A Good Morning America Buzz Pick A Can't-Miss Beach Read For Summer 2021 from The Skimm A Best Beach Read of 2021 from Bustle A Best Summer Read of 2021 from PopSugar
A family reunion for the ages when two clans convene for the summer at their beloved getaway in the Catskills--perfect for fans of Dirty Dancing and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel--from the acclaimed author of The Floating Feldmans.
In its heyday, The Golden Hotel was the crown jewel of the hotter-than-hot Catskills vacation scene. For more than sixty years, the Goldman and Weingold families - best friends and business partners - have presided over this glamorous resort which served as a second home for well-heeled guests and celebrities. But the Catskills are not what they used to be - and neither is the relationship between the Goldmans and the Weingolds. As the facilities and management begin to fall apart, a tempting offer to sell forces the two families together again to make a heart-wrenching decision. Can they save their beloved Golden or is it too late?
Long-buried secrets emerge, new dramas and financial scandal erupt, and everyone from the traditional grandparents to the millennial grandchildren wants a say in the hotel's future. Business and pleasure clash in this fast-paced, hilarious, nostalgia-filled story, where the hotel owners rediscover the magic of a bygone era of nonstop fun even as they grapple with what may be their last resort.
I listened to the audible audio that was narrated by the ever-wonderful Julia Whelan! She makes the characters come alive!
The book is about two Jewish families that bought a hotel in 1960 in the Catskills. Back in those early days the hotel was the place to be seen and the Catskills was the place to vacation. Sixty years later, the hotel is run-down and clientele is definitely slipping. The two families children are grown and have families of their own. They decide to meet at, "The Golden" for one last summer vacation to reminisce and to discuss on whether it's time to sell-up and leave the business.
I enjoyed all the characters and family members. This book is so much fun with an added dash of family drama and oh what a ROMP this one was!
This book is pure entertainment and filled with nostalgia. Perfect for a summer's day read. Add this one to your summer reading. You won't be disappointed.
Last Summer at The Golden Hotel is cute and fun!! This is the perfect summer beach/pool read!! I chose this as one of my BOTM add-ons on a whim because I thought that cover was super cute and I’m so glad I did! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was cute and lighthearted and exactly what I needed. This book will leave you with feel good vibes and a smile on your face.
Can family and longtime friends save a Catskills hotel before it’s too late? That's the key question at the core of Elyssa Friedland's upcoming novel, Last Summer at the Golden Hotel.
Back in the day, The Golden Hotel was the jewel of the Catskills. Benny Goldman and Amos Weingold, childhood best friends, owned the hotel and each summer their families presided over the jubilant crowds of Jewish families escaping the heat of NYC for time in this mountain oasis. The best entertainers would perform, the meals would be bountiful.
But over time, the appeal of the Catskills started to dwindle and families began vacationing elsewhere. Many of the leading resorts fell into disrepair and were converted into other things, from casinos to yoga retreats. Only The Golden has survived—and it’s barely hanging on.
When an offer is made to buy the property, three generations of the Weingolds and Goldens must come together to decide what to do. Do they find ways to make the hotel appeal to a new generation, or do they sell something that has been such a significant part of their lives for so long?
Of course, when families and longtime friends and business partners get together, there’s bound to be drama. What secrets will be revealed? What old wounds will be reopened? Can the relationships survive?
Family drama (when it’s not mine) is so appealing to read about, so I was sold on Last Summer at the Golden Hotel the moment I heard about it. But having grown up Jewish in the NJ/NY area in the 1970s, we made many trips to the Catskills so this book felt so familiar to me. It’s a world that was so hard to explain to other people.
I really enjoyed this book so much, and there was even a little bit of a Dirty Dancing vibe in the resort's similarity to Kellerman's. (No Patrick Swayze, though.) There was drama, family dynamics, and a sense of nostalgia that pervades the book. Such a fun read. Bravo to Elyssa Friedland!
Get Red PR and Berkley provided me with an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. I also had the opportunity to participate in a great group chat about the book on Bookstagram, and may participate in a Zoom chat with Friedland, so thanks to all who made this possible!
Such a fun, refreshing read with a side of drama for summer!
Just as with The Floating Feldmans, I was completely wrapped up in this story of family.
I wanted to visit The Golden Hotel in its heyday and even now, with the side of drama and scandal that was building.
It’s a fast, poignant read, that pulled on my heart and had me giggling at times, too. It reminded me of my favorite, Dirty Dancing! The sense of community during those summer vacations is something special. Loved the nostalgia and all the dynamics between the two families.
Talk about an easy sale. As soon as I saw “Catskills” and “hotel” my brain immediately went in one direction . . . .
I put my name on the library list lickity split.
And while this one didn’t have quite the same iconic ending . . . .
It did have Bungalow Bunnies, a whoopsie pregnancy, and plenty of wholesome activities for the entire family to enjoy . . . . .
There was also an ensemble cast featuring the members of the Weingold and Goldman clans – who have been co-owners of this formerly coveted getaway destination for over 60 years. But times have changed. People want to escape to the Bahamas. They want all the bells and whistles. With a $12,000,000 offer sitting on the table, the two families have a week to decide whether to stay with this sinking ship of a hotel or let it go.
Other than having a little bit of trouble keeping the characters straight (and remembering just who belonged with who and how old they all were and reminding myself that they weren’t actually related when people started falling into each other’s beds) this was a pretty pleasant way to pass an afternoon out on the deck. I didn’t actually realize I had read this author previously until I was about to snap a book picture, but I kept thinking this was reminding me of something I had read before – and it did - The Floating Feldmans, a book I’m about 99.999999% certain I never reviewed because I suck. This won’t change your life, but it did offer up some nostalgia and that’s always a good thing.
I really enjoyed this read, suggested by the Jewish Book Club for the month of August. My main book group had a tag of "cultural" this past of August, and "made me cry" starting September 1st, and let me tell you, this one absolutely fits both.
If you recall Dirty Dancing, the setting was inspired by Grossingers in the Catskills. From the 50's/60's through the 80's, possibly longer, was the hey day for the Catskills, Jewish Summer living, where the major entertainers of the time were made. Where families who were excluded from other kinds of resorts and country clubs came together to make summer memories for families. There were festivals, competitions, and regular families living together for the summer, resort/camp style, with activities and sports and kids and adults playing. Yes it was a culture onto itself, one where my parents and all my friends parents remember. All the comedians, entertainers, lifestyle, it all came out of this era. Again, just think Dirty Dancing.
The Golden, was the hey day of the Catskills, and in this fictional novel, the last one standing. Inspired by two families, two men like brothers, Benny Goldman and Amos Weingold, their families grew up there and made it a haven for years to come. Decades later, these families return in the current time, to a hotel that's faded and become a relic of the past, to try to make the final decision to sell, ending the era of the Catskills, and a chapter in each of their lives, that has different meanings for everyone involved. Past versus future, Memory versus innovation/renovation are the themes in the book. It's actually a beautiful story, told from multiple points of view. It really doesn't matter if the new romantic pairings are obvious from the start, it is just wonderful to ride the ride. I loved the generational feel of the writing, the take back to a time, that even if we weren't there, we somehow still remember. I felt like I could picture the whole thing and that it was wrapped in memories that have to be cellular, as they weren't even mind. Who wouldn't fall in love with the Catskills, and the Weingolds, Goldmans, Glassers, and even a Hoff or two. The whole thing was familiar and lovely, and you felt all the feels of an era that has both passed and yet still lives on. How the family and characters resolve that is our resolution too. I really enjoyed this piece of incredible culture passed, and yes, it made me cry. I thought it was beautiful. Great pick.
A fun and funny book set in the perfect setting. Think The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel meets Jonathan Tropper. A family gathers to decide what to do with their aging hotel in the Catskills, but everyone has a secret and a different motivation. Highly recommend!
4.5⭐!! I really loved this fun summery, family book so much! The Golden Hotel was a hot spot for summer vacation in the Catskills for 60 years. The Weingold and Goldman families have run it and cherished it. Over the years though, it has lost its glamour, and the Catskills aren't as popular for vacation as it once was. These 2 families must come together to decide what they should do with The Golden as they have an offer to sell. I loved how nostalgic this book was. It was such a fun, fast paced read. There was loads of humor, secrets and family drama. I just loved the setting too. Picture the movie Dirty Dancing, lol! I loved it, and I loved this book too! So well done!!
Well hello Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland, how I enjoyed you!! And not least of all because the audiobook is narrated by my favorite narrator, Julia Whelan. This book was a lot of fun, and it made me giggle as well as gave me all the family drama and summer vibes I could possibly want. This is a character-driven novel as well as being packed with them, so it is really helpful that the book has family trees for both the Goldman's and the Weingold's. I would recommend that if you are going to listen to the audiobook you should also have a copy of the physical book as well. The family trees aren't all that large, but they were so helpful to have. I loved getting to know all of the characters and it reminded me a little bit of the show Schitt's Creek for some reason.
I really enjoyed the switches between past and present, and Friedland did an incredible job of describing not just the characters, but the hotel as well. And oh, the drama, Last Summer at the Golden Hotel is a dramedy at its finest, and I loved the tension created between the two families. At its core that's what this book is all about, family, and I loved how heartwarming it ended up being. I haven't watched Dirty Dancing in an age so I can't speak to how much it reminds me of that movie (everyone is comparing it to that), but I can tell you that it immediately made me want to watch it again. This is my first time reading Friedland, but I definitely want to read more from her now and I have a sneaking suspicion I will be doing another listen of this one at some point.
I received a complimentary listening copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
It was fine. It didn't wow me. Thank goodness Julia Whelan narrated the audio because I think this would have been a DNF.
The storyline was pretty vanilla with very little surprises. The two families didn't wow me and at times it was hard to keep the characters straight of who belonged to whom. I think this will be entertaining to some who appreciate the "summer hotel life" like Dirty Dancing, but I didn't grow up with that type of summer trip so I really couldn't relate very well.
I am clearly the intended audience for this -- a middle aged Jewish woman actually old enough to have spent time in the borscht belt. The Nevele (sp), Browns and Grossinger's hosted a young Bonnie G. When I was 7 I killed in the Nevele production of Gypsy. I guess you don't have to be Jewish to read it, but there are at least half a dozen gefilte fish jokes, and I don't think those will bowl them over in Boise or kill 'em in Killeen. The story was predictable, the characters are caricatures, the book fetishized mothers and motherhood (especially overbearing mothering) in an uncomfortable way, the fatphobia is rampant, and the family dynamics are wildly oversimplified. I listened to this and Julia Whelen's narration kept me in through the end, but I don't know I would have finished the text version.
The Golden Hotel was once the gem of the Catskills. But the hotel has fallen into disrepair and so has the relationship between the two families that own it. Now, with a tempting offer to sell on the table, the Goldmans and the Weingolds must come together one last time to see if their precious hotel can be saved. This funny and fun tale is a must read to your summer TBR for fans of The Marvelous Maisel. Out May 18!
I liked the idea behind this story, and the writing was decent, but there were WAY too many characters and POVs. I had to write out a little post-it to keep everyone straight. It would have been better to just focus on 2, or even 3 of the characters. Everything just got really muddled.
If this hadn’t been a book club pick I would have moved it to DNF by the end of chapter 4. The writing isn’t horrible, but I didn’t care about any of the characters one bit. Poor little rich folks and their difficult decisions about moving around their millions, and petty tabloid scandals. The worst part was that whole paragraph where the guy thought the ceiling was leaking and then suddenly realized those were his tears from crying 🤮 No one doesn’t realize they’re crying. You know you’re going to cry before the tears come. And what was the point of Scott? That whole character should have been scrapped by an editor. The hotel could have fallen into a sinkhole with all of them inside and I would have been fine with that ending. It’s not the worst book I’ve ever read, I just didn’t find anyone or anything any level of relatable.
In the last days of a summer resort much like the one from Dirty Dancing, we get a multi-generational tale of family drama and secrets as three generations of owners congregate to determine the fate of the Golden Hotel.
The author does a great job of depicting family dynamics- things parents keep from their children, misunderstandings across generations, and the complications that can come with love and marriage. There's the gay grandchild who people still try to find a girlfriend for, the dramatically different ideas about what is desirable in a resort, the marriages imploding etc. This is very much a character-driven story about two Jewish families who have been business partners for decades and the hotel that they ran from its golden heyday to becoming broken down and seemingly irrelevant. I don't think this was quite what I was expecting from the book, but I think it's interesting and well-executed.
As soon as I heard this one was perfect for fans of Dirty Dancing I knew it would be a must for me! I carried a watermelon 🍉 anyone? 💃 Much like DD still does for me this provided a perfect escape in a really fun setting.
There’s a huge cast of characters here, members from both the Goldman and Weingold families and various guests at the hotel and staff and you hear from several of them throughout the book which I always love. There’s three generations in each family and I loved their various dynamics, my favorite being the grandparents with the grandchildren, the way they didn’t understand each other, especially concerning social media cracked me up. There was lots of drama here, an ideal summer read and the Jewish representation was awesome too! I enjoyed learning more about their culture and traditions and felt like it brought something special to the story. This one had it all for me, it was super witty, charming and set in an amazing summer locale, definitely add it to your summer TBR
2.25 stars! I almost bumped it up to 3 because the last 10% got me weepy, but the rest of the book was a solid 2 - it was ok. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t find myself wanting to read it either. Actually, it kind of depressed me! Something about the author’s tone felt a little jaded and angry to me, like she hated all her characters except Aimee. 🤷🏼♀️ The cover has a quote from Fiona Davis saying “you will laugh out loud” that I didn’t notice until I was about 65% through and hadn’t even laughed in my head yet. I was hoping for a really nostalgic book that made me long to visit a place I’ve never been, but it didn’t really get into the world of the Catskills enough. Friedland seemed to assume that what I knew about the Catskills from Dirty Dancing and that one amazing episode of Mrs. Maisel was enough. I know this was a story about a family, but the generational battles stressed me out a lot! It was difficult to read some of the opinions of the oldest generation and not hate them… changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day isn’t a millennial thing. It’s a human decency thing. And plenty of older people agree! Also, I really liked Zach, but I kept thinking, “Wait. How old is he??” The book made it seem like he was 18 or 19, but we know he was probably around 24 or 25. And Maddie was 29 but acted like she was 15. It was like the author forgot how old she’d made them… or how people in their 20s act. I think I’m around the same age as the author (I’m 39), and I hope I’m not this judgmental of the younger generation. I also didn’t like the porn reference in one of Brian’s earlier chapters. It didn’t flush out his character for me and just made me think he was an a**hole. To sum up, this book was pretty meh. It was slow and boring, and I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. I’m surprised I finished it, and I doubt I will try another book from this author.
Thank you to Berkley and Get Red PR for our gifted review copy.
How can I not love a book that starts out with a Dirty Dancing quote?!?
Loved this family and learning more about all of them! The hotel is a character in and of itself in this book and I loved that as well. So many memories and Elyssa really brings everyone and everything to life.
Also, LOVED the Jewish representation. This one is funny, memorable, and wonderful!
A charming, light-hearted family drama about two families, the Goldman’s and the Weingold’s, and their 60 year partnership and management of the last open resort hotel in the Catskills. It’s warm, funny with a heavy dose of nostalgia mixed in. This definitely gives off Dirty Dancing vibes, which I loved!
Cute, fun, summer read. It dragged a bit in the middle but the ending was worth it. Way too much fat-phobia and fat-shaming for my taste... will post my soap box on my instagram about how we constantly and ad nauseam dissect women's bodies.
As a dietitian I have NO room for this, sorry. There was no body shaming aimed towards the men in this book it seemed pretty pointed. If you want a character with an eating disorder or body dysmorphia, great, let's make it realistic and nuanced.
In two cases, the fat shaming was thrown in randomly and provided nothing else to the storyline and really should have been edited out:
"Besides, Aimee didn't think Fanny needed any more food. At yesterday's gathering, she'd filled a plate with at least a dozen Rugelach. Since she no longer had the ability to exercise, all those calories were going to go straight to her, well, fanny." - Was this supposed to be cute??? You're fat shaming a grandmother of teenagers- she doesn't need to lose weight that late in life, we focus on enjoyment of life with this age group.
"Lycra was like a sausage casing; it sucked you in, but the fat had to go somewhere. Which meant a muffin top and bulges of back fat, in her case." - Am I supposed to hate wearing my cute exercise clothes because, yes, they're tight and show my natural fat sources like my hips because I'm a woman and biologically that's where it is??
Stop doing casual fat shaming where it doesn't need to be. Give the character another personality trait.
The concept of this one is so fun! The setting was unique and I loved all of the references to the “days gone past”. The characters were fun but there were so many of them! It was entirely too many characters and viewpoints, it got confusing. I needed a roadmap of who was who to follow along. The middle lagged a bit but the ending was great. This was witty and laugh out loud funny. My thanks to the publisher for the advance reader in exchange for my honest review.
I enjoyed Last Summer at the Golden Hotel so much! It was such a fun family drama-filled story with all the makings of a great poolside read. I loved the characters and the Jewish representation and reading and discussing with book friends made it all the more fun.
It gave me Dirty Dancing vibes with behind-the-scenes shenanigans going on at the hotel, and I loved that the Golden Hotel became the centerpiece as a main character too.
*many thanks to Berkley and getredpr for the gifted copy for review. All opinions are my own
I truly hated this book. I couldn’t even get through the last 50 pages, I just read the epilogue. This book was ALL telling and NO showing (the opposite of how a book is supposed to be written). There was no character development. All of a sudden two people were dating but we saw none of their relationship or why they were a good match. There were also too many points of view and characters in general, so it was hard to keep track of who is in which family. The final straw for me was the GoFundMe. That was so unrealistic!!!!!! I’m honestly so mad that I spent so much time trying to get through this book. Would not recommend.
The beloved Golden Hotel in the Catskills has seen better days. All the other resorts and hotels from its era have closed. The Golden Hotel was founded by Ben Goldman and Amos Weingold, two close friends from the Lower East Side. Ben has passed away leaving wife Louise with memories of the days where she held court over the always booked hotel. Amos and Fanny Weingold have moved to Florida. Their son Brian now runs the hotel as occupancy dwindles and the list of needed repairs keeps growing. When a casino developer makes a generous offer to purchase the hotel, three generations of the two families travel to upstate New York to decide the fate of the Golden Hotel.
Being together after their long estrangement brings up good memories as well as bitter feelings. Lots of drama occurs between the families. Secrets and more are uncovered. It’s a great cast of characters with witty and smart dialogue.
Last Summer at the Golden Hotel looks back lovingly to the time when the Catskills was a haven for Jewish families to escape New York City for the summers. But the book doesn’t dwell in the past. It is about two families trying to move forward. It is impossible, however, not to feel nostalgic about this time and place and if you have never experienced the Catskills during its heyday, everyone has memories of a special place that no longer exists. Author Elyssa Friedland’s enjoyable book might make you a little farklempt* but it will also make you laugh and smile.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Edelweiss and Berkley / Penguin Publishing Group for the opportunity to read Last Summer at the Golden Hotel before its May 18, 2021 publication. Although now I have a craving for pickled herring.
The first quote in the book was from Dirty Dancing and I knew I was hooked! Like Dirty Dancing, this novel is about a hotel in the Catskills that had been popular in the 1960s but was losing its luster and its clientele. It's a fantastic read with three generations of the two families that started the hotel and now have to decide whether to sell it or try to keep it open. This book is funny and poignant - full of laughter and sadness and lots of memories of an earlier time.
The Goldman and Weingold family opened the Golden Hotel in 1960. Benny Goldman and Amos Weingold had been friends since childhood and were as close as brothers their entire lives. The hotel was the best in the Catskills with families coming back year after year for a family orientated vacation with talent shows, great entertainment (can we say Joan Rivers and Jerry Seinfeld?) and lots and lots of food. Amos and Benny both had families and now there are three generations trying to make a decision whether to sell the hotel to a casino. Their buildings have gotten shabby and their pool was closed and their capacity was down to less than 50%. When they all meet to discuss the offer, there are a lot of memories from the early days of the hotel as well as some fireworks between the two families and between the generations. It's a normal family reunion with two families who love and envy each other. Long buried secrets come to light as well as financial scandals. The older member want to keep the hotel like it was in the past and the younger group wants to modernize and update it. Can they pull together and make a decision that is best for all of them?
This book is a poignant look at the past with a lot of humor. The characters were all well written and lots of fun to meet. The funniest parts were between the generations - one of the younger girls wanted to advertise the hotel on Instragram where she was an influencer and the older members of the family had no idea what she was talking about. I especially enjoyed a lot of the conversation with the older group who had so many wonderful memories of the hotel when it was the most popular place in the Catskills for family summer vacations.
This book has it all -- some suspense - do they sell nor not? Some romance and new understanding between the generations. if you want to read about a great family making tough decisions - you don't want to miss this book.