By: Ann Leary
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 5/24/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
From New York Times bestselling author Ann Leary comes the captivating story of a wealthy, but unconventional New England family, told from the perspective of a reclusive 29-year-old who has a secret (and famous) life on the Internet.
Charlotte Maynard rarely leaves her mother’s home, the sprawling Connecticut lake house that belonged to her late stepfather, Whit Whitman, and the generations of Whitmans before him. While Charlotte and her sister, Sally, grew up at “Lakeside,” their stepbrothers, Spin and Perry, were welcomed as weekend guests. Now the grown boys own the estate, which Joan occupies by their grace―and a provision in the family trust. When Spin, the youngest and favorite of all the children, brings his fiancé home for the summer, the entire family is intrigued. The beautiful and accomplished Laurel Atwood breathes new life into this often comically rarefied world. But as the wedding draws near, and flaws surface in the family’s polite veneer, an array of simmering resentments and unfortunate truths is exposed.
With remarkable wit and insight, Ann Leary pulls back the curtain on one blended family, as they are forced to grapple with the assets and liabilities – both material and psychological – left behind by their wonderfully flawed patriarch.
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Ann Leary returns following The Good House (2013) with THE CHILDREN continuing with a New England complex blended family, with dark secrets. From humor, wealth, and lots of dysfunction—surrounding Lakeside-an entertaining contemporary domestic suspense with Leary's trademark style.
Narrated by Charlotte, 29-year-old single, with no children; however, is hiding behind a fake mommy blog, and has not left home since her stepfather Whit’s death, three years prior.
Whit loved telling family stories with cancer at age sixty-five and kept the diagnosis to himself—a few months before he died. His wife Joan did not tell the children until after he was gone. Gran was eighty-nine when she died (lots of family history).
Charlotte along with her sister, Sally, grew up in his house. Lakeside Cottage (four generations) still owned by the Whitman estate and left to Charlotte’s stepbrothers, Perry and Spin Whitman. Joan had been allowed to live here for the remainder of her life as part of the family trust. Sally and Charlotte are not part of the trust, being Maynard's, not Whitman's.
Sally lives in Manhattan, and Charlotte lives at Lakeside with Joan. It is free and she works from home. Plus, she is thinking of writing a book about Laurel Atwood, or turn it into a memoir. Charlotte wonders why Joan is so worried about the book, when he was dead when Spin met Laurel.
Whit was a kind man and come across a little gruff, according to Charlotte. She had known him since he was two years old. He fell in love with her mother the summer of 1988 just before he turned forty. It was complex with the other spouses.
Wealthy and eccentric. When he married her mom, he left his job at his father in law’s firm and lived off the interest of his trust. He was interested in American history—American bluegrass music and banjos. His obsession.
Spin and Perry stepbrothers, visited every other weekend, holidays, and one month of the summer. Marissa, the ex wife had remarried to a wealthy husband. There is Spin’s girlfriend, Laurel from Idaho where Hemingway lived at the end of his life. Charlotte is intrigued with Laurel and there is mystery surrounding her.
Then there is Sally, (bipolar) who has moved home after losing her job as a violinist in Manhattan—her past history is not so solid. The mysterious Mr. Clean. Everette, the caretaker.
The night of the Fourth, the argument on the beach.
From lovers, lies, fabrications, flaws, inheritances, wills, death, grief, regrets, and resentments—a blended family and the aftermath left behind by their patriarch, when secrets are unraveled. When people die, with a blended family or traditional families, things can get nasty. When it comes to real estate, money, secrets, step-families, and siblings …. crazy. Consequences.
From social media, intrigue, wacky characters, wit, mystery, quirky, eccentric and lots of emotional drama. The first part of the book is witty and comical, and the latter, darker- as the secrets are exposed, and come to the surface. New England wealth, evil shockers, with a blending of family cracks and fissures.
Leary fans will enjoy, as well as fans of family drama and domestic suspense. She knows how to tell secrets!
About the Author
Photo Credit: Scott M. Lacey
Ann Leary’s latest book is the New York Times and national bestselling novel, The Good House. She is the also the author of the memoir An Innocent, A Broad and the novel Outtakes From a Marriage. She has written fiction and nonfiction for various magazines and is a co-host of the NPR weekly radio show Hash Hags.
Ann tries to compete in equestrian sports and is a volunteer EMT. Website
I loved THE GOOD HOUSE
5 Stars! Buy the Book