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All booksContemporary fictionLast Summer at the Golden Hotel
Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland
Contemporary fiction

Last Summer at the Golden Hotel

by Elyssa Friedland

Quick take

Three generations + two families + one dilapidated Catskills resort = a whole lot of drama.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LightRead

    Light read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Quirky


Why I love it

Amanda Eyre Ward
Author, The Jetsetters

If I date myself by admitting that I watched my Dirty Dancing VHS tape eight hundred times and imagined Patrick Swayze’s cheek pressed to mine at a summer resort in the Catskills, so be it. I wanted to shape-shift and become the member of a close-knit Jewish family who summered at a sprawling property filled with leafy trees, juicy brisket, and potential love interests. I wanted to have the time of my life. So I was thrilled to open Last Summer at the Golden Hotel and return to my 80s fantasies.

This delicious story begins in 1981, as Louise Goldman, a dazzling matriarch in a tight, beaded gown, approaches the microphone at the front of a packed banquet hall to close out another successful summer at the hotel she and her husband co-own. Louise could never, on this triumphant evening, imagine that by 2019 (and page nine of the novel) the local paper in upstate New York will announce “The Golden Hotel May Be Shutting its Doors For Good.” What follows is a novel as wide-ranging as the dated Catskills resorts themselves, tracing the emotions of older and younger generations as they convene to decide the fate of the family property.

The trailer for Dirty Dancing (yes, I just watched it a few times) proclaims: “What they learn from each other feels too good to be wrong.” The same can be said of Friedland’s novel, a welcome hug of a book after such a crazy year.

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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.

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Get an early look from the first pages of Last Summer at the Golden Hotel.

Member thoughts

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All (4713)
Love (2123)
Like (2348)
Dislike (242)
4755 ratings
  • 45% Love
  • 49% Like
  • 5% Dislike
  • Kennesaw, GA

    Dirty Dancing come alive but in book form! Always love a narrative told from multiple character viewpoints. Prompted me to buy all Friedland’s other books as well as others set in the “Borscht Belt”.

  • Deer Park, WA

    Even though the rumor that Dirty Dancing was based on The Golden was dispelled in the first chapter, it’s hard not to make comparisons. As a fan of said movie, I loved getting the inside scoop! ❤️

  • Brooklyn, NY

    My parents met in the Catskills & we went every year for the Jewish High Holidays. It’s also where I feel in love with hospitality & made it my career. The book brought back all the nostalgia and more

  • tivoli, NY

    I couldn’t put this down! it was such a delicious story. It truly felt like i got to know these people and care so deeply for them. it ended even better than i could have imagined. highly recommend!

  • Boerne, TX

    A wonderfully witty and well-written multigenerational saga exploring relationships, consequences and the benefits of being honest with yourself and others. I hope to read more of this author’s work!

  • Philadelphia, PA

    Light hearted, family oriented and lovable. The Catskills sound like a beautiful place to vacation. Loved the characters only negative would be too many narratives it could’ve focused on one or two

  • Helena, MT

    Check in to the famous Golden Hotel with this delightful summer read! This nostalgic romp of a novel will have you pining for the joyful days of yesteryear & hankering for a Dirty Dancing movie night!

  • Tulsa, OK

    Filled with multigenerational family drama, cultural richness and heartwarming nostalgia, this story will keep you turning the pages into the late hours. I laughed and cried, and was sad for it to end

  • Hudson, NH

    LOVE how readers see the story of the Goldman and Weingold families through the years of the Golden Hotel. Great read if you ever wondered what happened to Kellerman’s after Baby and Johnny left!

  • Mount Rainier, MD

    Cute, fun, and dramatic. A great light read highlighting a bygone era. The characters were likable and the generational perspective shifts were both hilarious and poignant. I wish this was a series.

  • Wichita, KS

    I want to visit The Golden Hotel IRL! Such a great setting, I felt like it was real. An incredible cast of characters you will root for, recognize, and fall in love with. Nostalgia, family, summer!

  • Columbus, OH

    What a fun book! I loved meeting the Goldmans and Weingolds. The hotel reminded me of a place my grandpa still loves in WV. Generational jokes made me smile and I liked the romances. I wanna visit!

  • Houston, TX

    This book didn’t have quite the ending I wanted — it had a better one. All the good feelings of family and friendship but with great humor to go along with it. One of the best books I’ve read

  • Pacific Grove, CA

    Easy, enjoyable read. This is the perfect book for vacation or a lazy weekend when you just want to relax and not have to work hard at digesting a book. Interesting storyline, good characters--fun.

  • Pittsburgh, PA

    Loved this book! It took me a little bit to get into it, but I think it was needed in order to learn about all the characters. Love this story, especially for an easy summer read! Would recommend.


    As a kid our family had a river-side clubhouse in a community that parallels the vibe from the book. Loved it, thanks for the great read & bringing back so many memories of our own "golden" years!

  • Covington, LA

    Sweet book about generational families and the bonds that tie them together. The author did a beautiful job juggling a multitude of characters and paying tribute to each generation’s uniqueness!

  • North Haledon , NJ

    Loved the nostalgia from a time forgotten of family camp trips to the Catskills. Felt like a lot was borrowed from dirty dancing- it’s a story about a time period/life style that once was….

  • Natrona Heights, PA

    The story of the Goldman & Weinberg families, along w/ the joint venture of the Golden Hotel was the absolute perfect Summer read. I am a sucker for nostalgia, drama & of course, a happy ending!

  • New York , NY

    This book was so fun and engaging. I loved all of the different characters and the two dynamics of each family. The connections were great, and the Jewish representation in it was light and fun!

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