by Chip Creek
Celadon Books, 2019
source: borrowed from thelibrary
Late September 1957. Henry and Effie, very young newlyweds from Georgia, arrive in Cape May, New Jersey, for their honeymoon only to find the town is deserted. Feeling shy of each other and isolated, they decide to cut the trip short. But before they leave, they meet a glamorous set of people who sweep them up into their drama. Clara, a beautiful socialite who feels her youth slipping away; Max, a wealthy playboy and Clara’s lover; and Alma, Max’s aloof and mysterious half-sister, to whom Henry is irresistibly drawn.
The empty beach town becomes their playground, and as they sneak into abandoned summer homes, go sailing, walk naked under the stars, make love, and drink a great deal of gin, Henry and Effie slip from innocence into betrayal, with irrevocable consequences.
Erotic and moving, this is a novel about marriage, love and sexuality, and the lifelong repercussions that meeting a group of debauched cosmopolitans has on a new marriage.
The beach houses were empty, the stores were closed, and after sunset, all the houses on New Hampshire Avenue stood dark. For months, Effie had been telling him about this place and the many things they would do here, but she had only known it in the summer, and this was the end of September. She had not understood what "off-season" meant. They had come up from Georgia on the overnight train. They were supposed to spend two weeks here, for their honeymoon.
Very readable, but with a few problems...
On the plus side:
- Creek's writing evokes time, place, and youthful innocence.
- I enjoy the "rich people behaving badly" trope.
- An engrossing read... despite unlikable characters, it was easy to keep turning the pages.
- The characters, especially Henry, seemed more like caricatures.
- Sexual content was more graphic than necessary... and obviously written by a man.
- The ending felt rushed.
This was a quick read, but I don't feel comfortable recommending it to friends.
I have a copy and plan to try it soon, but, I've read a few reviews and, like you, some readers felt a bit unsatisfied by the end. (I shall see LOL)ReplyDelete
Diane - I'll be curious to hear what you think.Delete
Oh, your review was great and I agree about the Plus Side thoughts. now you can read my spoilers if you want, LOL. I won't get another book by this author.ReplyDelete
Rushed ending indeed.
Tina - Thank you! I'll be over to check the spoilers in your review...Delete
As always, learning what NOT to read is a very good thing! I am looking forward to the Crawdads, though -- just put in on reserve. So thank you for both!ReplyDelete
Audrey - I'd say you can safely skip this one. Halfway through Crawdads now and I'm enjoying it very much.Delete
This one is making the rounds but reviews are mixed. Thanks for being honest. I will probably skip it.ReplyDelete
Ti - It's not a horrible book, but you probably have a ton of better books waiting on your tbr pile.Delete
I thought I wanted to read this until I started reading reviews. I'm going to pass on it.ReplyDelete
Vicki - I don't think you would like this one.Delete
I like the pluses & minuses in your review. I probably will pass on it though its premise does sound good. I've been to Cape May once, not on a vacation just on a weekend from DC. I wonder if they're putting the novel on display there?ReplyDelete
Susan - I've never been to Cape May, but would love to visit sometime in the off season. I'm sure this book will be prominently displayed in every local bookstore!Delete
Ooh, I hate when characters are more like caricatures, but I am so drawn to the setting and time period! I went to Cape May a lot as a child.ReplyDelete
Angela - You may be the perfect reader for this one... especially if you're familiar with Cape May.Delete
Basically what Vicki said ... I like the premise and I've been to Cape May so that interested me. But reviews are so mixed. LOL about "sexual content ... obviously written by a man."ReplyDelete
Beth F - Sometimes mixed reviews make me more curious to try a book for myself, but I think you'd be safe to skip it.Delete
Hm. I was on the fence about this one. I have more compelling books to read though. Thanks for your review.ReplyDelete
Judy - There are so many other great books out there right now. At least I didn't spend a lot of time on this one, and it wasn't all bad...Delete
I have this book and I want to read it just because it’s practically in my back yard. Thank you for the honest thoughts about it!ReplyDelete
Patty - This was very readable... I practically tore through it, but several things bothered me. I'll look forward to your thoughts!Delete
I've been interested in this one probably because it's gotten a lot of press but it sounds like it may not live up to the hype. I may still check it out but not in a rush.ReplyDelete
Iliana - This book is published by the new Celadon imprint. They publish only a small number of books each season, so they can give each book the attention it deserves. They've done a good job publicizing this title, but it just didn't live up to it in my opinion.Delete
I think we agree completely on Cape May. It was a good enough read, but flawed.ReplyDelete
Susie - Exactly. I enjoyed reading it, but won't recommend it to friends.Delete