Last Summer at the Golden Hotel

This feel-good read (384 pages) was published in May of 2021 by Berkley Books. The book takes you to a resort hotel in the Catskills. Melissa read Last Summer at the Golden Hotel and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.

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Last Summer at the Golden Hotel

Elyssa Friedland

If Dirty Dancing was a book instead of a movie, and was set now instead of in the 1960s, it could be this novel. Welcome to the beloved Golden Hotel.

In its glory days after WWII, the Golden was the place to be in the Catskills. Families from the City loaded into their shiny sedans and made their way to the mountains for swimming and fishing, dance lessons, gourmet meals, and — if things went right — a little romance in the heart-shaped hot tub under a silvery moon.

But the Catskills are not the glamorous destination they used to be.

The Goldman and Weingold families have been through a lot together during their 60 years of running the hotel. Now they’re all back together at the Golden for a family reunion and to make an important decision: Has the time come to sell the hotel and move on with their lives?

This story has everything you could possibly want in a loving, messy family story: the revelation of decades-old secrets, snappy dialogue, financial scandal, a little romance, and some heartbreak — all set against the sentimentality of the faded, but still adored, hotel.

Author Elyssa Friedland creates a fun, frothy 1930s screwball comedy vibe that delightfully careens into sincerely emotional beats. It’s sparkly fun and a moving story with a very satisfying conclusion. It will make you nostalgic for a bygone era and yearn for a stay at the Golden.

Whatever the future of the Golden Hotel, it will be the home of many beloved memories for thousands of families who played bridge in its oak-paneled game room, partook in the famous Sunday bagel and lox brunches, lounged in the heart-shaped hot tub, were regaled by some of the country’s top artistic talent, or simply cozied up with a good book in the well-stocked library. —Elyssa Friedland

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That moment when on a getaway to a not-your-hometown, and you stroll through the lobby to the reception desk of a hotel? It's so exhilarating. Luxurious or cozy, it's a thrill to take possession of that room key.

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