud mom to two awesome adults.

Twitter: @AmySueNathan
Facebook: Amy Sue Nathan
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