I love Karen White’s books although I’m not generally a big fan of contemporary fiction. However this book in particular was not one of her best. Merritt was a widow and inherited a house that had belonged to her husband’s grandmother. She moved from Maine to South Carolina to live in the house where she met her husband’s brother. Shortly after arriving her estranged stepmother and brother showed up asking for a place to stay.
Merritt had experienced some hardships in life, so she kept herself emotionally detached from others. All of her problems were solved too easily considering much of this was baggage she had carried around since she was young. A little bit of love and kindness doesn’t make those problems go away.
Loralee, the stepmother, drove me nuts. She had good intentions but was overbearing, pushy, and vain. She dispensed advice often that her mother had bestowed upon her. The advice wouldn’t have been so bad if she didn’t have to mention her mother all the time. She was only 5 years older than Merritt but she acted as if she were old enough to actually be her mother. Her obsession with appearances was annoying. She wanted to change the way Merritt dressed. Who was she to tell a grown woman how to dress? Not all women want to be dolled up in makeup and high heels, and there is nothing wrong with that.
The book dealt with the issues of spousal abuse and orphaned children whether through abandonment or death. Almost every character had one or both of these problems. It seemed incredibly unlikely all of these characters were connected through these similar experiences.
There were some generalizations about New Englanders that were bizarre. I was raised in New England. I know what people are like there. There was the misconception that people in New England don’t eat watermelon, which is not true at all. It was also mentioned that she wouldn’t get rid of some raggedy shoes because they hadn’t completely fallen apart yet. That one left me scratching my head because that doesn’t sound like the people I know in New England. It was mentioned that people there are cold and standoffish. At least this one made sense. Many people view New Englanders that way. When they really prefer to stick to themselves. The intention isn’t to snub other people.
There was a mystery involving a plane crash. The resolution to that was unexpected. The book wasn’t bad. I don’t think this book was for me. Plenty of other people will probably love it.
I received a copy of this from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
2 1/2 stars