I received this from Net Galley a while back – and took my time reading it (it’s a tad long). I loved Annie Barrows’ Guernsey LIterary and Potato Peel Pie novel, so I knew I’d like this one, too.
In this novel, a young woman and senator’s daughter (Layla Beck) is sent to be part of the Federal Writers’ Project and to record the history of the small town of Macedonia, West Virginia. She boards with the Romeyn family, and throughout that hot, sticky summer of 1938, she learns about the town, the family, and herself.
The Romeyn family has a somewhat checkered past. Felix is the head of the household, but he’s a distant and somewhat mysterious man, whose past is shrouded in secrecy. His sister Jottie shares the house with him and cares for his two young daughters, Willa and Bird. Their mother has left them years ago. Jottie has a past herself, marred by tragedy and star-crossed love. Layla finds herself drawn to the family and their other relatives, all the while she is deciding what she really wants to do with her life.
The character of 12-year-old Willa tells the story along with Layla and we sometimes get Jottie’s point of view, too; but the switch is never confusing. I loved the voice of Willa. I loved, too, how Ms. Barrows’s evocative writing moved in parts with the lazy heat of summer. This book oozed with secrets kept right under the surface, and people grown complacent in keeping those secrets. Layla’s feelings and actions moved toward their inevitable conclusion with a slow trickle. The last part of the book moved quickly, though, with the climax and subsequent actions/denouement.
Loved this book – lots to discuss, too!
Find it at an Indie near you – I am an Indie Bound Affiliate.
Thank you, Net Galley and The Dial Press, for my review e-copy!
Find it at an Indie near you! I am an Indie Bound Affiliate.