Richard North Patterson usually writes legal thrillers, but this book and the previous one – ‘Fall From Grace’, are a departure from his usual theme. They form the first two books of a trilogy concerning the Blaine family. The third book – ‘Eden in Winter’ is due for release next year.
This story starts in 2011 with Whitney Dane meeting Carla Pacelli. Carla is pregnant with the baby of the now dead Ben Blaine. She is also an actress and recovering alcoholic. As they talk, Whitney tells the story of her own meeting with Ben in the summer on 1968 and this book is mostly Whitney’s story.
22 year old Whitney was spending the summer at her family’s summer house at Martha’s Vineyard while preparing for her wedding at the end of the summer. She grew up in a family of privilege and even though she attended college, she was not expected to work, especially after marriage and children. Although she did wonder occasionally if there was more to life, she was content to go with the flow and do what was expected of her.
Then a number of things happened that changed her life forever. Despite her Republican family (her father Charles financially supported Nixon’s campaign) she admired Bobby Kennedy and the work he did with the less privileged. His assassination affected her deeply. Then she met Ben Blaine. He had returned to the island after working closely with Bobby Kennedy. He grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father and no family money. He and Whitney form a friendship that her family is unhappy about, and Ben challenges many of the ideas that Whitney was brought up with.
Then the darling of Whitney’s family, her sister Janine starts to spiral downhill under the weight of family expectations. And finally Whitney finds out some secrets about her family that rock her to the core.
For the first time, Whitney must face up to the truth and make her own decisions about her life and her future. What she decides to do is admirable under the circumstances.
I love this book. Even though it is not the usual type of Richard North Patterson book, he has a style that makes his books easy to read and enjoyable. The history in this book with the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King and the Vietnam protests took me back to another time.
Book Published 2013