“No, everything was new now, just waiting to be discovered. And she would … She was hungry for it, she would stuff the whole world into her mouth and bite down.”
Nick and her cousin, Helena, have grown up sharing sultry summer heat, sunbleached boat docks, and midnight gin parties on Martha’s Vineyard in a glorious old family estate known as Tiger House. In the days following the end of the Second World War, the world seems to offer itself up, and the two women are on the cusp of their ‘real lives’: Helena is off to Hollywood and a new marriage, while Nick is heading for a reunion with her own young husband, Hughes, about to return from the war.
Soon the gilt begins to crack. Helena’s husband is not the man he seemed to be, and Hughes has returned from the war distant, his inner light curtained over. On the brink of the 1960s, back at Tiger House, Nick and Helena—with their children, Daisy and Ed—try to recapture that sense of possibility. But when Daisy and Ed discover the victim of a brutal murder, the intrusion of violence causes everything to unravel. The members of the family spin out of their prescribed orbits, secrets come to light, and nothing about their lives will ever be the same.
Sometimes you just want to read something different. I’m not too familiar with the 60’s and when I found this book in a secondhand bookstore called ‘Peak Volumes‘ in the Peak District (It’s wonderfull, you should check it out if you’re in the area), I decided that it was time to move away from Jane Eyre. No, I still haven’t finished Jane Eyre. I took it with me on holiday but I just can’t seem to get through it. This seemed like the perfect distraction.
The story is a bit all over the place. It’s told in five parts by five different people and in each part, you get a bit more information about what happened. This makes it sound like a detective story, which it’s not. There’s a murder but Liza Klaussmann decided to not go into the details, it just happened and adds to the background story of the characters. I think that’s the general trend in this book. Things happen but they are not wrapped up neatly. This could have bothered me if I read it like I had to figure everything out.
Instead I read it like a family history. Everyone has secrets from one another and some things are never said out loud. By the end of the book, you have some people figured out but others remain shadowy because they don’t want to be understood or because they don’t understand themselves.
I liked reading this book. I thought the descriptions were very good (and I do like some in dept descriptions in my books ;)). There was an atmosphere of uneasiness from start to finish and I felt like I was allowed to dislike the characters. None of them are ‘perfect’, they are all broken in their own way.
I’m giving this book 4 stars but I think it’s more a 3,5.. Although I enjoyed myself at the time, it’s not one of the best books I’ve ever read. So it’s only fair to not rate it as high as some other books which I liked better.
It’s a fun book to read on holiday. Let’s leave it at that.