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Last Summer at the Golden Hotel: two families decide the fate of their once grand Catskills resort.

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 in advance of its publication. Although now I have a craving for pickled herring.

*Yiddish for choked up.

Rated 4.25 out of 5 stars.

Contemporary Fiction.

Publication Date: May 18, 2021.

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