Pub. Date: May 31st, 2016
From the New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet comes a novel of suspense and passion about a terrible mistake made sixty years ago that threatens to change a modern family forever.
Twenty-five-year-old Cassie Danvers is holed up in her family’s crumbling mansion in rural St. Jude, Ohio, mourning the loss of the woman who raised her—her grandmother, June. But a knock on the door forces her out of isolation. Cassie has been named the sole heir to legendary matinee idol Jack Montgomery’s vast fortune. How did Jack Montgomery know her name? Could he have crossed paths with her grandmother all those years ago? What other shocking secrets could June’s once-stately mansion hold?
Soon Jack’s famous daughters come knocking, determined to wrestle Cassie away from the inheritance they feel is their due. Together, they all come to discover the true reasons for June’s silence about that long-ago summer, when Hollywood came to town, and June and Jack’s lives were forever altered by murder, blackmail, and betrayal. As this page-turner shifts deftly between the past and present, Cassie and her guests will be forced to reexamine their legacies, their definition of family, and what it truly means to love someone, steadfastly, across the ages.
What Did I Think About the Story?
This book absolutely surprised me, all in wonderful ways! I was prepared, from the synopsis, for a story about denied love that travels through two storylines and a mystery at the center for the reader to uncover. While these things are a part of this story, there is so much more: an amalgamation of nearly every type of love and the myriad of emotions those loves can elicit, the redefining of the word "family" and how that means so much more than simply shared blood, a cast of characters so well drawn that I could perfectly imagine them as they flitted or stomped through the story...and even some ghosts! There were so many remarkable things about this story that I'm sure I won't do it justice in this review. But I'll try!
First off, the structure of the story is perfect for it. It goes back and forth between June of 1955 when a movie called Erie Canal was filmed in the small town of St. Jude, Ohio and June (and, later, the autumn) of 2015 when Cassie Danvers has returned to her family home in St. Jude, Ohio, to mourn her grandmother's death but ends up on a mission with the daughters of the star of Erie Canal, Jack Montgomery, to piece together what really happened that summer of 1955 and the consequences and repercussions those actions would continue to have through to the present time. From the beginning the reader gets a taste of all the beauty and horror that has occurred in St. Jude but the specifics are slowly unfolded throughout both storylines. This way of pacing the story is delicious, dropping just enough information before switching the timelines so you can't help but keep turning pages to see what was going to happen. I've read books that employ this structure before and usually do enjoy it, but I seem to have just loved it even more with this story.
Something else I simply adored about this story is the family house - Two Oaks - itself. The house (which is really more of a mansion, dilapidated in 2015 but still grand and proud) is it's own character, with desires and emotions and expectations, and actually works to transfer all it has seen into Cassie's dreams as well as, at times, her waking hours. The spirits that have not only inhabited its walls but those that admired it from afar swirl all around it, giving it it's own heartbeat of sorts. I've never quite seen anything like Two Oaks but I definitely wish I could...it's simply enchanting.
I don't want to be remiss in mentioning the other fascinating characters, the flesh and blood people that populated Two Oaks and St. Jude throughout the story. My favorites by far were Lindie (June's younger best friend) and Cassie. Both have quite a lot in common - stubbornness, pride, and a certain naivete (which they both learn from as they advance through the story) about how their actions, which they believe at the time to be right, can come to have lasting effects on those around them. Lindie was especially wonderful, feeling to me like a slightly older Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird and one that had more heart, emotional clarity, and bravery than one might expect from someone of her age. On the flip side, both Tate Montgomery and her mother, Diane DeSoto (especially Diane DeSoto) are selfish, manipulative people who I enjoyed disliking as much as I enjoyed loving Cassie and Lindie. Regardless of my personal feelings for the characters, all of them are wonderfully written and sure to evoke emotions in any reader.
The mysteries at the heart of the story - why did Jack Montgomery leave Cassie all his money? What really happened that summer of 1955? What secrets was Cassie's grandmother hiding from her? - are all answered by the balm-like ending and everything comes wonderfully full circle. The fact that the story encompasses so many love stories - those shared and those hidden, those reciprocated and those that are not, those that heal and those that hurt - as well as every type of emotion I can think of still fascinates me. I have a feeling I'll be thinking about this one for a long time and recommending it to just about everyone I can.
What Did I Think About the Cover?
When I first saw it I thought it was nice. Who doesn't love a sweeping staircase? Now, however, having read the story, I think it could have included so much more to really represent the story. I have quite a few ideas of what it could look like, but I think a party swirling around the room, with either two people together in the middle or looking at each other across the floor, would have been perfect. It's still a pretty cover, I just think it's a little simplistic for the complicated story within.
My Rating: 5.0/5.0
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of June in exchange for an honest review! Be sure to continue below for information on the author, the book, and the blog tour, and how you can win a copy for yourself!
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About the Author
MIRANDA BEVERLY-WHITTEMORE is the author of three other novels: New York Times bestseller Bittersweet; Set Me Free, which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, given annually for the best book of fiction by an American woman; and The Effects of Light. A recipient of the Crazyhorse Prize in Fiction, she lives and writes in Brooklyn.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours I have one copy of June to offer up for giveaway, open to US only! All you have to do is enter your name and email address on the giveaway form HERE. Please be sure to leave both your name and your email on the form so I can contact you if you are my winner (no email address, no entry!). For extra entries you can follow the blog in various ways (all links are on the right hand sidebar) and leave the name/email you follow with on the form. That's it! Please make sure you actually follow me the way you state for the extra entries as I check and those that are incorrect will be removed.
I'll use a random number generator to pick a winner on June 1st, 2016 and will announce the winner here as well as email the winner for their mailing address. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email before I have to pick another winner. If you have already won this giveaway on another site please let me know so I can pick a new winner and give someone else a chance to win a copy of this great book.
June Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, May 24th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, May 25th: A Literary Vacation
Thursday, May 26th: View from the Birdhouse
Friday, May 27th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Monday, May 30th: Buried Under Books
Tuesday, May 31st: FictionZeal
Tuesday, May 31st: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Wednesday, June 1st: Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Thursday, June 2nd: Luxury Reading
Friday, June 3rd: You Can Read Me Anything
Monday, June 6th: Kahakai Kitchen
Monday, June 6th: Must Read Faster
Tuesday, June 7th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, June 8th: Fictionophile
Thursday, June 9th: Just Commonly
Friday, June 10th: A Bookaholic Swede
Monday, June 13th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, June 14th: Reading Reality
Wednesday, June 15th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Thursday, June 16th: Write Read Life
Friday, June 17th: Bibliotica