Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Wealthy Family's Dark Secrets

Mable Dagmar wins a scholarship to an elite woman's college in the East. Her roommate, Genevra Winslow, is all the things Mable, short plump and bookish, wishes she were: tall, slender, blonde beautiful, and most of all wealthy. Genevra or Ev ignores Mable until the trauma of her cousin's death pulls the two together.

Ev invites Mable to spend the summer at Winloc, the Winslow compound on the shores of Lake Champlain. Here Mable falls in love with the Winslow traditions, their way of life, and Ev's older brother. She desperately wants to be one of them. However, as the summer rolls on, Mable senses dark secrets under the perfect facade. Her investigation uncovers more than she's prepared for and puts her in personal danger.

If you enjoy a glimpse of the lives of the wealthy, you'll love the setting of Winloc and the traditions of the Winslows. At first it seems idyllic. I loved the descriptions of the setting and the shabby cottages that allow the Winslows to feel as if they're roughing it.

The plot, however, is predictable and slow moving. The first half of the book is devoted primarily to Mable longing for what Genevra was born to. She is almost a voyeur when it comes to her roommate. There is a hint of bad things, but not much happens until the rather rushed ending. I found it unsatisfactory.

Mable, for me, is a very unpleasant character. She desperately wants to have what someone else has and will go far, including digging up family secrets, to achieve it. Although the book covers an extended period of time with events in which the characters could change, I didn't see that they grew much. It was a major disappointment, since the author spent so much of the novel focused on the two girls.

If you want a beach read, this is a good choice, but don't expect too much in terms of exciting plot or well developed characters.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.