Friday, May 13, 2011

Family Drama at a Summer Cottage in Maine

Four women from a Boston Irish Catholic family converge on their summer cottage in Maine. Each has her own secrets, resentments and desires. Alice, the matriarch, is nearing the end of her life. A life that was stigmatized by the death of her sister and her unfulfilled desire to be an artist. Maggie, the granddaughter, is thirty-two, pregnant and unmarried. She agonizes about telling her boyfriend, mother and grandmother. Kathleen, Maggie's mother, is happily settled in California, but continues to be torn by unresolved issues with her mother and daughter. Ann Marie, the daughter-in-law, wants to be perfect, but her life is coming apart in little ways. The summer cottage becomes the setting for the women to confront themselves and each other.

I enjoyed the book, possible because the characters rang true. It's a book in which not very much happens except the women's internal dialog and their interactions with each other. It is very much a character study and a study of manners. I agree with other reviewers. The product description doesn't really fit the book. As a result, the reader is likely to be disappointed.

On the positive side, the book is well written, true to life, and the setting delightful. I recommend the book to lovers of literary fiction.

I reviewed this book as part of the Amazon Vine Program.