08 April 2013

The Last Summer of the Camperdowns; Elizabeth Kelly

The Last Summer of the CamperdownsThe Last Summer of the Camperdowns by Elizabeth Kelly
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Such a great idea: a near-teen see something she shouldn't, is too scared to tell (and convinces herself that she hasn't seen anything, really), but ultimately has to confront the horror. Meanwhile, family secrets are being revealed and lives being upended. Sadly, the overwrought, overly arch writing made this a difficult read (I was able to actually skip chunks and still follow the plot easily).

Riddle James Camperdown (named after Jimmy Riddle Hoffa) lives one of those genteely impoverished lives, with a servant and horses, on Cape Cod. Her father is running for Congress, disgusted by what's happening in Vietnam and with Watergate and unions, while her mother is a former actress who's trying too hard to sound like something from a Bette Davis or Katherine Hepburn movie. Mom, Dad, the man who owns the estate next door (named Ginger, nicknamed Gin) and Michael Devlin were all friends as children, but as adults Dad and Michael aren't speaking, Michael jilted Mom at the altar (pre-marriage to Dad), and Gin's just been there. Why the friendships and engagements failed has implications for today ("today" being the 1970s) and All Comes Out during the book.

As I said, great premise but bad execution. Sentences like "skin so fair you could see the blood boil" don't make me want to keep on reading.

ARC provided by publisher.

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